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Coaches Biographies

Leander’s coaching staff, run by chief coach Mark Banks, are the secret to the club’s success. Our coaches are fully committed to training athletes to achieve their potential – they understand the athletes’ aim is to make the national team, and will do everything in their power to help them get there.

Most coaches are themselves former international rowers and have a vast bank of knowledge and experience they can call upon with the athletes – an invaluable tool!

To get in touch with the coaches:
T: 01491 575782

Find out more about our world class coaching team below.

Leander Coach
Mark Banks

Chief Coach and Director Of Rowing

Mark Banks became Chief Coach at Leander Club in 2000 and has been Director of Rowing for the last six years. He has had a coaching career punctuated with unprecedented success, most notably coaching two crews to win Olympic silver medals: In 2004, he coached the women‘s quad to win silver at the Athens Olympics; and four years later, he coached the GB men’s eight to win an equally impressive silver Olympic medal, in Beijing. He has coached GB crews for thirty consecutive years, more than any other coach.

However Mark’s passion for coaching is as much about performing at the highest level, as it is about developing and nurturing talent from the grassroots. Debbie Flood, for example, was coached by Mark from almost complete novice to Olympic silver medalist.

A key part of Mark’s stamp on Leander is his world renowned training programme. He uses his wealth of knowledge and experience to craft an incredibly successful training programme, which has helped secure more Henley Royal Regatta wins than any other club in the world. Every two weeks a new programme is published, taking into account the athletes performances in previous weeks; and fatigue levels. Mark will look back over notes from his previous 30 years in the sport to help predict when his athletes will peak, and when they will need the intensity of the programme adjusted. On the programme, Mark commented, “For me, rowing at this level is all about delivering peak performance when it matters. It’s the coach’s role to help bring out the best in our athletes, so they can make that happen.”

Prior to coaching, Mark was a rower himself – he learnt to row at Hollingworth Lake and competed as a lightweight for Notts County, before changing to coaching in 1986, after an injury prevented him from continuing with his own competitive rowing career. His first coaching medal was a bronze in 1988, followed by gold in 1989 with the GB Junior four at the Junior World Championships. In 1990, he was appointed the National Chief Coach for Juniors. In his time with the juniors Mark has coached male and female athletes to medals in rowing and sculling, including golds at the junior, u23 and senior world championships.

Mark also spends a considerable amount of time passing on his experience in developing the Leander coaching staff to allow them to reach their potential. He is proud that many ex Leander rowers have moved into coaching, presently 25 in the last 15 years – Matt Beechey, Jane Hall, Ross Hunter, Ali Brown, Dave Curry, Robin Dowell to name but a few.

For Mark the secret to great rowing is ‘doing the common uncommonly well; and reinforcing the positives on a daily basis.’ This simple coaching approach has proven successful time and time again. Leander has on average had 31 senior GB athletes and 10 u23’s each year for the last 8 years.

Mark has no intention of slowing down and cannot wait to see what further success Leander can have, saying ‘I’m so excited about new talent coming into the club each season. It’s amazing to think they could be the next big thing and follow in the footsteps of the likes of Steve Redgrave, Anna Watkins or James Cracknell.’

Matt Beechey

Head Men’s Coach

Matt Beechey started coaching part-time at Leander in 2009 after a very successful international rowing career spanning the period 1995 to 2008, when Matt represented Great Britain in every lightweight boat class.

After retiring from international competition, coaching for Matt seemed like a natural progression to stay involved within the sport that he loved. He said he felt a ‘duty to come back and coach at Leander to give something back for all the great coaching and support I had when I was climbing the ranks of the national team as an athlete.’

Matt’s technical ability as a lightweight rower shines through in his coaching style, which is famed for being very clear and simple for a variety of athletes to buy into. His record as a coach speaks for itself – he has coached crews to win the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup for five successive years at Henley Royal Regatta. Internationally he taken crews to the Under-23 World Championships, most notably in 2014, when his crew of Jack Beaumont and Angus Groom won a bronze in the Men’s Double Sculls. The following year he coached Jack Beaumont to fifth place in the men’s single.

