2019 Fall Crew Tryouts Info

Westford Academy Crew is holding an open tryout period for students from Westford and the surrounding communities interested in rowing competitively this fall. Students must be in 8th-12th grade, in good academic standing, and able to attend daily practices Monday - Saturday as well as weekend regattas. We practice Mon-Fri from 3:30-6pm and Sat 8:30-10am. See our Facebook (Westford Academy Crew) for our 2019 regatta schedule.

Tryouts will begin Thursday, August 22nd at 3:30 pm at the Millworks in Westford and will last one week. Athletes should bring athletic clothes, running sneakers, and a reusable water bottle. Please do not bring plastic water bottles to practice. Coxswains should have these things as well as a notebook and writing utensil. Coaches will be selecting rowers and coxswains for the men’s and women’s, novice and varsity teams (see below for definitions of these roles).

What are the coaches looking for during tryouts?

Tryouts will take into account all of the aspects that allow an athlete to be successful. Attributes the coaches will consider (in both rowers and coxswains) include:

  • Attendance and preparedness 

  • Work-ethic

  • Coachability

  • Sportsmanship

  • Leadership

  • Team-player mentality

  • Positive “I can do it”, “I will try it” attitude

  • Competitiveness

  • Toughness/grit and resilience

  • Technical ability

  • Fitness level and size to strength ratio

For the rowers, coaches will (among other things) look at the results of physical fitness challenges (situps, pushups, pullups, squats/squat jumps, running), a 1 minute watts erg piece, and a rate-capped 5000-6000m erg piece. Coxswains will be assessed on their ability to direct warmups and technical drills, their organizational skills, and the ability to take initiative, ask questions, and learn from mistakes.

What do I need to do in order to tryout?

Each of the four items from the registration page are required before the first day of tryouts. Please note the registration deadlines so we can have the best possible opportunity to plan for how many athletes we will have this season. Athletes who do not have the four items complete must still come to tryouts as planned but will only be allowed to watch, per the rules of WA.

How can I prepare for tryouts?

The best thing to do is to get into shape... or get into better shape by the start of the season. Varsity and returning novices should be comfortable rowing at least two, 20 minute erg pieces (at ~2k + 20” pace). We also recommend that both returning and rising varsity complete at least two 5000m erg piece on their own before tryouts. If you have questions about how you should approach this after a summer away from rowing, please reach out to Coach Julie. Other cardiovascular-based exercise (running, swimming, biking), as well as body weight exercises (pushups, squat jumps, or sit-ups), will help you prepare. Do what makes you athletic and start doing it today!

Why does WA Crew do a tryout period?

We understand that rowing is a challenging sport with a big time commitment and a lot of unknowns for students who have never tried it. We want to give all students (novice and varsity) the chance to come see what we’re about and be able to determine if we are a good fit for them and, likewise, if they are a good fit for us! 

With only three weeks until our first race and two months until our season’s championship regatta, it is important for our team to be able to hit the ground running each season. Our coaching staff strongly believes that seats in the boat are earned and not given, so what better way to start off the season than with earning our seats on the team! Tryouts are a great way for us to see what our experienced athletes have been up to in the off-season and gauge their physical and mental preparedness for a high-intensity season. They also provide a good conversation starting point if coaches feel that athletes might struggle to keep up or need extra support in the season.

Athletes who miss the tryout period will only be accepted on a case-by-case basis as determined by the coaching staff. If athletes they will be unable to participate in part or all of the tryout period, they should contact the coach in advance.

Important note about coxswains:

WA Crew is actively recruiting both rowers AND coxswains for the upcoming season! Coxswains are the individuals in charge of steering the boats, executing the race plan, and coaching the rowers down the race course (think of a jockey in horse racing). They are small in stature but large in personality! Both novice and varsity require a strong group of coxswains to be the leaders of the boats and to guide our crews to victory. There are no gender-specific rules regarding coxswains, so coxswains will have the opportunity to develop their leadership skills with multiple boats throughout the year. 

Like rowing, athletes who want to try coxing do not require any specific experience. Many younger athletes start as coxswains (or doing both roles) but transition into rowing more as they grow. Any individuals under 130 pounds are encouraged to try out as a coxswain or consider learning both roles to enhance their skill set. It is a great way to be a part of our sport in a unique and specific role meant for your size.

I am new to rowing, do I need any experience?

Absolutely none! We want athletes who are interested in working hard and being part of a tightly-knit competitive team. If you’ve never rowed before, DO NOT WORRY. Everyone will be taught how to row on the indoor rowing ergometer with lots of instruction and feedback from the coaches before going out on the water. You’ll notice that most of the things in the list of attributes coaches look for do not have to do with knowing how to row. There is plenty you can bring to the team already-- come prepared to show us!

If you have any additional questions, please email Head Coach Julie at coachjuliewarren@gmail.com