First Time Youth Rower FAQ

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.


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.