Everyone agrees that participation in some form of sports activity is highly desirable for all highschoolers. The benefits are many, including improved physical fitness, self-esteem and grades. The teen will also learn how to work as a member of a team.
Rowing, or crew as it is known in the US, is a great sport for teenagers. This is an engaging sport which provides the challenge and reward of learning a new activity. There are many rowing clubs throughout the US that offer junior programs for highschoolers. Typically a novice would join a rowing program in either the freshman, sophomore or junior years. The programs run through the fall, winter and spring semesters and many also have introductory clinics during the summer.
Novice rowers learn the basics of rowing, about the different types of boats and equipment, stroke technique, the handling and rigging of boats. Rowing is all about teamwork and a novice rower learns that crew members need to work together to balance the shell and perform the stroke in a coordinated fashion.
In the US, highschool clubs usually start a novice in sweep boat rowing where each rower has one oar held by both hands. The oar extends either to the starboard side or the port side of the boat. Sweep boats have two, four or eight seats, and all eights have a coxswain. Sweep boats have a rudder for steering. Novice rowers normally learn in a coxed eight.
In sculling each rower has two oars, one in each hand. Most sculls have no rudder and are steered by means of oar movements.
Sprint races are over 2000 meters. Once the basics are mastered the rower will take part in regattas that have races in different sweep boat and sculling categories for men and women.
Rowing is a total body workout that involves all of the body’s major muscle groups. To the casual spectator rowing looks only like an upper body sport. However, although upper body strength is important, most of the power of the rowing stroke comes from the legs. It is a great aerobic workout and has the benefit of being a low-impact sport. As a competitive sport, rowing demands endurance, strength, balance, team work and mental discipline.
The coxswain is also a vital member of the crew. A coxswain has a number of responsibilities including the steering the boat, leading the crew through training drills, making tactical decisions during a race, and motivating and directing the crew.
In summary, rowing is an excellent sport for highschoolers and can be enjoyed for a lifetime.