Carlos Dinares Tip #308: REALITY of Training for ROWING as a GROUP

A good ROWING coach said competition is part of the process for developing a champion crew.

“The whole human develops with competition, doesn’t it? It’s not just about sport; it’s about everything we do. The next-door neighbour has a dishwasher. I want a bigger dishwasher. He has a big car. I want a bigger car. That’s what the human race thrives on, is competition.”

I totally agree with this coach that having a group helps you to push the individuals to give their maximum by the natural desire of being the best.

What this very successful rowing coach didn’t talk about is of the negatives of this system to develop each one of them to be the best it can be. To don’t injure them, to don’ burn them out and to be sure we get each rower to their top.

Coaches coach for different reasons and many of them do what makes them be successful that is to win races.
If you are a National Team coach or the Head coach of a Competitive Team your job description is clear: WIN RACES OR YOU WILL GET FIRED.

When you get hired, they usually tell you:

1) Safety and the health of your athletes is number 1
2) Your athletes are student -Athletes and first is to get a good education and have a good experience.
3) You want everyone to be part of the Team. Everyone should work together.
4) You want to make it fun and be sure your athletes have a good experience.
5) Winning is important but not the only thing.

But you know that if the TEAM doesn’t do well or WINS you will probably get fired eventually! How do you react to the 5 points listed above to keep your job?

1) I will have them rowing at freezing temperatures to get some extra miles over my competition. I will have them rowing the stationary erg risking back injuries to get extra fitness. I know some rowers get surgery and stop rowing because of the stationary ergometer, but all the coaches are doing the same. I don’t feel bad about it. I need to do it to keep my team as competitive as the rest around.
2) I will ask my top student-athletes to get into easy degree to train more and have less school work.
3) I will make my top athletes to row with each other and not waist time with the slow ones and I will only give attention to the ones that can make my priority boat faster. The boat that will make me successful.
4) The only fun I know about rowing and training My TEAM is the fun of winning. Fun is going fast and being successful. There is nothing fun about training, it is just working to go fast and be able to keep my job. I don’t worry if my practices are fun or not as long as we win.
5) Winning is the only thing that can assure me to keep my job. Participation and losing are a problem for me even if my rowers are having a good experience and getting a good education.

Now we see that if we are in a situation like this one where they tell me that I need to do all these things but I really know that the only thing that can assure me success is winning, then is when i start changing to a survival system where everything moves around the result. Is not anymore about the experience and having fun but about the result.

In a system like that I cannot devote much time to developing athletes properly as long as it doesn’t affect my potential results. I cannot protect the ones that are burning because I need the carnivore system to get the result. I cannot protect their backs because I need to push their fitness to their top and need the machine to help me to get them to their top fitness level to achieve that to be able to win. In a system like that I can benefit from a group and the carnivore nature of competing against each other to get the best of the top. The best will raise and the rest will stay down.

The question is:

If we are payed to win, and not to lose, we are not payed to bring everyone to its top but to produce a carnivore system to get the best on the boat to have a chance to win the race.
Is this an ideal system to give every rower the opportunity to be the best it can be?
Is this an ideal system to help every rower that comes to us to have the proper development and learning evolution?
Or is this the ideal system to keep the coach surviving year after year and produce maybe a fast boat?

Can be training in a group be done differently?
Can we develop rowers in a group and get the rowers to help each other instead of competing all the time against each other for survival?
Can we approach training as a group differently and be more productive on the long run?
Are you training a group like that?
Are you rowing for a Team that is like that?
Are you feeling you are not getting developed to your top?

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