When to Start the Sport of Rowing

Rowing looks as though it is an easy sport. However, don’t be deceived. It is actually a very physically demanding and challenging sport. You may wonder then, what would be the best age to start rowing. Although children as young as 9 years old can start rowing, many recommend that children should wait until they are at least 12 or 13 years old before taking up rowing.


There are a couple of reasons why it is better to wait until a child is at least 12 years old. Children need to have enough maturity to cope with the demands of the sport. It is a team sport where they have to cooperate with others. In addition, the physical demands of this sport are very high. It may not seem like rowing is difficult, after all it looks deceptively easy when you watch a crew rowing seamlessly through the water. What you do not see is the tremendous effort involved in the sport and the hundreds of hours of practice that the team members had to put in to achieve this effortless rowing.

Hours Spent Practicing

Scull Rowing Machines

A young child will not be keen to spend hours practicing, and there is also the risk of physical injury to consider, although unlike other sports the risk of impact injury is much lower. A child younger than 12 or 13 years old may also not have the emotional maturity to cope with the demands of the sport. Boats are very expensive and can be damaged quite easily thus the child needs to be responsible enough to understand this. Rowing is, in fact, an expensive sport, which may be another reason why a parent should wait before enrolling a child in a rowing course or having the child join a club. Costs can range from $1200 to just over $2000 a season, which is very high. In some cases, parents may wait until their child is in high school when the costs may lessen, if the school has a rowing club.


The other issue is the physical size needed to row, although, children can use smaller oars than adults. Many rowing clubs do have equipment to be used by children, but these are usually designed for children who are between 11 and 14 years of age.

The other issue with rowing is that a child needs to be comfortable in the water, and some clubs require that prospective rowers pass a swim test and can tread water for a certain length of time. On the other hand, rowing is a good aerobic exercise that teaches teamwork and exercises more muscles in the body than most any other sport. Once children have been taught how to row, they may be keen on competing in races. Elite rowers are often very tall, but for children this is not important. Rowing will actually build muscle strength in the child as well as help with the social development. Of course, there is nothing stopping a person from taking up rowing as an adult as a way to stay fit.