It will run for six weeks from 5 July to 8 August. There are two sessions a week: Wed evenings at 7pm, and Sun mornings at 9.30am. Cost is £120. 

As last year, we will have a professional coach who will be supported by our own volunteers. You'll gain an introduction to rowing – either as a rower or a cox. There's no need to have rowed before, but you must be physically fit and able to swim. You will row mainly in large boats, eights.

Before the course starts we will be offering land-based training sessions to help you to use an ergometer correctly, without unnecessary stress on the spine. These are included in the course fee. It's also well worth looking for rowing films and instruction online. We've put a few links on the site to help you start building fitness, core strength and flexibility. On the course proper, you'll be doing: 

  • Preparatory technique training in the rowing tank, and on the Concept 2 rowing machine.
  • On the water training, usually in eights.
  • Fitness training including erg tests.
  • Learning key rowing commands and terms.
  • Water safety
  • Stretching and core strength.
  • Sprint racing on the final day, just for fun.

To take part give us a few details about yourself by completing the online application form. You should have a reasonable level of fitness and be used to doing exercise and sport. If you are unsure email us. Rowing requires aerobic fitness as well as core strength and flexibility. Of the 12 available sessions, you should aim to attend at least nine. If you have to miss one, please let us know. 

If you are thinking of doing the course, it's important to be realistic. As we've said, it is an introduction and you will not emerge from it rowing like an Olympian. Rowing is technically challenging and can take a long time to master. In many ways, that's it's attraction. You can get on the water more easily with a canoe or paddle-board, but we rarely see these river users in the winter when the Tideway is still crowded with rowers.

Progressing to club rowing

Once you've completed the course, you may want to join the club to continue your progression as a rower. This does take commitment. Like other athletes, rowers have to invest in their fitness, flexibility and core strength. There are early starts and it can be cold and wet in the winter.  That's why we'll only invite you to join if you've shown a level of commitment and ability on the course itself.  Your investment of time and energy will return new skills and new friends in a sport with a strong team ethic.

Bear in mind also, that rowing is a volunteer-run sport, if it weren't, the cost of membership would be a multiple of what it is. We will have the support of a professional coach, but the work of the club is done by unpaid enthusiasts. This can take some mental adjustment. We're all used to being customers, whereas rowing is about membership. There's no paid employee to hand you a fluffy white towel as there would be at a commercial gym. If you join, there's a hope, although not a requirement, that as a member, would find something you can do, small or large, to contribute to the running of the club. 

If you've any questions contact learn2row@sonsrowing.com

Read "From Hammersmith to Henley" the personal account of one of our members who joined Sons through the learn to row course.