Rowing Activities & Drills for Kids

rowing for kids

Rowing is a great sport for kids. Requiring both stamina and refined motor skills, rowing is excellent for building all-around athleticism.

Rowing as part of a crew team offers kids the opportunity to work as a team. Kids who row can gain confidence, build relationships with teammates and coaches, get consistently great exercise, and develop the values that make up a great team player!

Think your kids might enjoy crew? Here are a few rowing drills and activities to gauge their interest:

Activities for High Energy Children: Does your kid have trouble sitting still? Mom.me’s Malina Saval put rowing on her list of activities for high-energy kids. An inflatable boat, a couple of oars or paddles from the water toys section of your local store pool, pond or stream are all they really need to get started.

Learn to Row: This magazine-style resource from worldrowing.com covers all the basic how-tos plus information on coastal rowing, indoor rowing, para-rowing, and tour rowing.

Learning the stroke — and correct rowing posture — on an indoor machine is a great way for beginners to get started. Rowers should sit with their lower backs straight, and rock their arms and body with no slide, and straighten their arms before the body rocks over. Once rowers get comfortable with proper form, they can then shift focus to technique.

Beginner tip: Rowing technique is something even experts are always working on, so make sure to let your beginning rower know that lots of practice is the only way to get better. This article from Rowing News offers useful tips for how to help beginners get up to speed.

Best Rowing Drills: Two drills rowers can do without a coach are feet-out rowing and square-blade rowing. Feet-out rowing focuses on improving the timing of the oar’s blade leaving the water, while keeping the rower’s body weight behind the oar handles. Square-blade rowing helps beginners learn how to dip the oar blade into and out of the water smoothly while using their lower body weight and knees to keep the boat hull stable. Both drills are described here in this article.

For additional activities, NCAA rowing champion Kevin Sauer breaks down six useful rowing drills for kids in this video — including the all-important ‘hydroplaning’ drill, which will teach kids the fundaments of timing and hand placement.