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Junior Crew

Marin Junior Crew is not a part of any one high school. The organization recruits athletes from all the high schools in the County and the athletes row and race for Marin. We are always looking for great young athletes to join us in our competitive pursuits.

The mission of the Juniors Program is to continue the legacy of developing highly skilled and competitive rowers, particularly the youth, through community education and training in the art of rowing.

We offer both recreational and competitive sculling and rowing for ages 13-18. Our recreational rowing programs are run in the summer months through sculling lessons and learn-to-row camps and our competitive program runs from September-May each year. Please note that our competitive team requires try-outs.

How to Join

Youth Sculling Program

Sculling is learning to row in a single shell with two oars. We offer individual, followed by group lessons throughout the school year. Participants must be at least 12 years old and in 7th grade. Once your athlete learns to scull, he or she can join in with our youth group lessons on the weekends. Groups lessons are prorated and have a lower price.

 

One-Week Summer Camps

Boys and girls age 11-18 are invited to register for various summer camp sessions. Enrollment for all sessions is limited and no experience is necessary.

See our Summer Rowing Camps page for more information.

Competitive Sweep Team Information

Sweep rowing is learning to row with one oar and a team. This rowing is done in the bigger boats like the fours and eights.

We focus on teaching competition, leadership, sportsmanship and compassion and in turn look for those qualities to quickly emerge from our athletes.

How many teams are there? We have 4 teams: Novice Boys, Novice Girls, Varsity Boys and Varsity Girls. A Novice rower is anyone in their first year of rowing. All subsequent years they are on the varsity team, but try-outs occur each year. Athletes must be at least 13 years old and entering 8th grade or higher to try-out for the novice team. Within each team we have lightweight rowers that can row in a lightweight category. Lightweight is 130 pounds for girls and 160 pounds for boys. We aslo look for coxswains, who are a very important part of the crew. Coxswains are up to 113 pounds for girls and 120 pounds for boys.

How many athletes will make each team? The Varsity coaches may take up to 36 on each team, and the Novice coaches may take up to 27. NOTE: We allow athletes to play a competitive Fall sport, which means that we will leave spots open for athletes at the end of the season.

Why must we make selections? Unfortunately, we must restrict the size of our program due to the narrow size of our waterway and an athlete numbers cap by the City of Larkspur. We run 4 teams after school and only so many boats can safely be on the water at the same time. In addition, we embrace quality in our coaching and can do so when we maintain a manageable number of athletes.

Can I play another sport? We allow athletes to play a Fall sport for their high school sports team. If you plan on playing a Fall sport, please contact the coach prior to try-outs to let them know of your intentions to come to the team at a later date. Athletes need to come to rowing immediately following the conclusion of their Fall season.

What are the coaches looking for during try-outs? Body construction, size to strength ratio, leadership, technical ability, coach-ability, competitiveness, positive “I can do it”, “I will try it” attitude, confidence, sportsmanship, team player mentality and general athletic potential.

How will we look for these traits? To help you to understand the ways that the coaches select athletes and how individuals are selected for boats please read about the following criteria that we use to make our decisions. We use all of this information to make our decisions; we don’t boat just because you have a great erg score, or just because you won a seat race, or just because you have great attitude. You need to be good at everything, yes stronger at some things than others, but you have to have it all. A great erg score and bad attitude won’t get you what you want. A great erg and a great attitude and bad technique won’t get you what you want. It’s everything put together, so work on your weaknesses and you’ll be on your way. Selection takes time and is ever changing as athletes improve or stop improving over the course of the year. No decision is final until hands-on!

1. Erg testing/CrossFit. Erg tests and CrossFit show fitness levels, power watt output and mental resolve. Every rower on the planet has, at one time or another said, “I row harder on the water, I just can’t do it on the erg”. Well, yes you can and you will have to! In the Fall, which is our long head race season, the coaches will test athlete fitness in 4k, 5k, or 6k pieces, the range of duration of these pieces is from 15’-24’, in the sprint season we test 2k, the duration being 6:10-8:30. A great score for the heavyweight boys is 6:15, for the girls 7:15 but quite simply progress is the name of the game. We don’t care where you start; just keep improving as the training continues. We recognize that some people don’t erg test well and some do, this is why we don’t boat only by erg score. CrossFit will simply make you stronger but at the same time can show us your basic strength.

2. Seat Racing. Seat racing is testing an athlete’s boat moving abilities. We seat race in 4+’s, switching seats and racing 2 boats side by side. If you ‘win’ your seat race it means that the boat you were moved into went faster than it did with the previous rower. Seat racing is helpful but also has a lot of factors that can get in the way of it being fair, particularly for us on a tidal and windy waterway. Coaches will seat race when we have a question about an athlete’s abilities and the conditions are right. Typically, the school breaks are great opportunities to seat race as the water in the morning is typically better than the afternoon. It is quite rare that we allow athletes to ‘challenge’ someone else. We do not have time to run a seat racing matrix where everyone races everyone, nor is it necessary. The coaching staff has enough experience to know when to use it and an experienced eye can watch for boat moving abilities through the rower’s blade work. We recognize that some people don’t seat race well and some do, this is why we don’t boat only by seat racing results.

3. Technique. Similar to golf, technique is important in rowing in order to be effective. Coaches and athletes spend hours logging miles and doing drills simply to make you a better technical rower. Good technique and pulling hard are separate skills. We certainly hope to see some improvement in technique as we spend so much time coaching for that specifically, and it is rare that we will just look the other way and allow ‘pulling hard’ to take over. If a rower is not responding or improving, eventually we will move on to those that are and selections will be made from that experience. We have an outstanding teaching facility with tools and mirrors that give you immediate feedback and as long as you understand what you are looking at you do not need a coach to practice and improve. Everybody selected to the top boats must row well, so though you will not make a boat only due to good rowing, you may well lose your seat if you don’t row well enough.