Not only is Matt a technically gifted coach, but he also holds a number of professional qualifications. Matt studied sport science in university and holds strength & conditioning qualifications. He is currently on his way to completing his Level 3 Coaching qualification and is an assessor in the AASE program.

Many of Matt’s athletes have gone from being coached by him into the national team. Stewart Innes, for example, was coached at Leander by Matt for two years before entering the GB senior squad in 2015, where he stroked the coxless four at the world championships to win a bronze medal.

Away from rowing Matt enjoys board sports, skiing and spending time with his family.

Ross Hunter

Head Women’s Coach

Ross or “Rossy” Hunter started coaching professionally in 2012 after a successful career as an athlete for Leander Club. After retiring from the sport, he struggled to find a profession that gave him the same satisfaction and enjoyment as he had from rowing. He therefore decided to become a rowing coach and began this career at the university team in Bristol. After coaching success at Bristol, Ross decided to take the step up and move to Leander to coach at the highest level.

Ross boasts an impressive results record already coaching both the runner-up and the winners of the Prince Of Wales Challenge Cup last year. He also coached the lightweight men’s four to bronze at the Under-23 World Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

For Ross it’s not purely the results that drive him. He also wants his athletes to enjoy the sport as much as he did.

Ross’s coaching style is based on communicating a very clear model of the rowing stroke to his athletes, as well as closely monitoring their training zones, ensuring they are training at the right intensity and are ready to perform at their peak on race day.

James Loveday

Head Juniors Coach

James has nine years’ experience coaching junior athletes in national and international competition. He prides himself in being able to identify, nurture and develop athletes towards national and international standards. His ambition is to produce the highest standard of performance within the club junior programme.

James began his coaching career during his undergraduate degree as an assistant coach at Marlow Rowing Club. Following the completion of his undergraduate degree he was successful in securing a Henley Stewards Charitable Trust Scholarship that enabled him to work in Wales, where he selected and coached the 2011 Welsh Junior Sculling Team. James then went on to be a head coach for London Youth Rowing at Thames Rowing Club.

James likes to keep up to date using recent evidence from sport science and strength and conditioning research. Away from the training plan he aims to develop a culture of success, allowing regular input from athletes in terms of goal setting and close monitoring of their academics.

His development as a coach has been supported by his academic studies, which include a BSc in Sports Science from Brunel University and an MSc in Coaching Science from Cardiff Metropolitan University. He implements a mixed method approach to athlete development that utilises exercise physiology, nutrition, psychology, performance analysis and strength and conditioning.

James has a detailed understanding of the Great Britain junior team selection criteria and the performance standards expected from junior international athletes. He has coached British crews at both the Junior World Championships and the Coupe de la Jeunesse. James’ ambition is to win the Fawley Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta and continue to work closely with the GB junior system.

Volunteer & Part Time Coaches

We have numerous part-time and volunteer coaches with a wealth of knowledge and experience who assist our full time coaches.

Ian Roots, who often prefers running down the towpath with his dog, instead of cycling, assists Jane Hall in the women’s squad. Karl Reid assists Matt Beechey with the heavyweight men’s sweep, Karl is also a qualified injury rehabilitation specialist and plays a key role in the gym with injury rehabilitation and prevention.

Ted Bainbridge is a lifelong member of Leander and served as Treasurer to the club for many years. Ted has an eye for spotting and developing new recruits as they start their rowing careers, and has also coached winning crews at Henley Royal Regatta.

Our coaches’ passion, determination and drive to win, matches the athletes and they are an integral part of our success on the water.

Child Welfare Officer

Adam Moffatt is Leander Club’s Child Welfare Officer.

To get in touch please email:

More information can be found on the British Rowing website at:

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