Toby Bryant |

Mixed group land training: A superpower for small clubs

Older, experienced rowers generally have something to teach the juniors, but can it be the other way around too? Toby Bryant found that many clubs are breaking with tradition by putting athletes of mixed age, sex and experience side by side when land training, with benefits for all

It’s nearly 8pm on a cold winter’s night, I’m on my final three-minute erg rep, and the going is tough. I’m about to write it off and paddle it in, when I see 16-year-old Lydia upping the rate next to me. And then her dad, Glenn, aged 65, follows on the machine next to her. “I can’t be having this,” I think, and somehow find the energy to match them.

At my small club, City of Sunderland RC, and others of similar size, training in groups of mixed age, experience and gender may begin as a necessity rather than a choice. Facilities, the number of coaches and the quantity of rowers willing to show up for erg work are all good reasons why hybrid sessions are the only practical option. But the approach can also reap unexpected additional benefits for athletes.

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