Rowing Books

Book Cover Steven Redgrave's complete book of rowing

List Price: £17.99

The basics are all to easy to forget - that's if you were ever actually taught them properly to begin with. This book is a good coverage of the basics (and some more detailed areas) of rowing, from the theories of both the sculling and sweep strokes, how to most effectively rig your boat, a little bit of competition theory and a reasonably detailed problem diagnosis section.

When you're taught to row you follow what your coach tells you, it pays to learn the facts behind the mantras that are drilled into us from day one.


While there's a definite place for the introductory texts in sporting publications (and Redgrave's book is a good example), when you're ready to really move on you do need something extra and MacArthur's book certainly fits that bill. There's a level of assumed knowledge and experience before you can get the most from this book. Written by an experienced coach (he's currently chief coach at London Rowing Club), this text is aimed at teaching good oarsmen to be better. Not just technically better, but to compete more effectively. There is more to training than doing a few random length ergos a week and throwing some weight around as you feel like it. There is more to racing than appearing at the start line, having had a few practice starts on the way up, and then blasting the course.

There are plenty of slogans that sports goods manufacturers bandy about to try to motivate people about their products, but the bottom line about any form of competition is that it's the individual that needs to perform on the day. If that individual has prepared more effectively than their competition, either one-on-one or in comparison with their opposite number in a team situation, then they have an advantage. Books like this are an advantage.

If you read it, learn from it and try to incorporate it into your rowing, well, it's not going to slow you down, is it?

Book Cover High Performance Rowing

By John McArthur

List Price: £12.99

True Blue

By Dan Topolski and Patrick Robinson

List Price: £12.99

The Boat Race 1987. Not just a two-horse race like most years. That year Oxford had to struggle to even boat an effective crew thanks to the ructions caused by a group of imported American internationals. Dan Topolski was the chief coach that year and while this book doesn't pretend to be unbiased and you need to constantly question whether what you're reading is true or not (or at the very least bear in mind that there's likely to have been a more blurred division between the two sides in many of the situations). In amongst the vitriol and the carthasis, there are some passages of real insight, not just into what the Boat Race means to Blues and their universities, but in the descriptions of what their sport means to oarsmen.


I stumbled across Eakins' work quite by accident. I was nosing around the Philadelphia Museum of Art while visiting the city of brotherly love a few years ago (two good things about that particular museum: firstly it is free on Sundays which certainly seemed to encourage visitors and, secondly, it was its steps that Sly Stallone ran up so triumpantly in the first Rocky movie - you too can do that caper and dance and have your photo taken with his statue at the top). It's not the case that Eakins is the only artist who's painted oarsmen (there are definitely others, Callebotte, for just one example), but he manages to capture a certain something. The elegance in the stroke, the connection a oarsman feels with the water which is more than just through his blade handle, these things come through his brushwork.

Book Cover Thomas Eakins : The Rowing Pictures

By Helen A. Cooper, Martin A. Berger, Christina Currie, Amy B. Werbel

List Price: £25.00

The graphics are links to amazon.co.uk where you can order the titles.

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