Insights from World Rowing’s Online Session on Selection Policy

In a recent online webinar held by World Rowing (WR), participants came together to share knowledge regarding the importance of having a robust athlete selection policy, with the aim of reinforcing the significance of clear and structured selection criteria.


  • Rosie Mayglothling: World Rowing Executive Committee Member; Chair of the Competitive Rowing Commission;¬† Lead for Classic Rowing Coach Education; World Rowing Coach Educator.
  • Gianni Postiglione: WR Director of Coaching.
  • Paul Thompson: Performance Director – Rowing Australia.
  • Peter Shepperd: Head Coach – Olympic Pathway.


34 participants from 22 countries attended the session. Invitations had been extended to the following categories of the Rowing community: 

  • Coach Educators.
  • WISH Programme Coaches
  • Women in Leadership Programme participants
  • Targeted coaches

Purpose and Objective of a Selection Policy

The primary purpose of an athlete selection policy is to ensure the creation of the fastest boat possible by selecting the best rowers for events. This policy also aims to sustain the future of rowing by providing a clear and understandable framework for all stakeholders. Setting out explicit criteria helps maintain transparency and fairness in the selection process.

The selection policy aims to excite and maintain interest in the sport, ensuring its vitality. Additionally, it addresses safeguarding issues by setting standards that protect athletes’ well-being.

Philosophy and Methodology of Selection

Selection is based on performance, recognizing both the biological and physiological aspects of the athletes. The policy ensures that decisions are made fairly and transparently, balancing objective data with the subjective judgement of experienced coaches.

The policy outlines several principles to guide the selection process:

  • Utilizing experience and judgment in combination with data.
  • Applying standards and benchmarks, such as WR times and gold medal times, to assess athletes’ performance profiles.
  • The selection policy covers key principles such as balancing fairness with the need for speed, leveraging technology, ensuring transparency and allowing for coaches’ discretion, among the few highlighted.

As presented, the selection process is comprehensive and encompasses season and performance planning, internal racing assessments, and evaluations in both small and large boats, as well as ergometer testing.


The session underscored the critical role of a well-defined selection policy in the sport of rowing. By providing clear guidelines and criteria, such a policy not only ensures fairness and transparency but also helps in building the fastest and most competitive teams. The insights shared by the facilitators highlighted the need for continuous improvement and adaptation of these policies to keep the sport dynamic and engaging.