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Los Gatos Rowing Club                       at Lexington Reservoir        
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Frequently Asked Questions 

General

Why would a person want to row? 
Rowing is a wonderful outdoor physical activity that offers men or women, adults or youth, a challenging combination of fitness, teamwork and technique. To succeed at rowing takes commitment, discipline, physical fitness and hard work. Everyone in a boat must work together in harmony for the boat to go fast and for the team to succeed. It is the ultimate team sport and offers a unique sense of accomplishment and satisfaction to those who participate in it. And, because rowers spend a lot of time training together, they often end up developing life-long friendships. 

Are there different types of rowing?
There are two types of rowing - sweep rowing and sculling.  In sweep rowing, each rower uses only one oar.  The most commonly used boats are fours and eights, with a coxswain on board to help steer the boat.   In sculling, the rower uses two smaller oars.  The boats are referred to as a"single" (one rower), a double (two rowers) or a quad (4 rowers). Sculling boats do not have a coxswain. 

How long are the boats and what are they made of?
The longest boat (or "shell") is an “eight” and is around 59 feet long. Shells are made out of fiberglass and carbon to reduce weight, maintain stiffness, and handle stress.  The heaviest shell weighs around 250 pounds and is carried by eight people. The lightest shell, a single, weighs around 35 pounds and can be carried by one person.  Like automobiles, shells are manufactured by many companies with varying methods of construction, types of materials used, designs and colors. 

What is the role of the coxswain?
In an 8, the coxswain (“cox” for short) sits in the stern (back of the boat).  Some 4’s have bow (front of the boat) coxswains and some have stern coxswains.  In addition to steering the boat, they are responsible for race strategy and very often make the difference between whether a boat wins or loses.  At practice, they conduct drills, follow practice routines and give technical feedback to the rowers. Ideally, junior coxswains weigh in at around 120 pounds. A lower weight helps keep the boat competitive, though in some races, if the coxswain is too light, he or she may be required to carry ballast to bring their weight up to a minimum level. Learning to be a coxswain is a great way for someone with a slight build to get involved in rowing. Coxswains need to be tough and possess leadership qualities. They are often called upon to demonstrate a level of maturity beyond that of their peer group.
 

Youth Programs (9th - 12th grade; 6th - 8th grade)

How many athletes are in the Youth program?
Total enrollment is typically 170-180 athletes, comprising the six different squads:  Novice Women, Novice Men, Varsity Women, Varsity Men, Middle School Program I and Middle School Program II.  A novice is any first-year high school aged rower.  All high school aged rowers become varsity rowers in their second year on the team. Middle School Program I is for any athlete in 6th - 8th grade and Middle School Program II is for any 8th grader that has rowed at LGRC for at least one semester. 

What is the practice schedule?
Practices for novice and varsity teams are held after school, usually starting at 3:30pm and lasting 2-3 hours; and on weekends, usually in the mornings. Each squad typically practices four-five times per week in the Fall season, and five to six times per week in the Spring season. Practices for both middle school programs are two days per week for two hours each time.

What is a typical practice like?
In addition to taking boats out and rowing on the water, athletes train at practice in a variety of other ways – on rowing machines (ergs), weight lifting, running, and core strengthening and stretching.

Are all the practices mandatory? 
Our youth program is a non-cut program.  Although skipping practices will not result in getting cut from a team, a rower’s attendance or lack of attendance will impact their rowing development and placement in competitive boats.  If there is a standing conflict that may prevent your rower from attending practices on a regular interval, this should be discussed with the rower’s specific coach.  Varsity rowers are expected to attend all practices.
 
Practice starts soon after school is out, can I be late to practice?  
It is best to arrive to practice on time.  Due to limited daylight on school days, the rowers generally go out on the water soon after practice begins.  Once rowers are on the lake they do not come back to pick up a rower who is late unless it was pre-arranged and approved by the coach.  After the boat's lineup is set, a late athlete prevents an entire boat from launching until everyone arrives.

Can I leave practice early?
Rowers like to spend as much time on the water as sunlight will allow. Once on the water, logistically it is difficult to get individuals back to the dock early.  If the specific practice is a land practice or if the boats are off the water because it is dark, leaving early is not generally disruptive to the rest of the team.  If it requires sending an entire boat back to the dock early, it is more problematic.  However, if the coach is aware if scheduling conflict well in advance, accommodations can be made.

What is the difference between fall and spring season?
Fall season involves general fitness conditioning and rowing skills.  Fall season has several head racing regattas (5K-6K courses raced against time).  Spring season involves more regattas which are sprint races (4-8 boats racing head to head over a 2K course). Spring season also has several away regattas including South West Regionals which qualify boats to Nationals. 
 
I participate in another activity and can only row just fall or spring season.  Can I only row one season and how will it affect me?
Although it is possible to participate in only one season on an annual basis, you will be competing for seat positions with rowers who row both seasons providing them more boat and practice time.
 
I need to carpool, how can LGRC support me?
LGRC encourages carpooling due to the limited parking at the boat house. Many of our rowers carpool to practices and regattas.  At the parents' meeting at the beginning of the season, carpool opportunities will be discussed.
 
What high schools are represented in the LGRC program?
Over the years, students in our rowing program have come from nearly every public and private high school in the area.  In 2009 there were 28 different schools represented.

What is the role of parents? 
As the parent or guardian of a LGRC rower, parents have the potential to have a significant impact on the development and success of the Club’s rowing program. In addition to volunteering their time and talents, parents can help enormously by:
Encouraging junior rowers and promoting sportsmanship 
Being supportive of the coaches, striving for perfect attendance at practices and avoiding schedule conflicts wherever possible
Being timely with practice arrival and pick-up, carpooling if you can
Monitoring student athlete’s progress, particularly in relation to academic priorities
Staying informed and escalating any concerns to the coaching staff
Masters Programs (Adults)

How do I learn to row?
During the spring and summer months, we offer group sweep rowing classes and individual sculling lessons.

Adult Learn-to-Row Classes- Ten hours of instruction over 2 consecutive weeks (group meets 4times) gives new rowers a solid introduction to the sport. On completion, participants receive a three-month provisional Club membership and have the opportunity to enroll in the Novice Coached Program for continued group rowing instruction. 

Adult Learn-to-Scull Lessons - New scullers are encouraged to take sweep lessons before taking sculling lessons. However individuals may skip sweep lessons at the discretion of the program director. Acceptance is based on the fitness, agility, and prior athletic experience. Over three weeks, the sculler receives four to six hours of lessons. Upon completion, participants receive a one-month provisional membership and are asked to decide if they want to join the club.  

After taking Learn-to-Row, what type of ongoing programs are offered for adult members?
LGRC welcomes both recreational and competitive rowers, and experienced rowers and those who want to learn to row.  We provide a range of sweep rowing and sculling coached programs to meet the needs of participants at all skill levels, from complete beginner to high-level competitor. Our programs focus on building skills and fitness to compete in local, regional and national rowing competitions.  See 'Adult Programs' on the home page menu for specific program information. 

Sculling Checkout - Experienced scullers new to the Club may request a one-time, complimentary "check-out" with one of our sculling coaches to ensure they have the skills necessary to handle themselves and the equipment safely.  Prior sculling experience at a recognized rowing organization is mandatory.