General FAQs

What is rowing?
Rowing is one of the original sports of the modern Olympic games. Crews consisting of between one and eight rowers compete in a variety of events.
Who can row?
Anyone can row! Rowing is a lifelong sport and can be learned at any age. Any member of the community is welcome to sign up for one of our sessions.

For juniors, we offer Learn to Row Camps, middle school teams, high school (novice and varsity) competitive teams. Our young rowers look forward to racing and enjoy competing. Competition helps provide structure and focus. Rocket City Rowing has a no-cut policy. All junior rowers will participate in some capacity.

For adults (Masters), we offer Learn to Row Camps, and coached recreational and competitive rowing. Many of our members compete, have competed, or train daily as if they were planning on competing. Others row in singles for fitness. Club boats

Is rowing a team sport?
Rowing is a regarded by many as the ultimate team sport! While there are individual events, the vast majority of rowers, especially at the junior level, row in large team boats. Teamwork is critical for a large boat’s success. Rowers must row together with the same timing and power to each stroke. A rower who stands out will make the boat slower and more difficult to steer. A crew is composed of individuals who sacrifice their personal goals for the team. Winning teammates successfully match their desire, talent, and bladework with one another. It’s no accident that inspirational posters for teamwork often feature images of rowers.
How can I try rowing sometime?
Check the Learn-to-Row page on this website for more information about learning to row.
Is rowing expensive?
Somewhat. Rowing is an expensive sport with costs similar to those of horseback riding, skiing, and ice hockey. Equipment and coaching costs are high. For example, the large eight boats, which are the most common boat for juniors, cost upwards of $30,000. Given the high interest in rowing at Rocket City Rowing, we need a lot of boats and launches to get as many people on the water as possible. Costs are incurred for regattas with fees charged for rowers that include: hotel, food, transportation, entrance fees, and coaching. Rocket City Rowing offers financial assistance for the youth programs to make the sport as accessible as possible.
Is RCRC a for-profit organization?
We are a non-profit organization. As a rowing club, we incur a lot of expenses, particularly for our juniors programs. Our program fees do not cover costs fully. We conduct fundraising throughout the year to cover additional costs such as scholarships, coaching, insurance, and equipment.
What does RCRC offer North Alabama ?
RCRC promotes the sport of rowing in the North Alabama community. Rowing provides many benefits to the community beyond outreach including

Opportunity: We provide many opportunities for community members of all ages and skill levels to learn a new sport. We are not simply a youth sports league. In 2016, we had more than 50 members of the public show up to row at National Learn to Row Day. For adult learn to row, we had 57 registrations. For our youth camps, we had 30. Our middle school or modified program is extremely popular and frequently sells out.

College: Rowing is an intercollegiate sport. At minimum, colleges look favorably on rowing as an extracurricular activity. Rocket City Rowing’s youth rowers have gone on to row for many fine universities including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Brown University, University of Tennessee, University of Alabama, the University of Rhode Island and the Florida Institute of Technology among others.

Intergenerational: Rowing is one of the few sports that is intergenerational. Masters members range from high school graduates to well into their eighties. Masters are excellent role models and mentor youth rowers and coaches, helping on and off the water. The club would not exist without our dedicated masters, some of whom learned to row after witnessing their children row. This represents a unique benefit to the community. It keeps older people involved and active with a scholastic program long after their kids are grown.

Someone told me that rowing was dangerous. Is that true?
No! Rowing is very safe compared to most other sports. However, like all sports, rowing has some inherent risks. Due to the high physical demands of the sport, overuse injuries are the main concern with rowing. Through the use of proper technique and treating injuries promptly, these injuries can be either avoided or overcome with no lasting impact in most cases.

US Rowing, the sport’s governing body in this country, has extensive guidelines that all member clubs, including Rocket City Rowing, must follow to ensure that rowing is a safe and enjoyable sport. Guidelines include swim test requirements, coaching training, minimum equipment requirements, and much more. US Rowing does not have any instance where a youth rower anywhere in the United States has died rowing. Rowing is enjoyed on waterways throughout the United States. We run background checks on our coaches

Youth Rowing FAQs

What is the age range for student athletes that participate?
Youth athletes on our high school team are generally from 14 to 18 years of age.  Athletes younger than 14 can join our developmental middle school program that meets twice per week.
Can I join the Youth program if I have never rowed before?
Yes. Rowing is a sport where you do not have to have started in first grade to become a competitor to be reckoned with. Practices are tailored to all levels of experience. Athletes of all skill levels are invited to attend. 99% of our Youth have never rowed prior to joining the club.
Can I join the Youth program if I have not been to a Rocket City Rowing Learn-to-Row Camp?
Yes, we accept new athletes for the first four weeks of the spring (January/February) and fall (August/September) seasons. Youth interested in rowing may also join at any time during winter training in January and February.
What paperwork do I need before I can row?

