A new year is upon us and with it come resolutions to drink less, row faster, lift heavier, work harder and generally be better. We applaud anyone taking on the mantle of 'new year, new me' - January is a bleak, soulless month at the best of times and trying to achieve profound and lasting change in your lifestyle is tough. At Square Blades, we were thinking about how we could support the masses of rowers committing to being the best version of themselves in 2023. And that's when it hit us. Don't row harder - row smarter. Commit to trying out a new event; attend a new fixture; arrive at a new location, put your boat on the water and win some silverware.
To help you all out, we spoke with three of the UK's top club coaches to find out where they recommend rowing in 2023.
Pete is the current Junior Head Coach at Marlow Rowing Club, one of the UK's most successful junior talent programs. Before this, he raced for Great Britain and was a World Champion in the men's lightweight double sculls and an Olympic silver medalist in the men's lightweight coxless four.
When I was growing up in Northern Ireland, competing at Belfast Sprints Regatta was great fun. It was a quick 500 sprint; one year I entered everything I could and got around 10x500s out of it during the day. It was a great opportunity to try different formats and crew-mates.
Helen is the GB Start centre head for Twickenham and is responsible for the talent identification, testing, coaching and development of athletes. Athlete achievements include November 2021 U23 male and female GB Trial winners, 2021 European U23 Gold Medalists, 4th U23 World Championship placing, Winner at Henley Women's Regatta 2021 and athletes in 3 Finals at Henley Royal Regatta 2021.
Most of my coaching has been in the Thames Valley. That said, from my time coaching and rowing in Leeds, we used to come down to Peterborough Regatta. The day feels like a team effort. Often athletes enter multiple events having to jump from race to race. The officials do everything to make the day as flexible and smooth as possible. As a coach it’s great to introduce athletes to laned racing whilst keeping the fun and unpredictable nature of local races.
Leon is the Head Coach at Henley Rowing Club, a volunteer role which involves the management of a team of over 15 coaches and the coaching of over 100 girls in regular training. Leon has led the club to numerous national titles, including at Henley Women's Regatta, National Schools' Regatta, Schools' Head of the River, British Rowing Junior Championships and the Oarsport Junior Sculling Head.
We have always enjoyed the Bedford head races, particularly for our J15/14 age groups. As the event is a relatively short head course of 2000m and runs with seven divisions it's a great chance to have the athletes race in two, three or even four different boats in one day. It allows for the athletes to have a run down the course, learn it and then pick on the areas they want to focus on improving through the later divisions.The course also works well for spectating with a number of good spots to watch from which is good for both the parents and the coaches. Overall Bedford is a great days racing for everyone and you come away feeling like you've raced a lot, learnt a lot and most importantly not sat around waiting on the water for hours!