HomeNewsUSRowing Introduces "Pathways" Program: A Vision for Athlete Development

    USRowing Introduces “Pathways” Program: A Vision for Athlete Development

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    USRowing is pleased to unveil the “Pathways” program, a dynamic new initiative that aligns with our 2023 strategic plan. With a strong emphasis on our commitment to support our high performance athletes in their pursuit of excellence on the world stage, “Pathways” serves as a testament to Chief High Performance Officer Josy Verdonkschot’s vision for athlete development.

    “Pathways will be the direct link to the senior team for younger generations of athletes. It’s athlete centered focus, prioritizing education, clear communication, and training standardization, will set the team up for success in LA2028 and beyond,” Verdonkschot said.

    Designed as a comprehensive under 19/under 23 pathway to the national team, the program underscores our dedication to nurturing American rowing talent and provides the resources, coaching, and development pathways required to empower our athletes to become the best in the world. Leading the “Pathways” program is Brett Gorman, who will be the primary contact for U19 and U23 athletes.

    Mission and Vision
    “Pathways” embodies a vision of holistic athlete development and international competitive success. It aspires to offer an integrated pathway for U19 and U23 athletes, enabling them to represent the United States on the global stage. The program places equal emphasis on long-term athlete development and competitive excellence, reflecting USRowing’s broader mission. The “Pathways” program seeks to provide emerging athletes with a well-defined route and the foundation needed for international achievement. It prioritizes transparency, collaboration, and education, aiming to promote not only athletic success but also personal growth.

    Meet Our Director: Brett Gorman
    USRowing is delighted to announce the appointment of Brett Gorman as the Director of High Performance Pathways. With her extensive experience in coaching and leadership in the rowing community, Gorman is well-suited to lead the “Pathways” program. She previously led USRowing’s educational efforts as the Director of Learning and Development.

    “I’m looking forward to returning to direct athlete development and supporting all of our national teams,” Gorman said. “I’ve spent countless hours working with coaches and program leaders the past three years and want to apply that knowledge to developing an athlete- and coach-centered pathway that focuses on long-term results.”

    Collaborative Approach
    Gorman will work under the guidance of USRowing’s Chief High Performance Officer, Josy Verdonkschot, and will draw inspiration from best practices within USRowing’s senior national team program, with a focus on cultivating a culture of excellence within “Pathways.”

    “Brett’s experience with developing athletes and her enthusiasm for the role make her an excellent candidate to lead this program,” Verdonkschot said. “Her ability to work seamlessly with coaches of all backgrounds and styles positions her as a valuable asset to our mission of nurturing high performance athletes.”

    In addition to coordinating USRowing’s U19 and U23 selection camps, Gorman will work to integrate the Olympic Development Program (ODP),  including the U19 youth development and selection development camps, and high-performance clubs into “Pathways,” creating a seamless journey for athletes as they progress. With all of USRowing’s camps linked under the same umbrella, “Pathways” will provide multiple entry points for athletes to enter the system depending on their level of skill and experience.

    The Four Pillars/Tenets of “Pathways”

    1. Building on Systems: “Pathways” recognizes that rowing excellence is the result of collective efforts and values the development of robust systems to support athletes and coaches.
      • What does this look like? Within “Pathways,” this pillar is manifested in the deliberate cultivation of systems and structures that support athlete development. This includes standardized coaching methodologies, training regimens, and performance evaluation criteria that are consistently applied to all participants and stem from the Chief High Performance Officer.
    2. Prioritizing Communication and Transparency: The program is built on open and candid communication aimed at keeping athletes, coaches, and stakeholders informed and engaged.
      • What does this look like? Transparent reporting mechanisms are used to maintain an open dialogue, ensuring that everyone is engaged and aware of their journey. This includes accurate information on USRowing’s website, consistent coach and athlete communication, and informational meetings/webinars for key stakeholders.
    3. Educating Through Information Sharing and Collaboration: “Pathways” seeks to create a platform for ongoing learning and improvement, emphasizing the importance of collaboration and the exchange of knowledge and experiences.
      • What does this look like? “Pathways” is committed to creating an ecosystem where knowledge is shared freely. Coaches, athletes, and support staff collaborate to exchange insights, best practices, and innovations. Workshops, seminars, and mentorship programs are employed to foster continuous learning and professional growth.
    4. Developing Opportunities for Coaches and Athletes: The “Pathways” team is dedicated to fostering an environment that supports the growth and development of both coaches and athletes.
      • What does this look like: The “Pathways” program seeks to create a rich environment for coaches and athletes alike. Coaches have access to mentorship and professional development opportunities, while athletes benefit from specialized training, individualized performance plans, and resources designed to help them reach their fullest potential.

    The Path Forward
    “Pathways” represents the future of high performance rowing in the United States, designed to help athletes achieve their potential and proudly represent their nation on the international stage.

    We cordially invite everyone to come with us on this journey. Please join us Wednesday, November 15, from 8-9 p.m. ET for an informational webinar outlining the 2024 plans for “Pathways.”

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