To attend your first practice, all you need to do is have your parent or guardian sign a liability waiver to participate. I

If you decide to join the program, Youth rowers must complete an on-line registration through Regatta Central. Additional hard-copy forms to complete include an annual health form, and a code of conduct outlining behavior and other expectations of our rowers. In addition, you will have to complete a swim test once every two years, and view the US Rowing safety video. Your coach can answer questions about the required paperwork.

Register

Where does the team practice?
We practice at the Community Boathouse on Hobbs Island Road. The boathouse is one mile east of Ditto Landing, next door to the Whitesburg Boat and Yacht Club. The club rows on the Tennessee River, usually staying within the channel between Hobbs Island and the Hobbs Island Road side of the shore.
Will I get a work out?
Rowing is an excellent full body workout. However, for the first few sessions you will be learning a lot of terminology and technique, with lots of drills and stopping for rest. Well-conditioned athletes may not get much of a workout at first, but by the end you will be doing more continuous rowing without breaks and it should be a good workout. Because each rower is different, the pace of the practice varies greatly with each group.
What should I wear to practice?

Wear clothes that are comfortable for exercising and appropriate for the weather. We will go out in all conditions – hot, cold, rain, snow, etc. The only conditions that prevent rowing are thunderstorms, high winds, and fog. Check the weather frequently and come prepared for the conditions.

Clothing should be form-fitting and not baggy. Loose or baggy clothing can get caught on the oars and seats of the boats.

For bottoms: Shorts should be compression -think spandex. Long/loose shorts will get caught in the seat and cannot be worn in the boat. Dicks often has compression shorts. Online, you can find rowing shorts at JL Sports or Boathouse Sports.

On your feet: Wear athletic/running/tennis shoes. Practices will include running, erging, and stretching on land, which will require shoes. Once you are in the boat, there are shoes that are attached to the boat. You just wear socks in the boats.

What else should I bring to practice?
A water bottle–the boathouse doesn’t have a drinking fountain. A rain jacket for rainy days, hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses for hot days.
Are there bathroom or shower facilities at the boathouse?

There is a portable toilet on-site equipped with toilet paper and hand sanitizer on the boathouse grounds. It is regularly maintained by the vendor.

There are no shower or locker facilities at the boathouse. Bags and personal belongings can be locked in the boathouse during the classes/practices or can be left in your car. Although you are expected to come to the boathouse in workut clothing, there is a small curtained area for changing clothes when needed.

Will practice be cancelled?
Practice is rarely, if ever, cancelled. On days that weather prevents rowing we will do a workout on land.
Can I arrive late/leave early from practice?

Practices will begin promptly at the scheduled times.

If you will need to miss practice or expect to be late, please let your coach know in advance. Similarly, rowers needing to leave more than 15 minutes early should contact the coach via e-mail or phone at least 12 hours in advance to discuss options. It is very difficult for a rower to leave early as it requires an entire boat plus a coach to come in early. Please do not schedule other commitments that will require a rower to leave early.

I'm going to be late or miss practice! What should I do?
If you are going to miss a practice, please make sure to let your coach know in advance. Use email if it is more than 12 hours in advance. If not, call the coach directly. If you will be arriving more than 5 mins late, please give your coach a call and let them know. Often we can wait for you, but it is very helpful to know that you are coming. In rowing, you have to have the right number of people to fill a boat, so communication is key.
I have other school and other extracurricular activities that may prevent me from attending some practices. Can I still participate in RCRC programs?
Possibly. Seat assignments are at least partially determined by demonstrated commitment in attending practices; however, our coaching staff recognizes that adolescence is a time for youth to try out different activities to find out where their interests and talents lie. If you have another commitment, consult with the youth head coach to determine whether you will be able to row with the Rocket City Rowing Youth program.

Masters Rowing FAQs

When can I start??

