Book Review - Water has no walls
There has never been such a good time to get involved in para-rowing as now.
There are much more resources available than ever before. Many of the rowing clubs all over the country have para-programmes and the sport has become popular enough to ensure that there will always be fellow rowers to share the wonders of the sport.
Adaptive rowing, as the sport was known before it was renamed to para-rowing, has been part of the Paralympic Games since Bejing 2008 and the performance standard rises each year, but it also offers social and therapeutic value to people from a wide range of ages and abilities.
Against this backdrop, I was excited to see Water has no Walls, a new booklet by Hilary Abraham, in which she introduces the pleasures of rowing to her readers.
Abraham has been involved in para-rowing for more than seven years. In addition, she has spent many years teaching blind and visually impaired children to row.
Her dedication to coaching has proved to be a wonderful investment in the sport. Undeterred by the challenges surrounding equipment and funding, she has taught many people with various disabilities to row.
At one stage three members of the national rowing team had been taught by her.
With this booklet, Abrahams continues her quest to make para-rowing as accessible as possible to people with disabilities.
The book is less about producing paralympians than being a platform from which to explore the many ways that para-rowing offers to people with disabilities to enjoy the freedom of the water.
Abraham mentions in her preface that once an individual is in the boat and out on the water, a disability cannot be seen by casual observers. “I have found that this aspect of the sport is particularly liberating. As one of my visually impaired athletes observed, ‘on the water I feel so free – the water has no walls.’ ”
The booklet offers chapters with basic information on the sport for the uninitiated, on equipment, health and safety, coaching methodology and conditioning and training.
It is a must read for clubs who are considering a para-programme, but also for individual who are looking at the sport for their own recreational or therapeutic reasons.