One of our Learn2Row course participants, Evan, shares her view on this year's course:

The PTRC website says, “We don’t like to brag…but we do put on one hell of a Learn to Row course”, and while that does sound slightly like bragging, as an almost-graduate of the 2019 Learn to Row class, I wholeheartedly agree with that statement.

The 6-week course has been intense, mentally and physically challenging, and a great deal of fun.

It’s hard to believe that seven weeks ago our class had no idea how to feather, what “blades square and buried” meant, or the true depths of Steve’s sassiness [ed. he's our Learn to Row Lead Coach]. Our class was hit with a firehose of information, from good rowing form to boathouse protocol to the fair amount of faff that comes with the sport, which makes it difficult to summarise the entire course front to back. However, in an effort to do so, I present to you The Triple T’s of Learn to Row at Putney Town Rowing Club:

1. Training

I would be remiss not to begin with the foundation of what makes the course so successful – the training curriculum. The course is structured and well-organized, with six sessions in the tank (on land) and six out on the Thames. The progressive nature of the curriculum makes it easy to follow along week by week, and the experienced coaches leading the course are patient as we deepen and solidify our rowing knowledge.

In addition to those 12 sessions, the club also offers ergo training sessions on Monday, a yoga class to stretch out, a weekly circuit class, and drinks after weekend water sessions. The bang for the buck you get for the L2R course is remarkable considering the breadth of opportunities one has to improve their rowing skills. It is a testament to PTRC: the coaches and squads are clearly devoted to rowing and the club, and they love instilling the passion that they have for the sport in others.

2. Technique

While rowing is certainly a physical challenge, I believe the true test of the sport is the mental strength. There is SO. MUCH. to think about when rowing: “Is my body position correct? Am I leaning too far over? Am I in time with Stroke? Am I starting to feather too early?” The internal questions to check off can go on and on.

After a weekend water session, I am exhausted not from physical effort, but from the constant thoughts swimming through my head. You have to think about one thing and everything at once. Luckily, at Putney Town, we have coaches who help us focus on the things that matter throughout the training sessions, and I am comforted to know that an experienced eye is helping us to grow into better, stronger, more efficient rowers.

3. Teammates

I haven’t met a single person involved with PTRC – whether a coach, a squad member, or a fellow L2R classmate – who hasn’t been welcoming, passionate, or incredibly helpful. You get the sense of the family that exists at the club immediately upon joining the course and, to me, THIS is the reason I am so glad I signed up for Learn to Row at Putney Town. Certainly other clubs or programmes offer a course for beginners to learn the fundamentals of rowing, but in my six weeks at Putney Town Rowing Club I’ve found friends and teammates who I want to continue rowing with when the course is complete.

The Learn to Row programme has been a highly rewarding experience in many ways. I’ve learned to row (obviously), I’ve made new friends, and I’ve found a club that I want to be a part of for many years to come. The course has made me feel like part of a team again – and it is so fun to be part of something bigger than yourself. I’m so looking forward to joining the Development Squad, helping the 2020 Learn to Row class have the same transformational experience, and sharing the love of rowing with my teammates, coaches, and friends.


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