Rocking the boat

Why rowing isn’t just about physical strength

Even though we have been rowing for less than a year, it is already clear to us that it is not just a sport; it is a lifestyle. Rowing has improved our mental, physical and relationship skills in a way unique to the sport.

One of the most important features of rowing is the team spirit; individual successes and failures are shared across the whole team. You are no longer an individual who represents yourself; you represent your entire boat. Your mistakes are their mistakes and their mistakes are yours.

When in the boat, each stroke is shared between all the rowers; the boat moves as one and the boat feels as one. Everyone is an important part of the boat, and each person has their own individual role, which combine to make a crew. For a crew to be successful, the rhythm must be felt by all and the harmony must be present throughout. Blisters, finger-numbingly cold weather, squelching boots, strong currents, and torrential rain are all examples of obstacles that crews overcome together. This connection allows for greater results and more intimate friendships. 

When rowing on the Thames, you feel as though you’re in an exclusive part of London, with a private and beautiful view of the city.  The ability to leave such an urban place in the middle of the week and experience something so secluded is indescribable. 

Learning not to blame one another and to be part of a team is a useful skill which rowing provides an opportunity to develop. This will be useful in countless possible future professions; it helps us to develop more of a sense of unity and allows us to view training in a less competitive way. 

Rowing is a sport that is very challenging physically but, more times than not, your mental ability is challenged more than your physical ability. Every training session is exhausting, and the most difficult part of each session is pushing yourself further, past the point where giving up seems like the only option. To be able to improve at all, it is important that you’re able to continue motivating yourself, and that you have a desire to carry on.

In this way, rowing improves your cognitive abilities, teahcing us to maintain motivation in the face of difficulty, as well as improving our concentration. In this way rowing has helped us gain a healthier outlook on life, with a more inspiring approach to overcoming obstacles. As a result, it’s undeniably just as much about mental strength as it is physical strength.

Eliza and Arabella  V