Small Boat Rowing - from Volker Nolte and the South African Coaches Newsletter

I recently came upon the newsletter of the Association of Rowing Coaches, South Africa - which has published only a few electronic editions. They have included some reprints from other sources that make for interesting reading. The March edition includes an article by Volker Nolte. I am not sure if this one is a reprint or an original - but it makes for interesting reading at any rate. The Canadian National Team - and many others - have emphasize the use of small boat training for years. This summary of the reasons by Volker Nolte is inteteresting.

It caught my eye as I respect Volker a great deal - and for the fact that it includes points on two topics covered by this blog - psychology and physiology. I expect that many people would be familiar with the technique argument - though I'm sure not everyone actually agrees with it - but not many people would point to physiology or psychology when naming reasons for training in a pair.

I include a few excerpts here to whet your appetite:


The most persuasive answer to this question is: It is the ONLY way to make the Canadian National Team! The whole selection procedure is based on small boats....

It is certainly the FAIREST way to select, because the result of the selection is depending on one's individual performance. You cannot hide in a single or a pair.

It is PHYSIOLOGICALLY the best training method for the individual athlete. It is known that each person develops the best when training at an individual intensity level. The better rowers can go at a faster speed, so they can improve, while the development athletes can row at their speed without experiencing overloading. This would be impossible for example in an eight, where everyone has to row at the same speed.

Small boat training is also the BEST TECHNIQUE TRAINING.

In addition, small boat training provides many PSYCHOLOGICAL ADVANTAGES. Rowers learn to be only dependent on their own performance. Consequently, they learn confidence in their own abilities. The individual performance is for every single stroke on the line.


Sure there are! This is why we still have to work on getting even more athletes and clubs hooked on to the small boat philosophy....

What are your thoughts? Join in with a comment.