Rowing’s football lessons

At first glance it may not be obvious what rowing may be able to learn from football. 

However, after a recent visit to St. George’s Park, Jane Hall, high performance coach at Leander Rowing Club and GB Rowing women’s youth coach, believes there are many aspects of the game that can be transferred to the water sport, most notably the importance of teamwork. 

“Rowing can learn a lot from football. There are many key areas to do with team environment and how they develop as a team that we can take into rowing. 

“In every sport nowadays we talk about how the margins needed to win a gold medal or a world cup are getting smaller and smaller, and so it could be one thing that you have never even thought about that you by chance learn by coming somewhere like this that could make the difference. 

“Even if you pick up one thing from a visit here, that could be one thing that adds value to your performance.”

Hall was speaking during a two-day visit to the National Football centre on behalf of Leander RC and GB Rowing, who hope to bring a group of their young rowers to the Burton-upon-Trent site for a winter training camp in the new year. 

Sports to have used St. George’s Park

  • England Rugby Union
  • England Rugby League
  • British Basketball
  • GB Hockey
  • British Judo
  • British Swimming
  • Leicestershire Cricket Club

Hall’s visit included a tour of the centre’s Perform sports rehabilitation facilities, the outdoor team leadership centre and a meeting with staff from Michael Johnson Performance to discuss “movement patterns, body awareness and basic ways of making women more efficient in their movements in the sport of rowing.”

There was also an opportunity to observe one of Mo Marley’s England U19s training sessions – something she was particularly excited by. 
“I was keen to observe the dynamics of training because I think the dynamics of how the women I coach and train can have a real bearing on performance. 

“It is inspiring to observe [other sports]. It opens your mind. Even if you pick up one thing, just one thing from your visit here, that could be one thing that adds value to your performance.” 
Hall explained that the St. George’s Park’s mix of elite performance development equipment with first-class on-site expertise had left her excited about the impact it could have on her young rowers’ ongoing development. 
“It is an incredible facility. Having this up-to-date equipment and people who are really knowledgeable all under one roof makes it a really worthwhile visit if we do come here because we are ticking many boxes in a condensed time,” she said.
Since opening back in October 2012, St. George’s Park has – along with all 24 England national teams and over 500 grassroots clubs – welcomed representative teams from across the sporting community in a bid to engender an open learning culture in which sports teams and participants can learn and benefit from.  
It was something that did not escape Hall’s attention, and something she is fully supportive of. 
“It’s great. We are all part of Great Britain so therefore we surely want as many of our sports to be the best they can be. Whether it is the most minority Olympic sport or arguably the most popular sport, such as football, we should want every sport to be the best it can be. 
“All the coaches, all the performance directors, all the managers, I think, should want to embrace learning from other sports. It is a very narrow minded coach who thinks they know it all and thinks they can’t learn from another sport.”