The detail on each part of this strategy is work in progress, presented to indicate our direction of travel and not as a finished product.

We want your input and feedback to help improve it, both for the next iteration as detailed on our roadmap, and on-going. It will change, and we will listen to the membership and what they want and need.

Send us your feedback, and be part of this step change in British Rowing.

Tell us what you think

What? To make rowing a real option for people, even if they have less time and aren't worried about competing

We know that rowing is currently a very 'all or nothing' sport: people commit to crews that tend to train hard and enter competitions. but not everyone with an interest in being involved wants that. Some have achieved at a high level but no longer have time to train as much as they did, and would just fancy an occasional paddle. Others have not even tried the sport and would if they didn't feel that they need to take it very seriously or not bother. And in between is a whole variety of different types.

The goal of our recreational strategy is to ensure that the sport has an offer for people who do not fall into what we might for want of a better word call the 'standard' framework: that, just as tennis, football and golf can be enjoyed just as much by people who want to do it once a year as those who want to do it 365 times a year and enter every competition, so too can rowing can be what any given participant wants it to be, with British Rowing enhancing their enjoyment of the sport at the intensity that works for them.

How? By offering options for people however they define ‘recreational’

For some, recreational means just a paddle, with nothing else required. For others, it means flexibility, while still being able to get an occasional competitive fix. For others still, it’s the chance to go touring once a year with old friends. 

We need to have an offer for each of these groups, so that clubs have a good reason to have recreational squads as well as their set crews. Once serious-rowers would stay in the sport instead of dropping out to find something less time-consuming than their rowing has been when they were competing regularly; people could just rock up and row; and the tourers would be able to travel to more places, more easily, and be welcomed onto new water by people they have never met.

Tools exist to accommodate each of these groups, and we will help promote and facilitate, in line with our overall goal of enhancing people’s experience in the sport. If we do so successfully, clubs will develop recreational squads because it will be in their interests to do so, tying in with our club strategy of helping clubs that want to, to grow.  We 

We will actively seek clubs that want to grow their recreational offer to be early adopters in working with us to trial new ideas, events and activities that will invite new rowers in or appeal to those that used to do the sport but left due to the commitment required. This could include flexible offers at off and at peak times as well as novice coaching support that helps get them started.  A longer term passport scheme for rowers to access boats at a variety of participating clubs to suit their location will also be explored. This may mean using boats for beginners and water time for the more casual rower but we believe that if we can give people a non-pressured experience of rowing, there is a strong chance many will catch the bug and want to take it up more seriously too. For clubs that want to work with us we will develop ideas and support, financial and human, to help us test different opportunities to see which ones stick and bring in the most new rowers and valuable revenue to the club too.

To give people the chance to catch the rowing bug late in life and offer something to first-timers who just want a go, we need more wide-bottomed boats available in more places, available to people who are not club members but merely curious to try on an occasional basis. A current priority is to flesh out a way we can achieve this and we have started to talk to boat suppliers that may help us achieve this cost effectively.

For the Tourers, we need to understand what makes things work and how we can offer it to more people - another priority in the coming months.

Why? Because the sport is too good to be 'all or nothing'. It should be an option for life.

People shouldn't have to give up rowing because they have too few hours to commit to a crew or a club. They shouldn't have to train six days a week to enjoy the sport, and if they don't want to, they shouldn't have to compete. Every other sport allows a casual option - a knock-up on the tennis court, or using jumpers as goalposts with friends. It should be possible to jump into a boat and enjoy it. More people would do it if it were.

View all the areas of the strategy...

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What do you think?

If you have any thoughts on any part of what we are trying to do, think we are missing a trick, or see an area where you can help us, please get in touch and let us know.  

This is your sport: we're here as its Trustees to facilitate it on your behalf, and to help it to thrive and grow.

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