Learn to row at Reading

Rowing is fun, a great way to meet people and a fantastic way of keeping fit. At Reading Rowing Club we welcome new beginners to our great sport of rowing. We run our Learn to Row course for adult rowers several times a year.

This information is for Adult learn to row courses.  If you're a Junior (or the parent of a Junior) interested in learning to row, complete the waiting list form for our Junior Squad to be informed about upcoming courses.

Course Structure

The course is designed to develop your rowing from complete beginner to a “novice” level. Each course consists of 6 sessions run over 3-5 weeks.  Some courses run during the day on a weekend, while others compress the timetable and also include sessions on a weekday evening.   One of the sessions is normally held at the indoor rowing tank in Oxford.  Exact timetables are available on application.  You will be in a group of up to 8 like-minded people, with a cox and coach.

You will learn about rowing terminology, what the rowing stroke consists of, how to apply it on the indoor rowing machine (ergo) and then the final 4 sessions will introduce you to rowing in a racing eight (a boat with eight rowers and a cox) on our beautiful stretch of river. Our courses focus on Sweep rowing (one oar each). The club own 2 stable training boats which will be perfect to help you hone your rowing and sculling skills once you join the Improvers group after your course.

All beginners become temporary members of the Club and are able to benefit from regular social events and the free use of facilities, including the indoor rowing machines and a well equipped weights gym.

Please note that Learn To Row courses are for adults (18+). If you are under 18 and interested in rowing, you should contact the Junior Squad.

Times, Prices and Costs

The course costs £120 for 6 sessions. At the end of the course there will be a short assessment and we are confident that you will be offered the chance to join our Improver’s Squad where you will receive further coaching with a view to progressing into the Men’s, Women’s or Masters' squads. If you simply wish to enjoy recreational rather than competitive rowing, our Explore recreational squad will be available for you. If you do join the Club within one month of the end of your course, then we will waive the normal joining fee (£35) and at the same time we’ll waive the first month if you pay using the online direct debit option offered by the club.

You can book onto a course or if you have questions before you book, please contact beginners@readingrc.com.

Current dates and times

The dates for the next courses are as follows:

November courses

  1. 3 November noon, 6 November 8pm (Oxford tank), 10 & 17 & 24 November noon, 1 December noon

  2. 3 November 2pm, 6 November 9pm (Oxford tank), 10 & 17 & 24 November 2pm, 1 December 2pm

  3. 4 November noon, 8 November 8pm (Oxford tank), 11 & 18 & 25 November noon, 2 December noon

  4. 4 November 2pm, 8 November 9pm (Oxford tank), 11 & 18 & 25 November 2pm, 2 December 2pm

If you are not able to join one of these dates, and would like to take part in a future course, please let us know by clicking the 'Register Your Interest' button below and we will let you know about dates when these are available.


Developing your rowing after 'Learn To Row'

Once you've completed the Learn to Row course, and you decide to join the club, you'll be welcomed into the Improver's Group where you'll receive further coaching and continue to develop your rowing skills until you are ready to join the one of the senior squads.  The Improvers Group have their own dedicated coaching, but integrate into the wider Men's and Women's Squads.

When you graduate from the Improver group you will:

  • be fit.

  • able to row both sides.

  • able to scull.

  • able to cox.

  • have competed in local club Regattas and Heads, usually in same gender crews for those intending to move to the competing squads.

Those who wish to race seriously will be prepared so they can compete for a place in the main racing Squads, and they will have been actively encouraged to do so. (Note: it is not intended that Improver group crews will remain as unified units through a whole season as they need to be integrated fully into the Senior racing squads so that we can field the best available crew for any event.

Those who don’t wish to race are encouraged to join in the Explore Squad activities.