SAFETY IS OUR TOP PRIORITY.
Following these safety guideline will help ensure for a safe operation. The Head Coach has final authority on Safety related matters. However, if ANY coach is uncomfortable with a situation, a more conservative approach should be taken.
1- Weather: always check the forecast. Even though it may look “nice”, storms can pop up quickly. Please read the “What If” Weather Scenario at the bottom of this page as a guild to help select the correct location and type of practice. There are many great weather App that you can take conditions. Weather Channel App: Has forecast winds, as well as a forecast radar tracker. Following a heavy rainfall, the Beach St. water level can raise a fair amount. If water is either over the ramp/dam (15.5’ ish) it is not recommended for novices to row or to row in the dark. With the dock being moved to west of Beach St, rowing can continue if the Water Level is <17’ and the Current is <1,500 CFPS (cubic feet per second). MCL would be the better option. Here is the water data for Beach St. https://waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis/uv?08048543
2- Winds: High winds can produce waves and make docking difficult, especially in 1X. Beach St. is more protected the Marine Creek Lake. Wind direction is also an important factor. Coaches will make the call if it’s safe to row and specifically where rowing will take place.
Wind parameter: MCL: Maximum Winds are 15mph. Beach St.: Maximum Winds are 20mph. The wind values include the gust factor. These winds are for crew boats. 1X winds should be reduced by 5mph and even more depending on experience of rower.
3- Safety Officer, must be present at every practice. When out on the water, alway use the buddy system and never, row off on your own. Basic “Learn to Row” training must be focused on Safety first. Brief new rowers on safety protocols, getting out of a flipped boat and staying with the boat. Make sure the coach boat has required # of life jackets and mention the location of the first aid kit in the Boathouse/Container. Coach or coxswain should have quick access to a cell phone and know exact address if 911 emergency services are required.
4- Ditching and Life Jackets: All rowers who have not done Flip Training and are not yet 1X Certified shall wear a life jacket when rowing a single. Ditching Training. The first water practice will include what to do in the unlikely even a crew boat flips (ditches). Rowers must always stay with the rowing shell which are designed to float and act as a life preserver.
5- Number/Level of Coaches required at water practices. A “Practice Coach” (described below) is required to be in attendance at all water practices. The number of qualified coaches required at each water practice is determined by the number/type of boats. Coach Ratio: need to have a “Boat/Crew Coach” for each large boat (4+, 8+) or for two smaller boats (2X, 1X). The “Buddy System” is also mandatory especially in 1Xs. All boats should stay in close proximity of at least, one other rowing crew or the Coach boat (with an Advanced Coach). An exception is when being coached from the dock and rower stays a safe distance and in view of the dock.
6- Dark Rowing: No students will row a 1X in the dark. If rowing a 1X they must be off the water 15 minutes after official sunset. Crew boat can row in the dark, however all boats will have the required boat lighting, if able the coach boat will be utilized. Crew/cox will be experienced and an “Advanced: FWRC coach” will be running the practice. There will not be any changing of crew seats on the water in the dark.
7- Traffic Pattern and Lookout. At Beach St keep your starboard side (green) closest to shore. Always take a look behind you before you start rowing and every 5 or 6 strokes, especially at Marines Creek Lake with so many fishing boats. Coxswains & bow-seats need to be mindful of watching for Swimmers along the east shore of MCL, especially on Saturday mornings.
8. Scheduling Water Practices: Each water practice must have the appropriate “level of coaches” as well as an adequate level of crew experience for the specific rowing location/boat. The “Practice Coordinators”: FWRC Lead M/W Coaches: (Sam/Ashley) as well as the Student M/W Coaches: (Luke/Avery), will create the water practice schedule, prior to the start of each rowing week (Ideally approved and posted by Saturday evening.).
Early posting of the water practice schedule will give Crew Captains time to ensure practice logistics and substituted are in place for the week. Practice Coordinator will:
- Deconflict TCU water practices with any FWRC & TRWD events and select the most appropriate practice location.
- Ensure the adequate Level of coaches (TCU & FWRC) are available for the crews rowing.
- Create a weekly master practice spread sheet (Water/ERG). Ensure that all water practices are placed on the appropriate “Group Me” location (Beach St or MCL) well in advance of the practice. This will give awareness to other crews that you will be out on the water and give “automatic” notice of a schedule change.
