Coaching Week, 3-9 June: coaching as a catalyst for crime prevention

London Youth Rowing coaches are teaching juniors excluded from mainstream schooling to row – it’s proving an uplifting experience for everyone

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Learning to row (c) LYR

As part of 2019 Coaching Week, UK Coaching is spotlighting six areas where #GreatCoaching can help bring about a healthier, more active, cohesive and safer society.

They are:

  • Spotlighting coaches playing a pivotal role in building stronger communities in cities
  • Showcasing coaching as a catalyst for crime prevention
  • Revealing coaching as a driver for combatting loneliness
  • Showcasing how coaching is helping to integrate communities
  • Demonstrating how coaching can help disabled people grow in confidence and independence
  • Demonstrating how coaching can create the conditions for today’s communities to thrive.

To support these six areas, we’ll be sharing the stories of rowing coaches reflecting some of these themes. Next up is showcasing coaching as a catalyst for crime prevention.

In 2017, London Youth Rowing (LYR) launched an Alternative Provision rowing programme, working with New Regent’s College in Hackney. Children excluded from mainstream schooling were taken onto the water for the first time, completely out of their comfort zone and in a different environment from anything they had ever experienced before. Since then over 100 children have learned to row through the Alternative Provision programme, thanks to funding from the Worshipful Company of Vintners.

Life Skills Programme Director Jenny Cooper said: “The background of the children we work with varies. Some have taken weapons into school, some have been victims of crime themselves and many of the children have mental health problems or undiagnosed educational needs.

“One thing missing from the lives of young people who end up involved in gangs, which our sport can provide, is positive role models.

“We’ve brought out the best in some very challenging young people who are constantly aware of what they don’t do – focus – and what they should do – listen. Through rowing we help them recognise what they have forgotten to do – enjoy their childhood.”

Rowing takes place at four LYR sites across the capital: Fairlop Rowing Club, Royal Docks Adventure, Surrey Quays Watersports Centre and Thames Tradesmen’s Rowing Club. Once students have completed the 12-week programme, they continue to have access to rowing at different rowing clubs.

One thing missing from the lives of young people who end up involved in gangs is positive role models

Feedback has been excellent with Rubert Jonker, Assistant Head Teacher at New Regent’s College, saying of one particular student: “For months he struggled settling in. We hadn’t seen any sign of self-control until the point where we decided to take him rowing with LYR. Rowing was a great contributor to his behaviour turnaround in school, so much so that he started a new mainstream school in May.”

This kind of improvement is common in the majority of participants with behavioural problems. They build skills in teamwork, communication and discipline, with their teachers learning to row in the same boat too.

Cooper said: “Rowing is a particularly powerful tool because it is incredibly fun when you get to grips with it, but it takes a large amount of concentration and effort to get to that point.”

Rowing was a great contributor to his behaviour turnaround in school

Yet it’s also proving to be an uplifting experience for the coaches too.

LYR Session Coach Jasmin Hladkij said: “The young people are diverse individuals, full of energy and their behaviour can be challenging, often creating lively sessions. Rowing is a tool that helps them develop a variety of different skills such as confidence and teamwork – it has been an experience I will never forget!

“The sessions are more than rowing and I am so grateful to LYR for providing me with the opportunity to be a part of such a great programme!”

Join British Rowing and UK Coaching by celebrating Coaching Week from 3-9 June 2019 and help bring #GreatCoaching to every community in the UK. For more info, click here

If you’d like to try coaching then British Rowing can help support your development. Check out our courses here.