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General Information about Falcon Juniors
This page was last updated on the 17th January 2024.
About Falcon Junior Rowing Squad
The Falcon Junior Rowing Squad is currently made up of around fifty 11 to 18 year olds and is set up to be competitive in the sport of rowing. This means we race at local, regional, and national level regattas. We encourage athletes to compete in two events throughout the year as a minimum, and although we love to win, these events are in order to experience the fullness of the rowing environment rather than the rush of medal tallying endorphins.
However, we understand that rowing is in addition to many other activities, including the priority of academic studies. For this reason we aim to educate athletes in the commitment rowing takes so that they can choose a level of training which works for them. Much of the fun derived from rowing comes from the participation in training to a good level and then competing against others, but we accommodate everyone where they are. Those who go on to compete and succeed at high levels are those who put the effort in consistently throughout the year. They also frequently achieve impressive grades at exams due to the discipline required to manage rowing along side academic studies and the benefits training to a high level has on both mind and body.
Please note: unfortunately we are unable to accept juniors younger than 11 years old for the rowing squad--age is from the 1st of September so if your junior was not 11 by the 1st September which has just passed, then please wait for the new season to commence. For those much younger, please consider looking at our partner section in the kayaking and canoeing side of the club by clicking here.
How do I join you, and how long do I have to decide if rowing is for me?
Our intake of new rowers happens primarily over the summer holidays when we run beginner courses for the athletes to learn some basic boating skills. During this time we introduce them to single and multi-person boats, teach them the basic movement for the rowing stroke, and instruct them on the safety aspects required for water sports, and in particular sculling, a form of rowing involving two oars.
These summer courses are the perfect way to experience what rowing involves and will help you decide if you enjoy the sport. Details for those courses will be posted here closer to their start time in July. If you would like to placed on the mailing list for updates, please click here and provide us with your email so we can keep you posted.
We do take people into the squad at other times of the year, but this is subject to the timing of that entry within the year, their previous ability, if any, and the resources available for coaching and instructing at the time of the application.
If you already have some experience and are looking to join mid-season, please email us at email@example.com to arrange a conversation with the Junior Head Coach; Nick will discuss with you the experience level, fitness, and other aspects and possibly arrange a meeting and tester session.
What if I missed the summer courses? If you were unable to attend a beginner's course in the summer, we can still potentially accommodate new members with no experience. Please email the Junior Head Coach to discuss things. Ideally we like to get new members who have not done a course established early in the training season so please try and do this before the second week of September as there are also safety drills and tests to be completed before the weather turns too cold. Nick can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org.
When and how often do you train?
Training takes places over the same dates as the Oxford County Council Term time dates. During the winter months we have 6 days a week available for training. This allows those who wish to train for higher tier competitions to train at the level they need to be competitive; we will help you learn and decide what level is right for you, but we suggest at a minimum one water and one land session a week to begin with. Of course, the more you train, the better you become, and the more fun you will have; however, we are aware that there may be other sports you are taking part in along side other commitments.
October to March (roughly speaking when the clocks change)
- Mon, Thurs, Fri 18:30 -19:30: Land sessions--Junior Squad
- Wed 1800: Land session--Club Circuits
- Sat and Sun 12:00-14:00 or 14:00-16:00--Water Sessions--Junior Squad.
All land training sessions are open to beginners and experienced alike, but from October until December usually the 12:00-14:00 session will be for beginners and the 14:00-16:00 session will be for more experienced athletes. This does depend on how well people progress, so as the junior gets better, they may be able to join the more experienced athletes.
March to July
- Mon and Thurs 18:30-19:30: Land sessions--Junior Squad
- Wed and Fri 17:30-20:30: Water sessions--Junior Squad (light depending and times can vary by up to 30 minutes)
- Sat and Sun 15:00-17:00 and 17:00-19:00: Water sessions--Junior Squad (times are approx and will be set closer to when the timetable is finalised for that year).
During the summer we try and provide more water sessions as this is where we can put the time and effort into being on the water.
July to September
Summer Courses for all levels of rower. (Times are finalised closer to the event, but in general are close to what is listed below.) Details for the summer courses can be found here.
- Mon to Fri: 2 hrs a day: 10:00-12:00 -- Usually beginners. 12:00-14:00 -- Usually more experienced.
How much does membership cost?
Each junior has to be a member of the club for £125 per year and pay a coaching fee of £350 per year. This covers professional coaching during school term times, boat purchases, insurance, boathouse rent, council tax, utilities etc. Fees can be paid in two tranches:
- £250 on 1st September (£125 for membership and £125 for September to January Coaching fees)
- £225 on 1st February (for February to July term-time Coaching Fees)
Race fees and trailer fees are not included; you will be advised separately when these are owed via email or WhatsApp.
There is also a requirement to become a member of British Rowing, the governing body for our sport in this country. Membership provides access to races and additional insurance for your junior, including (we are informed by current junior members) if they are cycling to or from the club and have an accident.
When you sign your junior up for membership, you will be guided through the consent and waiver sections required to join the club. A link will be provided here soon, but in the meantime, please email email@example.com if you require further information. If your junior joins the club part way through the year, please consult the Junior Head Coach for part payment. Additional information can be found here.
