"I strongly believe that rowing is a sport which is good for both the mind and body but which has largely only been available to a select few."
We first met Lois when she applied to be a volunteer coach as part of the RowLeeds programme early in 2017. A rower, a mentor, and a coach, Lois has been featured by British Rowing in their Coaches Week series and it's now our turn to shine the spotlight on her commitments to rowing, coaching and our wider RowLeeds mission. She is now in her second year of coaching and as you'll see from her interview below, she's not stopping until her juniors win gold at the RowLeeds Indoor Champs. At RowUK, we are proud to be able to support the fantastic work Lois does and we are thankful for her continued role in promoting what we do. Home Grown. World Class.
Who is Lois?
My name is Lois Beaumont. I was born in Swindon, live in Worcester and am now in my third year at the University of Leeds studying Sports Science and Physiology. When time allows, I also enjoy baking, hiking and walking my dog, Wilf.
What's your experience as a rower?
I started rowing at my school, RGS Worcester, aged 13 and continued when I joined the University of Leeds Boat Club where I am part of the Senior Women’s Performance Squad. I have been lucky enough to compete at many high profile events such as SHORR, National Schools' Regatta, BUCS Head, Bucs Regatta, WEHORR and Women’s Henley. I love every aspect of rowing (except, perhaps, the blisters) but especially the camaraderie within the squad. Nothing beats the feeling of a boat flying along the water when everything is going well and all of the crew members are working as one.
Why did you get involved in the RowLeeds programme as a volunteer coach?
I became involved last year and I’m looking forward to seeing what this year brings. I strongly believe that rowing is a sport which is good for both the mind and body but which has largely only been available to a select few. I have been keen to give back something to a sport which has changed my life and to be able to bring it to other young people from varying backgrounds, is a privilege.
What are your main responsibilities this year as a coach on the programme?
This year, I have again been helping to coach the J16/J18 Juniors from Leeds Rowing Club alongside their lead coach, Gav Coates. I help on a Friday evening with their indoor ergometer sessions and occasionally on a Saturday with their water sessions if my own rowing allows.
What would you say have been your main highlights of coaching on the programme?
I’ve enjoyed seeing the beginner’s technique improve both on the water and on the ergs. It’s also been great to see the kids push themselves and encourage each other at the RowLeeds indoor rowing championships and even better to see their delight when they come away with medals.
What do you think are the personal attributes a coach needs to be successful on this type of programme?
I would say commitment, reliability, adaptability and enthusiasm.
What do you think are the personal attributes a young athlete needs to be successful in rowing?
A young athlete needs similar attributes to their coach – reliability and commitment. It’s always a disappointment when somebody fails to turn up, especially for water sessions, and this can demand creativity from the coach to change the planned sessions at the last minute. They also need a positive mindset and self belief. In rowing, it can be an advantage to be tall but previous sporting success often isn’t necessary as I have proved!
What tips would you give our new coaches?
It is important to be reliable, flexible, adaptable, enthusiastic and creative when coaching and to make it fun. It is also important to be able to adapt your coaching style to suit different people and to be approachable. You can use the programme as an opportunity to talk about university life, hopefully inspiring the kids to explore options which they may have thought was out of their reach.
Do you have any personal objectives this year?
My aim for this year is to see all my juniors come away with medals at the RowLeeds indoor Championships – preferably gold! My personal aim for this year is to try my hardest to remain part of the Senior Women’s Performance squad with the ultimate aim being to qualify for Women’s Henley.
Who is your rowing idol and why?
My rowing idol is Katherine Grainger, multi Olympic medal winner who continues to do so much for the sport. I was lucky enough to meet her when I competed at Women’s Henley.
If you could change one thing about the world of rowing, what would it be?
There are two things which I would love to change about rowing. The first is for it to be more inclusive attracting people from all backgrounds. And the second would be to ban 2K tests!!!
At RowUK, we are driven by our mission: "For our crews to win on the water and for our young people to achieve in life" If you could give RowUK one piece of advice, what would it be?
My advice to RowUK would be to keep doing what you’re doing. Use enthusiastic student rowers to go into schools encouraging kids to try a sport which will keep them fit, improve their wellbeing, teach them new life skills, help them make new friends and encourage them to explore further education opportunities which they may have felt were not open to them. It would be great if RowUK could also offer some give it a go sessions on the water.
Want to find out more about coaching with us next year? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more about the RowLeeds Indoor Programme
Find out more about the RowLeeds Indoor Champs