Frequent Questions

We do our best to answer all questions that someone new to rowing and/or Burnt Hills Rowing Association (BHRA) may have. Most questions pertain to our Youth program. If there is something we have overlooked please contact us!

  • Who are we?

    BHRA is a competitive rowing program for students in the Burnt Hills - Ballston Lake School District in grades 6 through 12. We also offer adult programs for both experienced and inexperienced rowers.

  • Where are we?

    Our boathouse is only a five minute drive from the high school, located at the Mohawk Valley Rowing Center in Alplaus, NY on the banks of the Mohawk River.

  • Who can join?

    Any middle school or high school student can be taught to row quickly through our program - no experience necessary! We encourage beginners to try whether you're in 6th or 12th grade. There is always an opportunity for you on the team!

  • When is practice?

    Youth: Fall, Winter, and Spring practices are held after school. Summer practices are in the morning. Adult: When in session, practices are held 6-8PM Mondays and Wednesdays, 8-10AM Saturdays.

  • How do you train indoors? Isn't rowing a water sport?

    Rowing requires stamina, strength and technique. Our rowers are fortunate to be able to develop their abilities year round in the Patrick C. Breslin Strength Training Facility - a 4,500 square foot heated gym specifically designed and programmed for training rowers. This center, built in 2007, is attached to our boathouse and is one of the nicest training facilities for rowers in NY state.

  • What about racing?

    Our competitive seasons are the Spring and Fall with races predominantly held on weekends throughout the months of October and May. We are very fortunate as most of our races are held locally in the Capital Region and clubs from all over the Northeast come here regularly to compete.

  • Is there a lot of travel involved?

    Not really. Our rowers typically travel 1-2 times per season and this is always coordinated by the club. The athletes usually travel by a chartered bus and stay together in a hotel close to their competition. This is a lot of fun for the kids and allows the families the option of joining or not, based on other family commitments. Each spring the team offers a trip to South Carolina for spring training which provides our rowers with a tremendous competitive advantage.

  • How can rowing benefit my child?

    Along with the unique experience of the sport, our coaches find that rowing provides some valuable life lessons, such as goal setting, collaboration, and effective communication. This may explain why it is often seen as providing a boost when it comes to college applications. Our rowers develop discipline, teamwork, and a willingness to challenge themselves. These skills lend themselves to performance in the classroom and life. Being involved on rowing team develops great time management due to the commitment involved. Our athletes hold some of the highest GPAs in the school!

  • Who are the coaches?

    We are very fortunate to have experienced, passionate and dedicated coaches who collectively bring over 50 years of experience to the sport. Some have competed in the US Rowing's Masters Nationals, FISA World Masters Championships, Grand Finals at the US Rowing Youth National Invitational, Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association Championships, Canadian Henley and the Head of the Charles.

  • Is it safe?

    Absolutely! Our coaches are held to very high safety standards. Each coach operates a motor boat that contains life jackets, rope, space blankets, and other items should an incident arise on the water. There are certain conditions that we will not allow our rowers out on the water, such as thunderstorms. Two of our coaches are certified EMTs, one Varsity coach and one Modified coach. All of the coaches are trained in CPR and First Aid. If you'd like to know more about the BHRA Safety Plan please contact and we'd be happy to share it with you. In addition, all of our rowers must pass a swim test each spring.

  • How much does it cost?

    Seasonal dues are around $500 and provide a rower with 10-12 weeks (depending on season) of training in outstanding facilities, development from highly trained and experienced coaches, use of professional level equipment, and regular local competition. As a non-profit organization, all dues are strictly used towards operational costs such as coaching, insurance, regatta registrations, trailering, utilities, launches, etc. As the club provides all of the necessary equipment there are no costly expenses for gear as in other sports. In addition, the equipment provided is top of the line and the rowers are taught and expected to maintain it.

  • What's the rowing lingo?

    Like any sport, rowing has specific terms to learn. The rowers figure it out pretty quickly and these are just some of the basics. The complete ‘dictionary’ can be found in our handbook. Shell - this is what rowers call the boat. Shells are single, double, four or eight seated. Sculling - rowers use two oars. This type of rowing is how modified rowers learn the sport. Sweep rowing - two to eight rowers each have one oar and a coxswain steers the boat. Head Race - a long distance race, usually 4-6K and is common in the fall. Ergometer (erg) - a rowing machine used for training indoors.

  • What's a regatta?

    Regattas are the competitions our rowers work so hard to compete in. They are all day affairs and usually begin early in the morning and end in the late afternoon. The rowers load and unload the boat trailers for Regatta. In between races, the rowers rig the shells, socialize with the team, fuel up at the food tent, and cheer each other on. It is an exciting event for families and rowers alike.

  • What do rowers wear?

    During practice, rowers typically wear athletic clothing and prefer fitted shorts so they do not get caught in the equipment. During competition Varsity rowers wear custom fitted uniforms (cost $70-90) that can typically be worn for multiple years. Modified rowers wear a team shirt.

  • How involved are the families?

    BHRA requires families to volunteer 5 hours each season. There is always help needed at the Regattas feeding the rowers, maintenance needed at the boathouse, and assistance planning and running the organization to name a few. Families can also be involved by hosting the pasta parties that take place the night before a competition. In addition there are several banquets and potlucks that take place over the course of the year that are opportunities to get to know one another and the rowers.

  • How do we get up to date information?

    Visit our blog at You can subscribe to the right to get an e-mail of any new posts. We also send out periodic e-mails to our membership, addresses will be gathered via registrations in Regatta Central.

  • Why join?

    Why not? Rowing with BHRA can offer you lifelong friends, opportunity for college scholarships, the most team oriented sport available, a passion for a sport that you can carry on well beyond school, and much, much more. There are fantastic short term learn-to-row opportunities offered over the summer for a variety of age groups if you want to try it before joining for a season.

  • Do you offer adult learn to row?

    Yes! Our adult learn to row program is a 6 week program starting in May. The only prerequisite for the program is that you be able to swim. Sessions are held from our boathouse Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM.

  • What happens after adult learn to row?

    You can join masters rowing! Our Master's program accepts anyone 18 years of age or older with sweep rowing experience (sorry, we don't scull). We have two seasons, Spring and Fall. Spring season begins in May and runs up to July 4th.Fall season begins one week after the end of spring season and ends in September. Sessions are held Monday and Wednesday night from 6PM to 8PM for both seasons. Racing is based on interest and is not required. For more information see our Adult Rowing page or contact