Victoria Taylor, indoor rowing champion, writes about why indoor rowing works for her.
This article was originally published on FM Rowing.
My introduction to indoor rowing was random in the sense that I never had any exposure to rowing as a sport until rowing machine intervals formed part of a programme I did at the gym with a PT I was training with. He happened to comment that I was “naturally good” at rowing, something which is a bit of a novelty for someone of my height, as with many of the sports/fitness ventures I enjoyed it was usually a disadvantage! He suggested I take it a bit more seriously and check out a few online groups centred around indoor rowing. I posted my first 2k attempt on Facebook and almost immediately had a number of teams messaging me about the option of joining, willing to assist with my training and motivation. A month later I was part of a team and I’d entered the British Rowing Indoor Championships which despite going against my predisposed self-conscious nature, was actually the start of what has so far turned out to be a fairly successful indoor rowing career.
Indoor rowing is the perfect tool for improving both my physical and mental strength. It teaches me to focus, tolerate and challenge doubts, which in turn helps me build self-confidence and competence, whilst also de-stressing. On many occasions the physical gains have been of secondary importance to me. Like an added bonus rather than the main focus. I will however admit that I like the feeling of being ‘strong’ and rowing definitely enhances that. I’ve also found that as someone with a busy work and family life, it is one of the most time efficient forms of training I have ever come across!
I’ve met plenty of female indoor rowers during my time involved with the community. Their backgrounds are incredibly varied, as are their goals. I’m always keen to encourage greater female participation in the sport and particularly at indoor rowing events. In my experience women are more reluctant to attend events and participate competitively in the online challenges available. With a bit of direction, encouragement and team support however, they demonstrate a great capacity to confront any insecurities and develop a real passion for all things indoor row. There’s a real sense of being ‘in it together’. Whether it’s a speed or distance goal they might hold, they’re equally valid so regardless of gender, age or ability, everyone has a valuable contribution to make to the sport and the community that surrounds it. There are a lot of busy, hard working women, with family responsibilities, who are very dedicated to the sport.
I find people who demonstrate ‘strength in adversity’ and qualities such as determination and unwavering commitment inspiring. David Smith MBE (www.davidsmithmbe.co.uk) former Team GB athlete in Karate, Bobsleigh, Paralympic rowing and now cyclist has one of the most inspirational life stories I’ve ever come across. On a day to day basis, my coach at Fitness Matters Indoor Rowing, my team mates and the community inspire me to keep going, be better and step outside of my comfort zones.
The one piece of advice I would give to someone who wasn’t sure if they wanted to take part would be to go for it – the rewards outweigh any imagined risks and everyone inspires someone. This could be your thing! And you might be all someone else needs to see to be inspired to take the plunge themselves.
The next British Rowing Indoor Championships is taking place on Saturday, 10 December at the Lee Valley VeloPark. Entries are now open via indoorchamps.britishrowing.org.
George: I am extremely excited and thrilled to be in the Devon under 16s squad this year. It is a real achievement for me and something I have been looking to do for long time now. I feel that now I have a great opportunity to progress further with my rugby and to learn a lot from the variety of coaches within the setup. I cannot wait to get going and wear the county colours.
Gabriel: Playing for Devon u16s, for me is great. You get to play against teams that you wouldn’t have the chance to with your club. Devon u16s is also a very good standard of rugby so you make sure you rise to the occasion.
What are you most looking forward to?
George: I am definitely looking forward to getting onto the pitch and making my debut for the county. I really want to walk away and say that I have been lucky enough to represent my county at such a competitive sport.
Gabriel: Most of all im looking forward to developing my rugby skills and learning more from the coaches.
What are your long term career goals?
George: In the long term I hope to continue my rugby for as long as possible. My dream would be to become a professional, although if this is unachievable then I just want to play rugby at any level. All I want to do is play rugby and whatever level that is doesn’t concern me, although if I had the opportunity to play high level rugby then I would take it for sure.
Gabriel: The ultimate goal is to pull on an England Shirt!
Can you tell us a bit about your training regime?
George: My training regime is very broad and almost hectic. I attend the future performers sessions fortnightly, but I also do a training routine set up by the coaches at home. I also train every week with my rugby club, Newton abbot Rugby Football club. Also at school I am studying GCSE PE, so I have to complete a P.E.P within school. Therefore I am often working hard during the school week.
Gabriel: Always rest on a saturday, but my training regime depends on match days really.
How has “Future Performers” helped you train for this opportunity?
George: The Future Performers scheme has been a massive help for me. It has helped me become stronger, fitter and have more confidence. It has helped me become stronger in the upper body, but more importantly in the core. This has allowed me to play rugby at a much higher intensity. Also it has helped me become more confidence as now I know that I am strong enough to take on these high quality players.
Gabriel: Future Performers has improved me physically and without it, getting into Devon would have been a lot tougher.
Well done guys. If you want to go and support George and Gabriel, their next fixture is 28th October in Gloucester. More fixtures:
28th October In Gloucester
11th November In Devon