Rowing Strength & Conditioning ProgramOverview

Sparks Rowing Training Camp

Education and Ownership

The goal of this program is to educate rowers on rowing specific physiology and strength training. Focus is placed on allowing athletes to take ownership of their strengths and weaknesses in order to help them create an individual training plan to excel.

There is no on-water component -- yes, that’s right.

To elaborate, the use of the word “camp” here is questionable. While it is a course that is meant to be fun and educational, it requires higher levels of maturity and ambition than the average “summer rowing camp.” Athletes leave with an individualized rowing training program geared to enable them to take ownership of their personal training goals.┬áProgram goals are to:

  • Enable athletes greater understanding, efficiency, and responsibility in their training
  • Empower serious athletes who don’t have the time or resources to attend longer summer rowing development camps
  • Develop the rowing community via educating athletes on training physiology and the above

Intensity and Focus

Athletes should come with an expectation to train both physically and mentally. Classroom education is followed by implementing knowledge during twice daily workouts.

The program also doesn’t end when camp ends (and doesn’t necessarily start when camp begins). Program staff will be available via e-mail before and after the program to consult with on training programs and utilizing resources in athletes’ home environments as best possible.

Training Methodology

Athletes will perform various tests to gain an idea of their weaknesses and strong suits. They will learn about the physiological processes specific to developing their weaknesses. The program will integrate mental and flexibility exercises such as yoga with strength training to give athletes a comprehensive experience in terms of rowing training physiology. Strength makes the aerobic and anaerobic processes more efficient and enables athletes who have hit a wall to overcome it while enabling a faster development curve in others.

Our staff is very qualified. Patrick Rufo has enough certifications to take the space of this page. Nick Goode is one of a handful of people in the world with an academic background in rowing physiology who also possesses coaching experience on the junior and collegiate levels. But we’ve found that delivery of information is just as important as the information being delivered. Therefore, it’s important to say we care about quality of education and have put work into making the program engaging.

Many in the US rowing community will grimly admit the gaps in agreement on issues of physiology, sport science, and athlete development. Sparks exists largely thanks to a view that there are many different opinions on these issues and helps families on our counseling side find the best “fit” for their athletes. It is not our intention to endorse one school of thought or another at this program -- instead, we aim to teach athletes that such dogmatic thinking actually hinders development in and of itself. Adaptation of the basic principles will carry students a long way!

Goals and Recruiting

Work at camp will be primarily focused on training athletes on rowing specific strength and conditioning, however given our experience in rowing specific college counseling we’re also happy to prepare athletes to handle the recruiting process efficiently and effectively via thinking through how to choose schools that may be a fit with their physiological talent set, how to approach and communicate effectively with coaches, and most importantly how to evaluate their own development such that they might estimate whether they will be within recruitable range for the schools they chose to focus on in their college search.