Rowing Strength & Conditioning Program

Sparks Rowing Training Camp

This summer rowing camp is aimed at ambitious athletes with the goal of educating them on rowing-specific strength and conditioning.

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 their goals for the rest of the summer.┬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

This is different from our five day rowing camps in Connecticut and Seattle. 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 with 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’ specific environments as best possible.

It’s Elementary, Watson

This camp’s specific physiological focus is strength training for the rowing athlete. 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. As such, strength is a foundational block for aerobic and anaerobic training and students will leave with a detailed understanding of how aerobic capacity, anaerobic capacity, and strength play into one another in their own training.

Our staff is very qualified. Patrick Rufo has enough certifications to take the space of this page. But we’ve found that delivery of information is just as (if not unfortunately more so) 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!

College Counseling and the IDR College Expo

Many who attend our camp system are exposed to some degree of recruiting advising thanks to our staff and primary business in college counseling for rowing athletes. We chose the dates for this program (and partially the location) given the ability to send athletes and their parents to the Independence Day Regatta’s college expo at the conclusion of camp on Saturday, July 4. This event has gained steam over the years, and students will be able to speak with admissions representatives and for those eligible, college coaches.

Work at camp will be primarily focused on training athletes on rowing specific strength and conditioning, however we will also prepare athletes to handle the college expo and beyond efficiently and effectively in the meantime via thinking through how to choose schools that may be a fit, 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.