If you’re new to the sport, Adults should take a Learn To Row Class. Contact the Masters Coordinator (rcrc.masters@gmail.com) to sign up for the next class. If you have experience rowing, you can probably start right away! Contact the Masters Director for information on attending practices

What should I wear for rowing?

Wear clothes that are comfortable for exercising and appropriate for the weather. We will go out in all conditions – hot, cold, rain, snow, etc. Check the weather frequently and come prepared for the conditions.

Clothing should be form-fitting and not baggy. Loose or baggy clothing can get caught on the oars and seats of the boats.

For bottoms: Shorts should be compression -think spandex. Long/loose shorts will get caught in the seat and cannot be worn in the boat. Many retail outlets offering activewear such as Dicks Sporting Goods, Academy Sports, and Target have compression shorts/tights. Online, you can find rowing shorts at JL Sports or Boathouse Sports.

On your feet: Wear athletic/running/tennis shoes. Practices will include running, erging, and stretching on land, which will require shoes. Once you are in the boat, there are shoes that are attached to the boat. You just wear socks in the boats.

What else should I bring to practice?
A water bottle–the boathouse doesn’t have a drinking fountain. A rain jacket for rainy days, hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses for hot days.
Where do you row?

We practice at the Community Boathouse on Hobbs Island Road. The boathouse is one mile east of Ditto Landing, next door to the Whitesburg Boat and Yacht Club. The club rows on the Tennessee River, usually staying within the channel between Hobbs Island and the Hobbs Island Road side of the shore.

 

Directions here.

Are there bathroom or shower facilities at the boathouse?

There is a portable toilet on-site equipped with toilet paper and hand sanitizer on the boathouse grounds. It is regularly maintained by the vendor.

There are no shower or locker facilities at the boathouse. Bags and personal belongings can be locked in the boathouse during the classes/practices or can be left in your car. Although you are expected to come to the boathouse in workout clothing, there is a small curtained area for changing clothes when needed.

Will practice be cancelled?
Practice is rarely, if ever, cancelled. The only conditions that prevent rowing are thunderstorms, high winds, and fog. On days that weather prevents rowing we will do a workout on land.
What time do the Masters practice?
See the Masters Practice schedule for Open Boathouse times.
Can I arrive late/leave early from practice?

Practices will begin promptly at the scheduled times.

If you will need to miss practice or expect to be late, please let your coach know in advance. Similarly, rowers needing to leave more than 15 minutes early should contact the coach via e-mail or phone at least 12 hours in advance to discuss options. It is very difficult for a rower to leave early as it requires an entire boat plus a coach to come in early. Please do not schedule other commitments that will require a rower to leave early.

I have a busy schedule and won't be able to attend regularly. Can I still participate in the Masters program?
Rowing regularly is the best way to improve your fitness and achieve your personal goals (such as weight loss, improving your strength, or increasing your rowing skill level). However, we understand that adults have busy schedules and many commitments. Our program is flexible enough to handle your schedule. We ask that rowers contact the Masters Director via the Master’s Yahoo Group email before practice so boat seating can be planned.
Do I have to wear spandex shorts?
Short, close filling running shorts can be satisfactorily substituted for compression shorts or tights. Baggy shorts can get caught in the wheels under the boat’s sliding seat, causing the rower’s slide to abruptly stop. This could cause an injury. Tight fitting shorts, such as spandex, are required to prevent the shorts getting caught. Long shirts can also get caught in the wheels, so shirts must be tucked in or short enough not to get caught.
I don't have much upper body strength, can I still row?
Yes, you can. Rowing is a ‘push’ sport, and the power of rowing comes from the legs. Upper body strength is important, too, and rowing will help build your upper body.
Will rowing hurt my knees?
Rowing is a non-impact sport, and is generally easy on the joints. Also, there is no twisting or torqueing of the knee, so most people with knee injuries find that they can row. If you have problem knees, we recommend that you consult your doctor before starting.
Will rowing help me with weight loss?
Rowing is a total body workout and an aerobic workout. At high levels of activity, rowing can burn as many or more calories than running without the impact to the joints. Rowing, combined with a sensible eating plan, can help with weight loss and body toning. Your weight loss results will depend on the intensity and regularity of your workouts and on your eating plan.
How many Masters are in the program, and what is the range of experience?
There are currently about 30 Adult rowers in the program. Some of our Masters rowed in college, but most learned to row as adults. Many of our rowers are graduates of our Learn To Row classes.
Do the Masters compete in regattas?
Our masters rowers typically travel to two or three regattas in the fall and in the spring in Oak Ridge, Chattanooga, and Knoxville, Tennessee. We also compete in different types of regattas in Boston, Massachusetts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and other places on occasion to compete against other Masters Rowers
How much does it cost to join the Masters program?
See the Membership Page under the Masters menu for a breakdown of the cost of membership.
Will I get a work out?
Rowing is an excellent full body workout. However, for the first few sessions you will be learning a lot of terminology and technique, with lots of drills and stopping for rest. Well-conditioned athletes may not get much of a workout at first, but by the end you will be doing more continuous rowing without breaks and it should be a good workout. Because each rower is different, the pace of the practice varies greatly with each group.
What is an Erg?
“Erg” is the short name for the rowing machines (rowing ergometers) that we use for on-land training during the winter and on windy days. Ergs are like the rowing version of a treadmill.

