If you are a rower or a coach you might know by now that Self doubt and confidence in Rowing are a big challenge. All the rowers and coaches have doubts. There is no rower or coach that has had a path to success without doubt and lost of confidence. The reason is that we all by nature have up and downs. On all these downs our confidence loses strength and doubts start coming up.
When you have as a rower or coach very high expectations and you carry them into your racing, it is easy to doubt and lose confidence if your results are not good enough or at the level of your expectations.
Self doubt is the opposite of confidence. It is when you question your abilities to perform your best. Can I win this weekend? Can I perform tomorrow on this test? Can I do better even if I don’t feel good? Can I…..? Anytime you are as a rower or coach questioning yourself, this is self doubt. When you doubt yourself sometimes you do it with some negativity like: I had a terrible night and there is no way I can perform without good sleep… I had a terrible practice yesterday, there is no way I can win today after that bad row yesterday… We lost against them on the heat, there is no way we can get them on the final… There is no way we can win on this head win, the other teams are stronger on these conditions…
When you get to situations like that it is really important that you understand what are those doubts that destroy your confidence. You need to recognize them and list them on a paper so you can work on them to become more confident.
Self confidence is the strength of the believe on the ability to execute. If you are self confident you don’t have doubts and believe you can win and that your rowing or coaching are good. You believe in your abilities. You become confident when you have plenty of good quality practice, because of pass success and a big believe in your abilities. A good coach will help you to become confident by facilitating all those and believing in you.
There is many top crews at top racing that lose the final because doubt and lost of confidence Other crews experience the opposite during the regatta.
One of the goals of my coaching is to build confidence on the rowers I coach by helping them to become faster and mentally stronger over a period of time. You cannot win a big race if you don’t believe you are going to win. You cannot achieve your best if you don’t believe in what you do. You cannot be the best you can be if you have doubts about what you do. The first step to be the best you can be is to do what you believe is going to help you to get there. If you don’t understand the training you do, if you don’t feel you are getting faster, if you don’t trust the system, go and ask your coach. Until you don’t trust the system or the training program you won’t be able to be the best you can be.
Coaches have the same problem. If they don’t trust and believe on themselves the rowers are going to feel it. If they don’t like rowers asking them questions or questioning part of the work or don’t have answers or feel attacked, they will lose the respect of their athletes and their confidence. If you coach you need to know why you make your rowers do what you ask them to do. If you don’t, you need to get out there and ask questions and find out why other coaches do it this way. It is normal that your athletes want to know and have doubts if there are no answers.
If you use your power as a coach to impose your coaching style, you eventually will have problems. You need to get the respect of the athletes you coach by showing them respect and understanding of your training method. You need to convince them you are going to lead them to be the best they can be by giving them example. You want to earn their respect by making them faster and helping them enjoy the journey they are on. At the end rowers and coaches are all on the same Team and have the same goal, to be the best they can be!