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What do each of the pillars stand for?

  • Physical Literacy – The ability to perform movement skills and improve body awareness. This allows the rower to become more efficient in their movement, making them more confident and in control.
  • Athleticism – The building blocks and physical qualities that rowers are expected to achieve to be able to perform a correct and safe rowing movement. Working on these should also help to help reduce the risk of injury.
  • Fitness – The volume and quality of training that the rower is safely able to maintain.
  • Knowledge, Understanding & Application – Facts and information rowers are expected to learn through experience or education and, through that experience, learn and understand how to apply that information.
  • Ethos & Behaviours – It is important that coaches work with rowers in building the five C’s of Competence, Confidence, Connection, Character and Creativity. Within this pillar rowers will learn to develop the values and behaviours that they need to take ownership of the sport, building a positive sporting environment for all taking part.

I’m training at Level 1. Can I only train three times a week?

You should only be doing three rowing based sessions per week. We would encourage that any other sport based sessions you do are focused on cross training, improving flexibility or conditioning.


Why are British Rowing saying to take part in something other than rowing?

We believe that to become a fully capable rower and well-rounded athlete you must do more than take part in rowing. Athletes must learn to adapt and think for themselves and, by encouraging rowers – particularly those new to the sport, to do this, you will become a better rower.


I’m 18 does that mean I can start at Level 4?

NO! All rowers must start at Level 1 and work their way up the levels. It is important you learn the basics of the sport first before progressing to more difficult challenges. We must learn to walk before we run.


Do I need to have completed all the pillars to level up?

Yes! All the pillars are equally important to make sure you progress as a fully capable rower.


Can I row before the age of 11?

British Rowing does not recommend that those aged under 11 take part in any rowing based activity. Instead we recommend that juniors under 11 take part in a variety of sports and activities that will prepare them for the challenges that rowing brings.


I’ve rowed before and I’m coming back to the sport? Should I train at my old level?

No! You should treat a return to rowing like you are starting at Level 1 and build gradually back into the sport to minimise the risk of injury. How active you have been whilst not rowing will vary your ability when you return. You should start at Level 1 and focus on the areas that need bringing back up to speed.


Is there an amount of time I need to remain in each level before levelling up?

No! As long as you can complete all the actions in each pillar and meet the minimum age criteria you can level up. There is no time limit to remaining at each level.


I’m an 11 year old and can complete all of the Level 1 pillars? Can I level up?

No! We encourage you to remain training using the training guidance given on the training guidance page. You can continue to build upon what you have learnt in level 1 and try to complete.


I have been training at Level 3 but can’t complete actions from Level 2 anymore. Should I still be in Level 3?

No! You should drop back to the training guidance given in Level 2. If you’d like to keep up the number of sessions you were doing at Level 3 we recommend these are cross-training sessions.


I’ve completed all of the actions on Level 4, what can I do now?

Well done. If you can complete all the actions at Level 4 we would recommend you consider attending GB Trials for your age range. If you are already able to complete training at Level 4 and are attending trials you should already be in contact with one of the members of the GB Rowing Team.


Why don’t you show information above Level 4?

Those who are training above Level 4 will be in contact with a member of the GB team in some form for further advice. British Rowing would like to see all the actions from Levels 1 through 4 achieved before they think about progressing any further and competing for the GB Rowing Team.


Can I take part in events which aren’t recommended for my level?

Yes. The recommendations are guidelines for what we think may be suitable for each level. There are multiple situations in which you may like to participate in events at other levels and we fully support this if it is an appropriate event for you.


I’m a recreational rower is this resource for me?

Yes. This is for any rower taking part in our sport. We understand you may only wish to stay at a Level 1 training level, however, it may help give you some focus to what you should be aiming to achieve.


More in this section

Level 1

Level 1 is the initial level in a rower's development and ALL rowers should be competent with this level before progressing onto Level 2. Successful completion and positive experiences of Level 1 is likely to keep the rower interested and engaged to stay in the sport.   Developing confidence to get in and out of…

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Level 2

British Rowing would like to see all coaches supporting their rowers to be competent with Level 1 before moving on to any specific rowing training. Successful completion and positive experiences of the level 1 stages is likely to keep the rower interested and engaged to stay in the sport.   Developing confidence to get in…

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Level 3

This is a major level in a rower's development, as if done correctly it will capture their interest in the sport. There should be a wide and varied mixture of training modalities, continual observation and evaluation of musculoskeletal developments. Make sure to take into consideration growth spurts when setting different types and volumes of training…

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Level 4 (Performance Talent)

To develop an individual who is a competent participant, there would be a year round structured training programme. This is a major development level in relation to fitness and physical development if heading towards the High Performance pathway. In competition the participants will be striving to win, but the overall annual programme should still be…

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