Coaching Education Program Overview




USRowing is redesigning its coaching education program. After 12 years of providing thousands of coaches with basic coaching information, USRowing is revising its programs over the next couple of years, as are most of the preeminent rowing countries in the world. USRowing is focusing more on the practical aspects of coaching. It is important to have knowledge, but it is even more important to know how to use it.


For this reason, we established a mandatory mentoring system for every level of our coaching education. We recognize that many top international and collegiate coaches came from solid mentoring backgrounds as assistant coaches to established head coaches. Theoretical knowledge came later as a part of their self-education. There is no substitute for practical knowledge.


We are also strengthening the testing and certification requirements.


 The new Level 2 is presented at the Annual Convention in December and is offered locally with most clinics being conducted in the winter and a lighter clinic schedule in the summer and fall.


New Program Outline-

1. Goal and opportunities       
The goal of the USRowing Coaching Education Program is to provide our coaches with solid knowledge of how to run a safe workout and how to coach boats efficiently at every level from beginner to the Olympic team.

To achieve this goal, we will provide the following coaching education opportunities:  
•    Level 1, 2 and 3 Certification Program.
•    Regional coaching clinics and an annual Advanced Coaches Conference.
•    Special coaching camps (mentoring camps).
•    Individual consultations with our Director of Coaching Education.

2.  Introduction to the USRowing Certification Program

The new USRowing Certification Program puts an emphasis on the practical aspects of coaching education.

The new system will introduce:
•    More practical class activities during the clinics.
•    A comprehensive exam from theoretical material learned at the clinic and online.
•    Mandatory mentoring with an experienced coach.
•    The new Level 1 structure titled "Learn to Row" is for candidates with minimal knowledge of rowing such as teachers, fitness instructors, friends, parents, etc. If you have college or club rowing experience or have coached for a year then you can bypass Level 1 and go straight to Level 2.  Level 3 is designed for head high school / club / college and pre-elite level coaches.

3.  The Learning Process

The first part of the course features “face-to-face” activities, followed by an exam. The coaches will learn through:  
•    Reading the material in the manual and the required books, articles and papers prior to the course.
•    Watching suggested videos prior to the course.
•    Participating in discussions and practical activities in the classroom, such as teaching correct posture, teaching rowing technique on the erg or rowing tank, rigging, etc.

Following the clinic, the coach will work with a mentor for a set number of hours. This will include observations and discussions about technique, workouts, safety and other aspects of coaching on the water.

4. Assessment Process

There will be an exam in the assessment process:
•    A theoretical exam will take place at the end of the course. The coaches will be checked against a list of competencies.

Once the coaches have successfully completed the exam and the safety certification requirements, they will be certified at the given level.

5. Mentoring Program for Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3.

Mandatory mentoring for each level of our certification system is the most important part of the new education program.

Mentoring and the evaluation of the practical part of the assessment should be done as follows:

•    Level 1 (minimum of 10 hours) mentoring can be done at the local club /college with the varsity coach.
•    Level 2 (minimum of 20 hours) mentoring should be done at a different club/college with an experienced, varsity coach.
•    Level 3 (minimum of 20 hours) mentoring should be done with an experienced varsity coach in the club, during a summer camp, or with the national team coaches during camps or at the training centers.

6. Overview of the USRowing Certification Levels

Level 1: Learn to Row Coach

•    This program is aimed at the beginner coach.
•    It is for candidates with no, or minimal, rowing background (teachers, parents, fitness instructors…) who will coach beginners of all ages.
•    The coaches will learn what is expected from them in terms of duties, responsibilities and ethics as coaches.
•    The course will teach coaches how to run safe practices and how to avoid accidents.
•    This course will provide coaches with the basic knowledge of the sport of rowing, teaching methods and the basics of the rowing technique.

•    Current USRowing Membership.
•    First Aid, CPR and Boating Safety Certifications.
•    Passing the USOC "Safe Sport" ethics online training.
•    Familiarity with the USRowing Safety video.
•    Familiarity with the Level 1 Manual.
•    Familiarity with the suggested reading and videos for this level.

•    Attending a one-day coaching clinic with theoretical exam completed on site.
•    10 hours of post-course practical coaching with the mentor in the club.   
Level 2: Performance Coach

•    This program is the “bread and butter” of the coaching program. It will train assistant coaches and head coaches on the college and high school levels.
•    It is intended for people that hold Level 1 certification or have one year as an assistant coach or for candidates with a minimum of four years of college/club rowing experience. If the candidate has any of those qualifications they may bypass Level 1 and attend the Level 2 clinic.
•    Level 2 candidates will know how to run a safe and well-organized program.
•    They will have a good knowledge of rowing technique and how to teach it.
•    They will know how to rig boats, develop annual training programs and weekly programs for the different periods of the season.
•    They will have basic knowledge of physiology, training methods and testing.

•    Current USRowing membership.
•    First Aid, CPR and Boating Safety Certifications.
•    Passing the USOC "Safe Sport" ethics online training.
•    Knowledge of Level 1 online.
•    Familiarity with the Level 2 Manual (booklet and online).
•    Familiarity with the suggested reading and videos for this level.
•    Two-day coaching clinic, followed by an exam.
•    20 hours of post-course practical coaching with a mentor.

Level 3: High Performance Coach

•    This program will train head coaches on the high school and college level, as well as future national team coaches.
•    The coaches will get a wide range of technical knowledge of the different rowing styles, different problems and how to resolve them.
•    They will get extended knowledge of the different training methods.
•    This program will give coaches more knowledge of physiology and biomechanics and their practical applications (testing).

•    Must be Level 2 certified with a minimum of one year of coaching after certification.
•    Familiarity with the Level 3 Manual (online).
•    Familiarity with the suggested reading and suggested videos for this level.
•    Two-day coaching clinic, followed by an exam.
•    20 hours of post-course practical coaching with a mentor.
•    The designated Evaluator will conduct the final practical test, following the Assessment Guide.

First Aid/CPR- The Red Cross/National Federation of High School Associations First Aid, Health and Safety for Coaches, course is available online. The course was developed for coaches and other people working with athletes.  There are other first aid programs, and any taught by a credentialed instructor is good.  CPR is offered by many organizations and health professionals, any recognized program taught by a credentialed instructor is fine.


Boating Safety- Many states offer a boating safety course through the Department of Natural Resources or similar department and some are now requiring it. We recommend a one-day course for certification that is run by your state.  If that option is not available to you, please see the National Association Safe Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) listing of boating courses that they recognize.  NASBLA reviews course, many are internet based, and recognizes those that offer the best information for safe boating.  It is our goal to inform coaches about the safety issues in the general boating community. It is important that coaches recognize that when they step into a coaching launch that they are now part of the boating community and need to understand the rules and responsibilities of operating a motorboat.




Safe Sport - Developed by the USOC the Safe Sport program provides important training about the misconduct in sport and gives you actionable information to better protect athletes.




For more information about the USRowing Coaching Education Program, please contact Willie Black at or (317) 450 3229.

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