4. Work Ethic, Attitude, and Competitiveness. Coaches look for drive, effort, intensity, desire, and humility. We want you to be a team player, to support, encourage and push your teammates. We want you to react well to difficult situations and work with your team to resolve them. We do not do drama and will not allow the team to be affected by individual issues. We want you to try hard, to work hard and to improve a little bit every day. We want you to love to race, to love to compete and to embrace sportsmanship in doing so. We expect these traits to emerge from everyone and it will affect your boat placement in time.

Support Your Athlete and Coach

Try-outs are an exciting, yet stressful, time for parents, coaches and student-athletes. It’s a time of great hope and of great disappointment. This is the time that the coaches get to see the athletes who might make up their teams. There are many different personalities and skill levels, so it is important to show your best side and really put yourself out there. You might know you are a great athlete and perfect for the team, but we can’t see that unless you show it during try-outs. Our goal is to make this a respectful, positive and honest experience. Honesty can be hard to take sometimes, but it is the best way for us to handle this experience. What parents can do to support their student-athlete through this experience:

Be honest. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. This is an opportunity to teach them how to improve on their weaknesses while succeeding at their strengths. Try to help them realize that just counting on their strengths and turning their back on the weaknesses won’t help them be better.Share your sports experience with them. Have you been through this process?

Remind them that coaches respond to athletes who are present, attentive and participating. It shows that they are eager to learn.

Stress the fun parts. “Just go out and have fun and show them what you can do”.

Offer encouragement when it is hard; help them feel good about themselves.

Let them know that no one thing is going to put them on the team, and no one thing will take them off the team.

Support your son/daughter, but also support the coach. We will be honest about what we see. Please talk to the coach in a friendly way when asking what he/she is thinking, and why she/he has made a decision. We don’t play favorites, but we are looking for a team that will be successful.

Talk with your son/daughter about being an athlete. What are their strengths? What are their weaknesses? What qualities does an athlete bring to a team?

We can make your son/daughter a stronger, fitter, better technical rower, but we can’t make him/her want it. We are looking for athletes who are team players and understand that the team comes first. This is a demanding, yet highly rewarding, sport and the athletes won’t enjoy it without the passion to want to be their best.

Working with the Coach

The coaching staff at Marin has many years of experience; between the two head coaches there is over 30 years of experience. They share 14 National medals, 5 National titles and many regional titles and race wins. They have your student-athlete’s best interests at heart and while the team’s ultimate goal is to find success at the regattas, we do not place that above a positive team experience. It is important that if you ever have a question or concern that you go directly to the coach so that you can get the correct information.

In addition, you often have information about your athlete that will help the coaches help your athlete so please feel free to share it! We do have time to talk to you and we do like to explain what is going on with your athlete. We will be honest and forthright with you and any communication that we have will not impact your athlete in a negative way. Educating yourself about what is going on is the most important way you can support both your athlete and the coach.

This is a sport of great highs and lows and each of these feelings are important to the overall experience and education process. We will be consistent in our message and will always make decisions based on boat speed, not on individuals. It is important for you to know this so that the concerns of favorites, seniority, or drama do not come into play.

This will be one of the best life learning experiences that your student-athlete can have.

Cost

$3600 for the 2016-2017 season. Cost is all inclusive and includes coaching and staffing salaries, operations (facility and equipment costs, race day food, race entry fees, trailering), new equipment purchase and all parent social events.

Travel and uniform costs are not included in the above fee and are charged per regatta at the time of the regatta.

Scholarship Information

The Roger Barbey and Richard Draeger Junior Scholarship fund is able to offer scholarships to those in need through. Any scholarship money awarded will be used to cover operational dues and fees, but is not applied to additional travel expenses. A parent requesting financial assistance must fill out a Financial Aid Application and send a letter outlining the request.

The application, letter and financial information should be sent to:

MRA Treasurer
50 Drakes Landing Rd.
Greenbrae, CA 94904

Parent Booster Club & Volunteer Requirements

The Booster Club is integral to the success of the junior program and handles volunteer functions including team coordination, transportation to regattas, hosting pre-race dinners at family homes, manning the food tent at regattas, organizing social functions and fundraising. Your volunteer efforts are needed to support the athletes in their pursuits. You will be contacted by a team coordinator to sign-up and help out!  Thank you!

Annual Ergathon, Auction & eScrip

Ergathon. Our Annual Ergathon raises money for equipment purchases for the junior program. All junior rowers solicit extended family members, friends, MRA adult members and neighbors for donations in support of a 24-hour “row” on an ergometer. Each rower/family is asked to generate a minimum of $350 in incremental funds. This event is held at the Bon Air Shopping Center and all junior team members work together to row as many meters as possible during the 24-hour period. We ask athletes to write at least 10 letters to family and friends asking for support.

Annual Campaign. Our ‘Annual’ Fundraiser will take place in late May and is our annual fundraising campaign to support our Jr. Scholarship and Endowment Funds for the continued financial stability of the MRA.

eScrip. In addition to these fundraisers, please consider signing up for eScrip at www.escrip.com and add Marin Rowing Assn. Juniors Boosters to your already established groups. This is an easy way to help the MRA generate funds to  support the junior program! Our group ID# is 3492425.