STAGING Competition Framework mythbusters - wave one - British Rowing

Competition Framework mythbusters – wave one

You may have also heard some misconceptions about the new Competition Framework. Here, we set the record straight.


(c) Naomi Baker

1. The current Competition Framework is fine as it is and doesn’t need changing.”

The review of the current Competition Framework was prompted by substantial feedback from the rowing community. The message was clear: the current points system doesn’t create fair, close or exciting races.

The statistics back this up, with 85% of women and 71% of men having two or less British Rowing sweep points and 90% of both men and women having two or less sculling points. This created a bottleneck that distorted competition, reduced enjoyment and had a negative impact on retaining people in the sport.


When the majority of all British Rowing members fit into just two racing statuses – Novice and IM.3 – it’s clear that something isn’t working and the competition structure needs to be changed.

2. “The new Competition Framework is one person’s idea and the rowing community hasn’t been consulted.”

The new Competition Framework is being developed and delivered by a project group made up of a mixture of senior volunteers and British Rowing staff.

The project group reports to British Rowing’s National Competition Committee, which in turn reports to the Sport Committee, Board and Council. This process has been ongoing for over four years with engagement with the rowing community throughout this period.

Views and feedback have been sought and received through a variety of ways. In addition to updates in both Rowing & Regatta magazine and on our website, a series of Regional Get-Togethers that were open to all were held throughout 2016. We have listened to all the feedback received and discussed it within the project group.

We are really grateful to everyone who’s got involved and has helped shape the new Competition Framework. We continue to receive feedback and regularly consider ideas for development. You can let us know your views by emailing us.

3. “You need to read a huge document to understand how the new Competition Framework works.”

There is a detailed handbook that continues to evolve for those who want it but the basic principle is very simple. The more crews you beat or are faster than the more points you get.

When competitions prepare the draw they will band crews with similar points together so you should be racing crews of similar ability making for closer, more exciting racing.

Points awarded reduce automatically over time so you have to keep racing and beating crews to keep your points up.

4. “You get more Ranking Points for racing in head races than you do for regattas.”

The aim is for regattas and heads of similar competitor numbers to allocate a similar number of Ranking Points. As we develop the system we will be analysing the results and if the points allocation between regattas and heads does not match then we will adjust the system.

5. “New rowers won’t be able to win their Novice pot anymore.”

Under the new Competition Framework, competitors will be racing crews of similar ability rather than using the rather crude measure of ‘have you won at a regatta?’. This will help make for closer, fairer and more exciting racing.

The previous system created a bottleneck holding more than half of competitors in one racing status with a relatively small chance of progressing. All competitors will at some point still win their first pot. Hopefully much sooner than is the case with the status point system as you’ll be racing people of a similar level. This will also mean it is more likely that you’ll have a positive experience and continue to compete.

6. “If you haven’t raced for a few years you’ll have zero Ranking Points and be able to race against beginners.”

Any Ranking Points you get awarded depreciate over time. After five years, Ranking Points awarded go down to one point each. This will mean your PRI will be down to eight points as it’s the total of your best eight results.

After a break from racing you will start lower down the rankings but as you gain points for all competitions you will move up the rankings. You can always request competitions to move you up due to previous experience as you can under the current system.

We only started allocating ranking points for competitions held from September 2015 so people who have not raced since then will not have any Ranking Points. While we are in this transition phase we are also making the old status points available to competitions so they can check that the right points have been allocated.

7. “The old categories – Novice, Intermediate, Senior, Elite etc. – are disappearing.”

We are moving away from a system where we centrally dictate what the bands are and what they are called.

Instead we will concentrate on providing competitions with a more accurate measure of a crew’s ability and leave it up to the competition to decide how to band the entry using their local knowledge of the clubs and competitors they attract. This will make for closer and more exciting racing.

Don’t forget, you can request to race in a higher band if you or your crew wish to do so.


We’ll be busting more myths over the coming weeks. Follow us on Twitter to be in the know about the Competition Framework and check out our latest news page for all the latest. If you’ve got a question or feedback on the Competition Framework, email