J16 Sculling Camp 2010

Junior Sculler Holme Pierrepont

This year 47 juniors aged 15 and16 were chosen from their respective regions to attend the British Rowing J16 Sculling Camp held at Holme Pierrepont in Nottingham.  With a spread of attendees from Scotland to Cornwall, the camp gives many athletes and coaches their first introduction to a training camp environment, which for those who have never attended one can be a challenging and very tiring time!

The focus of the Camp is on skill development. This year, Llandaff Rowing Club sent a coxless quad for use on the camp – this enabled those that had never been in a coxless boat to try and those that had not tried steering to have a go too. With surprisingly good weather, everyone had plenty of time to perfect their boat skills under the watchful gaze of the coaches.

Following a short time trial, the rowers are divided into groups of similar speeds. This enables the coaches to look after small groups of scullers without having to battle to keep them all together. Sessions are held two to three times a day helping the athletes to concentrate on their technique for sustained amounts of time without sessions being too long.  Warm ups feature heavily at the camp as past experience has shown this is an area that many of the athletes do not focus on and, although enjoyable, the warm up led by Olivier Laplanche HSCT Scotland, found many of the athletes struggling – shown by the tired and red faces after each one. Whilst the post session cool down and stretch found even more struggling! 

The first evening everyone attends a workshop about the technique and standard British Rowing is looking for. This year this was delivered by Dan Hetherington, CDO for the North West and was followed with other workshops, breaking up the cycle of warm up, session, cool down, eat and rest that each day follows.

One of the workshops delivered by Jamie Francis, a British Rowing HSCT, covered the all-round development of athletes. This included some excellent ‘voting’ equipment that Jamie had borrowed from Oxford Brookes University – which the juniors thoroughly enjoyed using whilst seeing how many questions they could answer correctly. Other workshops included ‘Planning your Rowing Life’ and a workshop on success – both delivered by Jo Atkinson,  the camp organiser.  She found that most juniors attending thought that you had to have big legs, train seven days a week at the age of 16, and have no social life to be a success!

Single scullers J16 Camp

The weekend proved to be a success for all that attended, with everyone benefiting from the intense coaching environment and coaches benefiting from having to organise everything for their sessions, from risk assessments to reporting procedures, as well as actual coaching.

A big thanks to all those that helped make it such a success – especially Ken Bateson, Liz  Hoskins and Sparky (Brian Sparkes), who gave up their Easter to help at the camp – as well as the HSCT coaches who came from all over the country to help – Olivier, Julia (Wales) , Fiona (Nottingham), Katy (Oundle), Catherine ( South), Jamie (Birmingham), Phil (WAGS) and Dan (NW), but especially to 16 year old Dennis Zaboronski – who was selected to attend as an athlete, broke his thumb and then offered to come and be a trainee coach – which he did fantastically – and spent four days cycling instead of sculling!

Jo Atkinson
Coaching & Development Team Leader
J16 camp organiser