In With the New

By Rich Davis

Photo by Peter Spurrier.

The most important job in rowing is that of the novice coach who teaches fundamentals crucial for all levels. Feel better now, or are you only more overwhelmed? Don’t be reluctant to ask questions of your coaching colleagues—that’s how we all learned to coach. Start your novices in the erg room, where you can show them the movements and direct them. Show videos of good rowing. Show them how boats are taken from the rack, carried to the dock, and gently put in the water. Along the way, teach the vernacular of rowing, like “way enough” and other common calls. On the water, be patient and never scream, communicating to your individual athletes only when necessary. When they have been on the water a good number of days, some things will become automatic and their rowing will show that. Hang on for that to happen. After each practice talk to them about the session and what they need to work on in the next one. And don’t forget about the development of the coxswain, who is also on the steep part of the learning curve and will need guidance on how to steer, motivate the crew, and give commands.