High school rowing is one of the most rewarding, team-focused things your child can participate in. The bonds formed on their team may last far beyond high school. It's also one of the most challenging things they can do which should help them become more disciplined, focused and organized as they get ready to embark on their journey to adulthood. Rowing crew competitively requires commitment and old fashioned hard work but the rewards are plentiful.
Our coaches are the ultimate resource for practice information and if you ever have a specific question, even if it's answered in general below, please don't hesitate to ask. Their contact information can be found in the "Coaches" section.
As a disclaimer, this is general information put together by me (Robert, President) based on my 6 years being involved with SORA. ALL final decisions are the discretion of the coaching staff any may from time-to-time differ from this information. Disclaimer made... here are the answers to some of the questions asked most often by families of new high school rowers about rowing practice
Q: We seem to practice a lot including Saturday morning. Is this necessary?
A: Yes, it's necessary if we want to compete against the teams we race against. If you look across the crew world you will see most teams practicing 6-7 days a week, usually year-round and that those morning practices on the weekend are crucial. Since our sport is so dependent on the conditioning of the rowers it's necessary that they train as often as possible. At the end of each season we do a survey to see how the previous season went. Each year we hear that being more competitive is something most of our rowers are looking for. This year we've taken a step towards that goal of being more competitive against our local rivals and beyond.
Q: What if my rower can't make every practice due to a schedule conflict?
A: Please communicate that to your coach and they can work with your family wherever possible. That said, with crew being the ultimate team sport, it's important for rowers to be at as many practices as they can. Leading into our Spring season/State Championships, attendance will be even more crucial as we settle into boat lineups practicing together for those big races. If one rower is out, the entire boat is unable to practice. It's up to the individual coaches to determine their policy where attendance is concerned so please have this conversation with them as soon as you become aware of a potential schedule conflict.
Q: What if my rower has a lot of homework or a big test the next day. Is it ok to skip practice?
A: School and academic performance is THE priority for student athletes at SORA. Our coaches understand the rigor of trying to balance crew with school work and if it's necessary to miss practice for academic reasons then they will fully support that. That said, our coaches will stress time management so that the rowers can structure their schedule to both excel in their academics AND their rowing. We've found that most rowers, even with the demanding schedule of crew often elect to have tough academic schedules and still manage to achieve very high GPAs.
Q: What if it's raining... really hard. Do we still practice?
A: Yes! The general rule is that unless it's truly unsafe to get to practice, our coaches will be on-site and ready to run practice rain, shine or storm. Safety is our #1 priority so the coaches will keep this in mind when making "plan b" plans for a rainy/stormy day but it is very possible to get a lot of good work in on rainy days so rowers should not use rain as a reason not to come. Also, due to carpool arrangements for many of our rowers, it's not possible to cancel practice at the last minute. IF we do feel the need to cancel practice based on current forecasts or observed weather at the park, we will sent out a text alert, post on Facebook and send email.
Q: What about days when school is out? Do we practice then too?
A: All OCPS (Orange County Public Schools) days off are on the SORA calendar you can subscribe to on this website. On those days we generally have practice though it may be in the morning. Your coach will communicate this to you and we will attempt to get word out via text what the practice schedule is for those days.
Q: I hear we train during Spring Break. Is this true?
A: Yes! This is another nearly universal thing in rowing. You'll even see many teams from up north traveling to Orlando over their Spring Break to train in our warm weather. Spring Break is THE primary kicking off point for the push for our State Championships. Each coach will build their training schedule and release it to their team as early as possible. We also have "Camp Crew" leading into Spring Break where the rowers all camp together (boys and girls with their own camp areas) at Moss Park. This is a great bonding experience and we highly encourage all high school rowers to attend.