The latest from the middle school program

Great season ahead

Register now for summer camp sessions at this website. Or join us for our fall program!

Great season just past

The spring season of the middle school program just wrapped up. Fifty middle school kids in two sessions met twice a week for 6 weeks to learn the basics of sculling. We got some great rowing in!

Shout outs

Good parenting, parents. We enjoyed rowing with your kids.

See ya at the boathouse real soon!

– your spring session coaching staff
Paul Hoffman, Susie Klein, Will Danforth, Bill Harley, Helen Cliff


Advance planning

Fall and Spring Seasons
Wednesdays 4 to 6:15
Saturdays 8:15 to 10:15 and 10:30 to 12:30
Please keep the whole morning open for now. Athletes will be assigned to time and section to balance the attendance. We will make every effort to accommodate family schedules.



Archive of old email notes to parents from the spring season

Here’s an archive of old email messages to parents from the spring season. It’s here to browse in case you want to get a sense of the themes that tend to come up during the season.


Note to parents

Thank you, parents, for allowing your children to conclude practice with their teammates until they are dismissed by the coaching staff. Regular practice includes stowing boats, oars and launches.

Timing notice

Families will find that rowing is a different sort of sport from other land-based sports – it is generally difficult to add in a latecomer once boat lineups have been established for the session.

So, to be fair to the teammates who arrive on time, we will assign and launch boats based on who has checked in at check-in time. Check-in time is the five minutes before practice begins, with the possibility for adjusting for stragglers who arrive within the first five minutes of practice.

This means that if your child arrives later than five minutes late, you should be prepared to take your child directly home, as there will likely NOT be a seat for them that morning, and we have no spare capacity to oversee them on land.

If your family plans change, let us know that you won’t be able to attend a session.

MAY 9 2018

Greetings, middle school families –

A fine day today for some rowing. A ruffling wind of 10pmh, so we got a ton of strokes in.

Don’t be late
A core part of what WWRA is teaching your child is respect for the team. Step number one is showing up on time as a sign of respect for your teammates. Be sure to take a close look at the practice start times.

Many kids arrived ten to fifteen minutes after the posted start time. The kids who were there on time had to wait for the others before we could begin to determine boat lineups. That means that the team as a whole lost 15 minutes of precious water time.

Some people arrived even later. We boat kids based on who is here at check in. If kids are not here at check in, they don’t get into a boat, which is what happened today with a couple of kids.

Plan to check in BEFORE the posted practice start time. You can have a look at the typical practice schedule to get a sense of the timing.

Fun stuff
Check out the fun video on facebook of the Australia octuple doing a balance game.

(on facebook as wwra middle school rowing)

A huge shout-out to the varsity squads, who brought all our equipment down for us, and put away a lot for us as well.


on behalf of the middle school coaching staff

MAY 9 2018

[Here’s an email reply to some excellent questions from a parent regarding time spent on the water versus time spent waiting around.]

Dear [concerned parent] –

I do know that it must have been frustrating for some of the kids to have spent the time preparing to take out a boat and then not to go out in the boat. Let me respond to some of the themes you raise.

Speed of launching
In the early days of the season, the launching process is going to be slow going, particularly for the kids in Britain, as it takes a while just to figure out how to get into the boats. This was the second Saturday practice of the season. As the entire team gets faster at making their boats ready, the launch process becomes quicker.

Helping each other
Although we do try to minimize the time standing around, when we launch two octuples at a time, the kids from both boats have to be available to lift the other’s boat and place it in the water. So there is some waiting while boats launch.

Dock constraints
In the fall we had the place to ourselves. Last Saturday at the early session, we shared the docks with the varsity squads. This limited us for a time to one dock instead of three.

In stiff wind, we tow boats out one at a time for the launching procedure. The alternative is not to launch boats. It has been very windy this spring.

Suddenly even more wind
Last Saturday, because the wind came up even stiffer, I made the call at the dock to take several kids out and put in very experienced rowers to handle the wind. I did not explain that clearly at the time and that was my mistake.


The number one priority of the program is safety. On this windy day, two coaches were in their launches on the water, and hence not available to give the kids waiting on land their own separate activity during the launch process.

Land work
After the boats had launched, the kids who were left on land were taken to the boathouse for a coached session on the ergometer. I led that session personally. Sessions on the ergometer are of high value, essential to rowing, and a ton of learning goes on there.

Child assignments
At the beginning of each practice we designate which child is with each coach, as part of making lineups. Those assignments are posted on the lineup boards, we announce them verbally, and we then have the kids physically stand in their assigned lineups next to their assigned coach for the practice. The lineups are generally by country groups. Last Saturday, of course, the wind necessitated last-minute substitutions at the dock.



MAY 5 2018

Greetings, middle school parents –

Another good day of rowing this morning.

The wind was stiff at the start of practice, so we made some last-minute adjustments to the lineups for safety. The mixing of skill levels was not the ideal teaching situation, but it achieved safe boating, which is paramount. Some of us remained on land to solidify some crucial body mechanics.

The team is getting more focused and efficient around boat movement on land, which allows us more precious time on the water.

Other fun stuff
During the wrap-up of today’s second session, a young athlete had a great idea – let’s all watch a rowing movie! What a great way to bond with our new teammates.

Does someone have a sprawling basement home theater that we could put 48 kids in and watch some sort of rowing movie? Would someone like to organize it and chaperone it? The only parameter is that everyone on the middle school team is invited (48 kids). Let me know if that’s of interest to you, and I can link up the interested organizers.

Hats off to today’s varsity athlete counselors – Will, Helen, Katherine, Clara, Sofie Di, Neha, Julia P, Caitriona, Omid, Alek, Nikolai, Rob. Many of them were in the actual boats to create a stable environment in the wind. Our thanks also to the many varsity athletes who came early to place our two octuples and two quads at the dock area for our use. The middle school team is lucky to experience such
support from the other wwra programs.

And of course
Parents are all invited to tonight’s big party for wwra


on behalf of the middle school staff

MAY 1 2018

Greetings, middle school families –

Looking forward to our upcoming practices this week. Latest updates at

Also, you’re invited to the wwra spring party this weekend. It’s a low-key way to meet members of the parent community of wayland weston. Delicious munchies, good wine, good conversation.

It’s also a fundraiser, with lots of cool items to bid on. Funds raised get plowed directly into purchasing new equipment. Hope you can join us.



APRIL 25 2018

Greetings, middle school families –

We had a good first day of spring season. Here’s what we did.

– Learned how to handle sculling blades
– Learned how to step into a boat
– Took a boat to the dock and got familiar with making ready
– Returned the boat to the boathouse
– Ran around a bit
– Did a few boat command games

It’s a nice group of kids. They remained in good spirits throughout, if a little wet. Today’s practice was probably less energetic than the norm, because of the wide range of concepts that we needed to cover before we actually begin rowing. Expect more active workouts from here on out.

There are a few photos on the facebook page at “wwra middle school rowing”

Please note that if your child came home wet and cold, you’ll want to revisit what they wear to practice. It was good to test out the clothing on land today before we commit to excursions on the lake. Below is a reprint of an earlier email about clothing.

You can expect an email from me very soon with assigned times for Saturday.

See you soon!


on behalf of the middle school staff