9. Scheduling Regatta Events: The Head Coach will provide the deadline for specific Regatta event selection, to be made based upon crew/cox availability. Shortly there after the actual boats lineups will be submitted by the Men/Women lead coaches. The final “agreed upon” Regatta Events, as well as the specific Crew lineups will then be sent out to the Team.
TCU Coaching Structure:
TCU utilizes the experience of the Fort Worth Rowing Club (FWRC) Coaches, who have decades of coaching experience. All water operations and coaching training is overseen by the “Head Coach”. TCU students are selected to become “Student Coaches” (one for head men and women) based on both their technical rowing knowledge/skills, as well as their maturity and sound decision making skills.
The “Practice Coordinators” are comprised of FWRC Lead Men & Women coaches, along with Student Head Men’s Coach & Student Head Women’s Coach. They will create the “water practice schedules”, with the required coaching number/levels, to ensure for a safe operation.
TCU has two level of coaches: 1- Boat/Crew & 2- Advanced.
1: Boat/Crew Coach: While still under the supervision of an “Advanced Coach”, the Boat/Crew Coach will be qualified to run the practice for a specific crew. They will be responsible for crew coordination/communication for practice, as well as responsible for crews safety and equipment care, both on and off water. They will also keep track of crews training progress and report it to the respective Coach. Students with a few semesters of rowing experience and a solid coaching foundation as a Boat/Crew Coach, can be recommended to take part in the “Advanced Coach” mentoring program. During this program the Coach will be responsible for all aspect of the entire water practice (all boats), while still under the supervision of a qualified Advance Coach.
2: Advanced “Water Practice” Coach: A fully qualified “Advanced Coach” can take out a Crew/Boat on their own and be responsible for all aspects of the water practice. Initially they will be assigned to a crew with an experienced Coxswain and Crew. As they gain experience, they will be cleared by the head coach to work with more Novice Crews.
As an Advanced Coach, you are responsible for all aspects of the practice. You must ensure that all the safety requirements listed above be strictly abided by. All FWRC Coaches are Qualified as Advance coaches. The following TCU Student Coaches are Advanced Coaches: Faith, Luke, Avery, Willie, Bella. (However, they are qualified to only run practices with advanced level rowers and will not run dark practices).
“Safety first will make you last”
As a Coach, no matter your coaching level, the safety of your rowers always overrides all other factors.
US Rowing Certification: all coaches are encouraged to do the US Rowing Level 1 Course. It is highly recommended that all Advanced Coaches obtain the US Rowing Certificate.
Level 2. Certificate.
Level 1: US Rowing Coaches Course: https://usrowing.org/sports/2020/11/9/level-1-course-description.aspx?id=1119
Additional Training Information.
Training Videos: https://www.fortworthrowing.org/training.html. (Use door Door Code)
Decent Rowing Log in: https://www.decentrowing.com
People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan:
“What If” Weather Scenario:
Plan for “WHAT IF” contingencies and have an adaptation plan for you practice. Below is a typical plan for a practice, with examples of “adverse situations” that you may encounter. We laid out how to adapt your practice plan and still make the most it. Keeping the crews positive and motivated during these adverse situations is a key factor for your
Which Location: MCL or Beach St.?
– 8+ are only located at MCL (also currently at MCL is 4+, 4X, 1X), so you decide to row at MCL it make use of the 8+ and you have an experienced Cox with this novice crew. You have a great crew lineup, a list of exercises that you have already briefed the Cox on, and you will be coaching from the coach boat.
Check the weather?
– That morning you look at the weather and notice that the winds for the evening practice will be above 15MPH.
– So you correctly decide to move practice to Beach St. which is much more protected from the winds. You give everyone lots of notice about the change of plans and that they have rides. (Attention to detail is key).
– You arrive at Beach St with a new plan to use two 4+, with you now Coxing the second 4+ boat. You check the weather and the radar now shows that Thunderstorms (with lightning) are forming to the southwest and moving toward Fort Worth.
– You consider waiting out the storm, as it will pass fairly quickly, however you will run out of daylight, which rowing with this novice crew is not an option.
You correctly decide to move to an ERG Workout in shifts. You still get in a great workout and kept safety as a top priority!!!
Chances are that most days will go as plan. However, as an Advanced “Water Practice” Coach it’s your responsibility to make the safest choice. I encourage you all to attend as many practices as you can, ask lots of “what if” questions and become comfortable with making these important practice decisions.