As a coach you need to know how to motivate your rowers and need to have a system you believe in. The coach sets the system and this system is based on his principles and his ideas. The coach runs the show.
Every coach has a different way of motivating.
Motivation is a key factor to be the best you can be. In order to perform and improve you need to push yourself hard and this is easier or possible when you have lots of motivation.
I’m a believer that rowers who are self motivated to win have a better chance to win. In these rowers this motivation comes from themselves. They are driven to be the best they can be and they will do anything to win.
There are a lot more rowers like that than we think. Many of those get lost on the dynamics of the groups or the system of the coach. Others just don’t even realize they have it on them and the coach has no ability to wake up this drive from them that is dormant. They are fighters but they don’t know yet.
When I coach rowers the first thing that I tell them is that they are doing it for themselves because it is their result and their race. I tell them I’m there for them but at the end of the journey it is their dream and their medal. Only rowers get to the podium.
My system is a very simple system with clear rules:
- Rowers come to practice if they want it is not an obligation. I set performance gains and if they don’t improve they are fired. If they do all i ask them to do and they don’t improve I get fired.
- Rowers do the workout without control and I don’t always ask for their scores. They do the pieces for them.
- Rowers get rewarded with extra work.
- Rowers reward is being the best they can at the end of the journey and not just doing the training program.
My system is based on different things. First I tell the rowers that I only focus on the performance on race day. I tell them that normally the ones who perform on training perform on racing but put clear that what matters to me is the race day result. I also tell them that more work is a reward because that means that you can get stronger. I react to bad performance with rest because they are lazy or too tired. If they are lazy and don’t want to work hard then they get eliminated by themselves because by not training and pushing they get slower and don’t get to the standard gains set by me. If they are too tired and they rest they get faster.
Here is an example:
I use to coach a rower like that all the time. We use to train together. In one of these training sessions, for a week we had another rower to join us for training. One of the days we had 4 pieces of 10 minutes at max effort. They did the pieces together on the ergometer. when they were going to start the 3rd piece I told them:
- If you get the best score of the 3 pieces on this 3rd piece, yo get the chance to do the 4th one.
My rower understood and smiled ready to push herself to get the chance to do the last one.
The other rower looked at me and said: You mean if I do the best one that 3rd one I don’t get to do the last one correct.
I said no? This is not what I said, I said:
If you get the best score of the 3 pieces on this 3rd piece, yo get the chance to do the 4th one.
He answer to me: I’m sorry I don’t understand. If this is like that I won’t go for a record on the 3rd one because I still need to do the 4th one. It makes no sense to hurt extra for nothing.
Then I understood that this rower that wasn’t coached by me or part of my system couldn’t understand my principles. This rower was used to work as a punishment and reward was on cutting pain when on my world when you work harder and go trough more pain you get more chances of winning.
I believe that a coach is an educator an as an educator he teaches his rowers to be the way he believes is right and good to succeed to make them be the best they can be.
I’m a believer that rowers to achieve their best need to do it because they want to. My role as a coach is to help them to think this way and facilitate their journey with good guidance and mentorship.
At the end of the journey the rower will go alone to the start and race by himself. When things get hard at the middle of the race he will push by himself for himself with his own determination. No coach will be there to tell them to go hard, It will need to come from inside. The fight they learn to fire inside on training will come on race day too.