Registration FAQs

How do I register for my RCRC program?

Registration is first come, first served and is initiated through this website to our registration portal on RegattaCentral.com, a third party vendor. Click on the appropriate program under the REGISTER tab and follow the instructions. To complete registration:

  • Establish a RegattaCentral username and password, which you can use to retrieve payment information and order history. This ID will also enable RegattaCentral to provide you with email receipts of all transactions, and you may use this ID for future program registration. For junior and middle school programs, the account should be established using the parent or guardian’s name and contact information.
  • Select the appropriate options from each group of programs (Youth Programs / Adult Programs / Adult Learn to Row / Youth Learn to Row) and proceed as instructed.

If you are unable to proceed when you press the “Next” button, it is probably because a piece of required information is missing. Carefully review the information requested and populate the missing information.

If you have trouble with registration, please contact: registrar@rocketcityrowing.net. Be sure to include detailed and specific program information in your query, including screenshots if possible. Important Note: A registration is not considered complete until it is fully paid.

How can I pay for programs?

There are three options to pay for RCRC programs:

  • Credit/Debit Cards (Visa/Mastercard/Discover)
  • PayPal
  • Check Payment

On-line payment is strongly preferred. Checks may be sent to:

Treasurer, Rocket City Rowing Club, Inc.
PO Box 18352
Huntsville, AL 35804

Financial assistance is available for some programs; please contact us at registrar@rocketcityrowing.net.

Participants will be responsible for all additional bank charges incurred by RCRC for items such as bounced checks due to insufficient funds, International transaction fees, chargeback disputes, etc.

How do I know if this program has space?
Programs that have capacity limits have a note about the capacity and how many spaces have been filled. Registration will be accepted until a program is full or until registration is closed. If a program is full or registration is closed, it will be noted on the RCRC web page. If you are interested in a class or program that is already full, you will have the opportunity to sign up for a notification list if and when a place becomes available or another similar class or program is offered.
What is the Refund/Transfer/Credit policy?

Rocket City Rowing does not offer refunds for programming cancelled due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. We will not refund participant fees for withdrawal from programs except in the case of serious medical conditions or injury that have been confirmed in writing by a physician. If a refund is warranted, a check will be issued in the name of the RegattaCentral account holder.

ENROLLMENT CHANGES: Rocket City Rowing will honor, on a case-by-case basis, requests for enrollment changes that occur mid-season. A prorated program must be approved by the Club Treasurer.

I have a credit balance. How can I apply this credit to new registrations, products or services?
Complete the registration process as usual and at checkout, select Check Payment. Then click on Home ->View Details (in the upper right hand corner of the screen) and pay the balance indicated using a debit or credit card.
What can I do if I forgot my Regatta Central Username or Password?
  • Go to www.regattacentral.com and click on ‘Login‘ at the top of the page
  • Use the ‘username‘ link to request that your username be sent via email. Use the ‘password‘ link to request that a link be sent via email to reset your password.
  • Submit the requested information then check your email.
How do I change personal information (i.e. name, address, affiliation, email, password, etc.) for the account holder?
  • Go to www.regattacentral.com and click on ‘Login‘ at the top of the page
  • Click the ‘Account‘ link located in the upper right hand corner
  • Click the ‘Update‘ button after you have made any changes to the Account Information