CCCR Youth Handbook

Youth Rowing is a program offered by Cape Cod Community Rowing, Inc., a 501c3 non-profit.

Youth Rowing Program Goals

  1. Provide a safe, quality, competitive rowing program that is fun, challenging, and open to all students willing to make the necessary commitments.
  2. Prepare and assist students in making the transition to rowing on the collegiate level. Allow all rowers to participate in as many practices and races as possible (this is limited at times due to the types of races and numbers of rowers).

Our goal is to ensure participation by every team member: in rowing, no one sits on a bench! However, please note that students are not guaranteed a spot in every race. Parents and rowers are encouraged to contact the coaches or parents overseeing the program regarding any questions or concerns.

About Program Funding

The Team is primarily self-funded, supported in part by Cape Cod Community Rowing.

Season Fees

Each season, user fees help cover the program's operational expenses, including coaching, student and boat transportation, insurance, etc. Program fees are calculated before the start of each season. Our goal is to keep user fees as low as possible without jeopardizing the quality and safety of the program. The program's fees are currently one of the lowest in New England for nonacademic funded public programs focused on middle school and high school athletes.

Refund Policy

Refunds will not be issued after the second week of practice. Withdrawals before that time will be charged on a percentage basis.


The Team wants to ensure that all students who wish to participate can. Families with extenuating circumstances can email the club Treasurer Ellen Byrne at with "scholarship request" in the subject line. All requests will remain confidential with the Treasurer.

Youth Program Rower Requirements

  1. SWIMMING SKILLS Basic swimming skills are a vital component of a safe crew. All new participants must take a swim test or present a current Water Safety or Lifeguard Certificate. The coaches will provide swim tests and are required before new members are allowed in a boat or out on the water.
  2. ATTENDANCE Attendance at practices is mandatory. When a rower misses practice, other rowers are affected. In addition, the coach’s plans for that day’s workout are disrupted. Excused absences should be minimized.
  3. WEATHER Practices are held, rain or shine. Only high winds and lightning will keep rowers off the water.
  4. CONDUCT Rowing is a highly respected sport that is steeped in tradition. Rowers are expected to respect the sport and their team members. As practices are held at a town beach, rowers are expected to respect neighboring residents and visitors. No yelling, screaming, swearing, or other disruptive behavior is allowed. Rowers are responsible for removing all trash, including water bottles, socks, clothes, etc.
  5. SAFETY All rowers are expected to be safe, mature, cooperative, and respectful of others and their property while participating in program activities. Parents, please note the scheduled practice times and ensure that your children are there only for their scheduled practices. We are guests at a town-owned facility with many close neighbors, and we must all work together to ensure the safety of all our participants.
  6. EQUIPMENT Rowing shells and the associated equipment are very expensive and fragile. All rowers must follow boat handling instructions and rules. Every team member is equally responsible for the equipment and is expected to stay at practice and races until all equipment is stored correctly or loaded on the trailer.
  7. HYDRATION Please bring a plastic/non-breakable water bottle to all practices (Rowers must not share water bottles. Glass is not permitted).

Boat Selection

Perhaps the most challenging job any rowing coach has is determining boat selection. That is, deciding which athletes to place in specific boats. This decision is complex and depends on many constantly changing variables. Below is an outline meant to give parents and rowers a basic understanding of the criteria for these decisions.


  • Technique
  • Erg scores
  • Attendance
  • Attitude, conduct, and work ethic


  • Leadership
  • Understanding of rowing commands
  • Steering and control of the rowing shell
  • Ability to follow instructions
  • Attendance
  • Attitude, conduct, and work ethic

Practice Location & Preparation

Practices are held on Long Pond Rd. in Harwich at the Harwich Town Beach, between exits 82 and 85.  Rowers should be prepared for all types of weather during practices and on race days.

The following items are recommended for practice:

  • Running shoes for land workouts.
  • Workout clothes. Fleece and wool are strongly recommended for their warmth when wet. During the colder months, multiple layers (including hats) should be worn so that rowers can remove layers as necessary during warm-ups.
  • Rubber wet suit boots are helpful (but optional) in the Spring season as the water is very cold in April.
  • Do not wear cotton, “cotton kills.”
  • Do not wear baggy shorts or pants (that can get caught in the sliding boat seats).  Spandex is the fabric of choice for rowers.

Rowing Seasons

SPRING SEASON The Spring racing season begins in April and runs through May. Should there be an opportunity to participate in races, the Spring races are 1500 meters and take between 6 and 7 minutes to complete. All crews start together and race straight down a course.

FALL SEASON The Fall races are known as “Head” races, such as the world-famous Head of The Charles Regatta in Boston. Head races are about 3 miles long and include crews from high schools, colleges, national teams, and rowing clubs competing in the same regatta under different divisions. Crews begin “Head” races with a staggered start and race the clock and crews they may encounter along the racecourse. These exhausting endurance races can take over 20 minutes and are the rowing equivalent of a marathon.

WINTER SEASON During winter, the Team runs indoor-based workouts. These sessions allow coaches to teach the fundamental physiological aspects of training in more detail. It also gives rowers a chance to work on ergometers (ergs) and receive more one-on-one coaching concerning technique.

SUMMER SEASON Detail concerning the summer season to be posted soon.

Rowing Regattas

A regatta (crew race) is probably unlike any other competitive event you have ever attended. Race days are often long and arduous. They usually begin early in the morning and include 3-4 hours of travel, equipment rigging and de-rigging, additional hours of waiting, and a relatively brief racing period. What makes it all worthwhile is the team camaraderie and family participation.

We want participants to opt-in to regattas as they or their parents choose. Therefore, we charge each participating athlete the regatta entry fee and a prorated share of boat transportation and coaching.

Parents are strongly encouraged to attend and support the team on race day. And more importantly, it is an excellent way for everyone to get involved. Plan on spending the better part of the day at away meets. Bring a comfortable lawn or beach chair, binoculars, sunscreen, and adequate food and drink. It is truly a wonderful experience for rowers and parents.