The RowLeeds Indoor Programme

The RowLeeds Indoor Programme is the first step into the sport for most school rowers in Leeds. We have set up indoor rowing clubs in local schools, with pathways into Leeds Rowing Club for those young people who want to progress to the water. First thing first, we needed to boost the profile of the sport and put rowing on everyone’s radar. So, 2017 started with a series of RowShows through January and February where we delivered free indoor rowing taster sessions to over 1,500 school students.


This is a participation programme and we know that participation needs a purpose if it is to be meaningful and grow. Therefore, we have decided to celebrate two things: talent and persistence.


The RowLeeds Indoor Championships happen once a term and they are there so students can represent their school by pitching their talent and their training programmes against other schools across Leeds and Yorkshire. The Indoor Champs have already yielded some very promising talent (see Joe’s Story) and there’s plenty more where that came from.


However, not everyone can be two metres tall and we happen to think that perseverance is just as important – if not more important – than genetic good fortune. To reward such consistency, we have created the Metre Meter, a scheme to encourage students to get on a rowing machine and rack up a little bit of daily distance at a manageable pace. We have put up enormous wallcharts in their gyms, with regular milestones to mark off, and certificates to be handed out in assembly. A million metres is the final target.


We want to make sure that Leeds students get the best introduction to rowing possible, so we have sought out some great coaches to help them on their way. What we needed were champions, with a passion for the sport, going into schools to light a few fires. The University of Leeds is committed to its students playing a positive role in local schools and has set up an outreach fund to train and support those students who wish to make a positive contribution during their time at Leeds. The university

provided funding for formal qualifications including a Level 2 Assistant Coach, DBS checks and a Child

Protection and Safeguarding course. By October last year, 12 UoLBC members were fully qualified and ready to go.


The programme saw its launch in the autumn of 2017. We currently have a quarter of Leeds schools signed up to the programme and there has been plenty more interest from others. The coaches are encouraged to build their own programmes, integrating their personal coaching styles with the tone and messaging of the wider RowLeeds aims.


This year, to help with strained school budgets, we have also launched an equipment investment plan where RowUK matches a loan ergo for each machine a school purchases itself. We are able to double the spending power of each school and therefore the equipment available to each club.


We are excited to have brought indoor rowing to over 2,000 young people in 2017 and this number is set to increase substantially in 2018. We are also tracking these individuals as they graduate to our partner rowing clubs down at Leeds Boat House.

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