COACHING - TIM BULL

Started at the club in 1977 coxing the clubs only training crew. Very little coaching happened at the club. No ergos. No circuits. In the main people either played football or rugby over the Winter and rowed during the Summer. In the 80s things moved on. Regular training nights and our first two ergos were purchased. Up to 20 people running on a Monday and the introduction of circuits on a Wednesday at different venues. Elmers Court School, Walhampton School. The change of training at the club was a direct result of Colin Fagan joining the club. Colin brought his experience and expertise from Marlow Rowing Club.

My initial introduction in to coaching was with a couple of ladies’ novice crews who were not too interested in racing but did compete at couple of regattas. I gradually increased my experience through practice, reading, listening and watching others coach until I decided to enrol on the first of many coaching courses. I took on some adhoc crews with varying degrees of success. Learning from my mistakes. Over the next 10 years I tried to coach whilst also training and rowing.

I then put together a 6-week training program. A Learn to Row course sponsored by NFDC. We had 16 on each course, varying age groups and retained 75% of the first three courses. I used the expertise we had in the club to be able to supply lectures not only on rowing but also on nutrition, club structure, the Coastal season and venues and what is expected of a competitive rower.

In 2002 the club combined the two senior pairs from the head races to form a Senior four. I took on the coaching. The crew clicked and went on to win the H&D Senior Championships, but not without some impromptu restructuring during the season. There were several regattas where we knew that the crew would not all be available. At Bournemouth the stand in was a Russian gentleman who only appeared at the club several weeks before hand. We quickly registered him, and got him into the crew for some intensive training. They won. On another occasions at Newport,  I stepped in as the bow man and we still won. The crew suffered from a bad draw at the SCC at Dartmouth and came second climbing all over the back of the Bexhill crew down the last straight. An easy excuse but true.

The Learn to Row course created a 15 – 20 base of junior to coach. They competed fairly successfully at the local junior events. From this group a emerged a competitive four crew. After winning novice they then continued to row at Junior and Junior Senior and were runners up in both Hants and Dorset Championships. The Championships were lost 7-6 to a squad of 12 athletes from Christchurch. Any other year 6 wins would win a Championship. The crew disbanded when they went to University

The next squad came through quickly from novice with a win at Southsea having a stroke only 13 years old and rest of the crew 15/16 years, only proving that technique wins over brut force in rough conditions. Unfortunately, training was initially disjointed due to commitments but even so they were able to win the Open Junior section at the South Coast Championships at Bideford. The following year they competed at Junior achieving 5 wins but still finishing runners up to a good Ryde crew. At Junior Senior they were up against the same crew and were 2nd to them at every regatta except for Southsea where they beat them. All there loses were within a length. They eventually managed to get a good run of 4 weeks training into the South Coast Championships at Swanage. They beat the Ryde crew but finished 2nd to a Herne Bay crew. Two from the Herne Bay crew went on to be part of the National squad.

Crews take time to develop and gel and none more so than with pair rowing. Whilst fitness and strength can be achieved by training, skill, balance and understanding between a crew in a pair takes time to develop.

No surprise that then that it took a whole season developing this and learning the intricacies of each course with the frustration of coming second every week before all were mastered. The following season these traits produced, ten wins on the bounce and remained unbeaten all season to secure the Ladies Junior pairs championship.

A change of crew for the next season meant a rebuilding of a partnership. With less preparation and now at a higher status with quality opposition the game plan had to change. Different race plan, different training, different mindset. Whilst not unbeaten the crew secured enough wins (5) to be crowned Ladies Senior pairs Champions.

The last couple of years have been around coaching sculling. A new challenge for myself and the sculler. In the first season, the two wins were secured to move up to Junior, with the end of the season being put to good use to gain experience. The next season at Junior scull ended up being a head to head between two scullers. Unfortunately, the club dipped out on winning the Championship. The positives to be taken should be that our sculler was the only to beat the Championship winning sculler. The question needs to by what did do differently on the days that we won?

Outside of coaching for the coastal season I have also been involved over a long period of coaching our regional team to compete at the Junior Inter-Regional Rowing championships at Holme Pierrepont. Our club have supplied full crews and have also been part of composite crews. In the past there has been training weekends where the 30 athletes involved where brought together to train.

I am one of the four coach eductors in the Wessex and SE region who are called upon by British Rowing to organise and run Coaching Awards in the area.

I also row!


In Summary:

  • 1990 ARA New training Methodology – Penny Chuter Principle National Coach
  • 1999 ARA Level 2 Instructors Award _ Tutored by
  • Level 3 course started 15.09.2007 - Tutored by Chantelle Hanley Completed 10/08/2010.        First pilot scheme ever run in the Wessex hence quite disjointed. 13 people started the course but only 4 completed.
    • Content included
    • Strength & Conditioning
    • Rigging
    • Bench marking
    • Annual Planning and progressive development
    • Record of 6 weeks crew training, results and development
    • Physiology
    • Phycology of racing. Imagery
    • And a lot more….
  • 2008 Equity in Coaching
  • 2013 High Quality Land Training
  • Level 3 Certificate in Tutoring in Sport (Coach Educator) Course run
  • 2011 Strong trunk seminars
  • Bi Annual National Coach educators’ conferences


© Copyright Lymington Rowing Club