What should I wear?
We encourage tight fitting clothing whenever possible, but normal sports clothing is fine: t-shirt, leggings and trainers. You should have plenty of layers with you, like a long sleeved top, a fleece, and tracksuit bottoms. Cotton is not great if it can be avoided, but will do if you have nothing else. Lycra and other tech materials are excellent. (Lycra=Spandex for our American cousins.)
Loose clothing is best avoided, as are hoodies with pockets on the front, any baggy shorts, expensive clothing and items such as denim or corduroy. As you get more experienced, you will need to purchase rowing specific items, like an all-in-one (also known as a unisuit).
What do I need to bring to each session, and when do I need to arrive?
Please make sure you arrive promptly at the time specified above, so that you are ready to start on time. Please inform your coach if you anticipate being late.
Please make sure you have the following every session: a full change of clothes (including underwear, socks, shoes and a towel), a water bottle, and adequate clothing for the conditions such as a hat (for cold weather) or a cap (for sunnier weather); if conditions are very sunny, please ensure you have applied sun cream, and think seriously about a pair of sunglasses with an appropriate attachment to keep them on your head. If you fail to bring the essentials, there is a chance we may not let you out on the water.
What happens if Falcon need to cancel a session?
It is rare that we cancel sessions as we usually move them to land training. However, sometimes we may not have the space to complete land training inside and if a run or outdoor training is not possible due to the conditions, then we may be forced to cancel the session. If this happens, we will use the WhatsApp group and follow it with an email as soon as we possibly can.
When do you break for holidays?
We break for Christmas, Easter, and the summer holidays. We do look to run some land training over the holiday breaks if we have the resources to do so, but these should be considered a bonus rather than the norm. We run summer courses in the holidays, as well as ad hoc sessions for those that want them. The coaching fees mentioned above only cover the school term time coaching sessions. Additional sessions, e.g. during school holidays may require additional fees.
What are your attendance requirements?
We expect juniors to commit to the sport. Due to the intricacies of crew rowing, this is not like football or rugby and missing a session can really let your crew down, in some cases meaning they don't get to go out on the water. We are looking for a junior to be attending 70% or greater of the sessions over a term, particularly the water sessions. If we have to move a session from the water to land, that does not then mean it's an excuse not show--the training we do on land is just as important.
We have a sign up sheet which is filled out in advance so that we can plan who is in which boat and what boats we need to book--we do share the equipment with adult members and while we are usually the only squad out during our session times, sometimes they overlap with only times that some senior members can manage.
What do I do if I am unable to attend my weekend session?
As mentioned above, rowing is unlike most other sports. It requires a complete crew to go out on the water, so if you are unable to attend, it is important to know that the knock on effects might mean that as many as three or four others may not be able to go out on the water.
That said, we understand that life happens, and sometimes it isn't possible to attend a session. When this happens, or when your'e running late, we ask that you use the WhatsApp group to let us know as soon as possible. Additionally, we would expect you to let us know if you are going to miss three sessions in a row, just so that we know you haven't left!
What parental involvement is expected?
We encourage juniors to be independent and able to take responsibility for themselves. In regards to the land training and water sessions parents are very welcome to come and watch, and they are absolutely encouraged to attend races and social events to support. However, parents are not permitted to get involved with any club sessions and are expected to stay off the landing stages at training sessions, unless specifically asked by the coaches. Juniors are expected to rig and prepare their own boats, with the coaches' support.
The exception to this rule is where parents are operating as Safety Marshalls, having received suitable training, or are Parent Coaches who have been accepted onto the coaching team with appropriate background checks and training in place. See "Safety Cover doc for Parents" as bottom of the page for more details.
In addition to the water safety aspects outlined in the previous paragraph, we do look for support in some of the background running of the junior squad. Our coaching team have both specified hours and a small budget with which to to work with, and the actual workload to run a junior squad is essentially a full time job. This can be mitigated by having parental members share some of the administrative work that needs to be completed in order for the squad to run smoothly. Help with this is essential to the running of the squad, and if shared around a number of volunteers means the coaches can focus on what they do best, coach. If you are interested in offering your time to help with the running of the squad please email Simon, a volunteer parent helper himself, who is the Junior Co-ordinator.
What kit am I expected to have?
We expect those racing seriously (i.e. those who will compete in races other than those run by the University on our home stretch of water, the Isis) to race in club kit. The minimum requirement will be a Falcon RCC racing top and shorts, but we do encourage all athletes to consider buying an all-in-one (AIO) as this benefits training and practices alike. Kit orders will be organised regularly throughout the season, but with our new providers it is not necessary to wait until we order as a group; the only difference is a slightly increased cost in P&P. The club is currently transition from an older style of AIO to a more modern take on the design. The older style will be used but many will move to the newer, more modern design. Each crew will have to race in the same kit, so combining older and newer is not possible. However, there will be the possibility to to borrow kit from existing members or perhaps purchase second hand kit from former members. We will always find a way to make things work. The older kit can be found here, and there is a slightly lower price for junior sizing, while the newer kit can be found here.
What happens if I want to start racing?
If you visit the racing page, you will find everything you will need to know about racing for Falcon.