Programming Ideas and Games
Students cheer on fellow classmates participating in an indoor rowing race at a local middle school.
The key to keeping kids motivated to row is to make it FUN and keep the kids busy! Use the ideas on this page, try out some of the games below, or create some of your own games. Several of these games were developed by two very enthusiastic middle school Physical Education teachers from New York. Try the games out with your students, or adjust the "rules" to better suit your class. Read the bios for Paul Buehler and Rebecca Lewis, and provide them with your feedback!
- Set attainable goals. Keep it fun. Indoor rowing may be a new activity for many students.
- Have kids keep a log of meters rowed online*, on paper, or on one of our rowing log posters. Paper logbooks and posters are free upon request. (* Note: We respect your child's right to online privacy. View our COPPA Statement to Parents and Guardians.)
- Add a variety of other exercises to the rowing workouts. Get other staff members involved.
- Invent your own indoor rowing challenges. Have a "challenge the teacher" workout.
- Get other kids involved that have not yet tried indoor rowing. Set up a relay where each child rows for 1–2 minutes with the goal of cumulatively rowing as many meters as possible in 10 or 15 minutes.
- Check out the Kids' Distance Clubs and Concept2 Challenges.
- Create home or family mini-challenges. Can your kids row half as many meters as you can over the next month? Another idea is to set a goal as a family for the summer and add everyone's meters together.
- Take time off when needed!
If you have more kids than indoor rowers, try rotating kids onto the indoor rowers by:
- Time: Divide your program time by the number of kids you have in the group. For example, if you have one hour, two indoor rowers and 15 children, then each child gets a max of eight minutes of rowing. With start-up and transition time, it may be more like seven minutes. Then decide if you want them to row seven minutes non-stop, or split it into two or three different sittings. Vary this from day to day.
- Number of Strokes: Allot rowing time by number of strokes. Set up a rowing order for each machine, then have kids row a certain number of strokes, then switch. Thirty strokes should take about a minute.
- Distance: Allot rowing time by distance. You might set any distance from 200 to 500 meters. Allotting by distance gives more time to the slower kids, because it takes them longer to cover the same distance.
- Speed: Have each child row for 30 seconds, or 100 meters, or 15 strokes, for example, then switch. Kids love this and it minimizes the down time for everyone! It is harder to keep track of how many meters each child rows, but the kids can help: assign kids to watch the performance monitor and record the number meters as each child gets on and off. You will then have some math practice later as you calculate how far each child rowed.
Keeping Everyone Busy
There are several activities you can do with the kids waiting to row:
- Record meters rowed in their logbook.
- Stretch and perform other exercises. Create a number of stations around the room (rowing, stretching, abdominal curls, jumping jacks, and so on). Label and number each station, then have the kids rotate whenever you call out.
- Plan a group "rowing" trip around a local body of water, or to a favorite destination. Make a map to post with distance increments, and have the kids mark their progress along the route. When not rowing, kids can work on planning the trip, creating the map, and marking the progress.
- Research the sport of rowing. How many different kinds of boats are raced in the Olympics? When was the first Olympics in which women rowed? What is a "head race" and how did it get that name? What is the difference between sweep rowing and sculling? Work on a presentation for the rest of the school.
If time and machine access is not an issue, then programming depends more on the individual student's goals, level of conditioning, and attention span. The key is striking the right balance between fun and challenging for each student. Some kids may have the capacity for longer, steady rows, but interval workouts may do a better job of keeping kids focused and interested.
Try the following games with your students, and feel free to adjust the games to better suit your needs. Let us know what you think by emailing your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Games developed by Concept2:
The following game was shared by Kevin Mathews, Department Chair of Health & Physical Education at Oviedo High School in Florida.
Games developed by Paul Buehler and Rebecca Lewis, middle school Physical Education teachers from Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School in New York:
The United Kingdom has a very successful school rowing program underway. Read more about it here: UK School Rowing.