Half term is now a distant memory and the long slog towards Christmas is well under way. Eight weeks for most schools does feel like a long time, even for an old campaigner like me, I used to get 20 days holiday a year!


This season started well on the 29th October with a beautiful bright crisp morning. The team from Sir Thomas Boteler quickly got into the swing of things and made the most of the weather, progressing further up the river than any other group to that date. The gang from Bridgewater were next and then the older rowers followed them from UAW. It really was a delightful day, it re-enforced what a beautiful river/playground we have.  The rest of the week went according to plan and all the groups are progressing well. We started to introduce the sliding seat to the youngsters and they are getting to grips with this concept, some quicker than others.


This week we were back to full strength as Beamont returned after their 2 week half term. Sadly their session had to be in the gym due to poor weather conditions. For the groups that got on the river we focused on trying to get the rowers to work together, this might seem an obvious thing but it is a huge step to take and one that takes a while to really grind in. For those of you that are non-rowers imagine going into a gym and getting on the gymnastics beam, can you even walk along it? Now imagine doing 30 squat thrusts on the beam, hard work let alone keeping your balance. Lets ramp up the pressure, now do your 30 squat thrusts on the beam with 3 other people, all of you doing exactly the same thing at the same time. That is an idea of the skills we are trying to impart to our young rowers.


All of our schools this year are progressing well and I am convinced that our move to year 8 has been a good thing. Attention, enthusiasm and behaviour is definitely of a higher standard. One or two of the athletes are starting to be invited to join the rowing club. More will be invited as the group develops and improves technically.


As I have said in previous reports I am delighted with the input that we are getting from the school leads. All schools now have strong capable leadership and the competitive side of them is starting to show! Paul and myself are purposely letting the leads do as much as possible in terms of coaching and launch driving. We are never far away and step in as and when needed. This all helps with the long term sustainability of the project.


The new “Bubble” kit is starting to make an appearance and it looks fantastic. As I understand it all our schools are going for this package, although some of you are still sorting out the details and paperwork. A big thanks is due to Mike and Sam of Bubble for making this happen. Hopefully you have seen the last of our moans about poor kit and hoodies!


Whilst on the subject of new kit we took the delivery of some new oars this week. For various technical reasons we need to use slightly shorter oars and The Henley Stewards have, once again stepped in to help out. Their support for our project is invaluable and we can’t thank them enough.


School Heads, we are still waiting to entertain you! Come along and get a feel for the tremendous things your students are doing. Can I also please remind you that we need more evidence from you as to the value of our project. This is very important, this is how we will be measured/quantified in the coming years.


Wellies will be needed soon!


Schools of the week

Week 6 Birchwood – Good technical work

Week 7 Beamont – Strong start in the gym