ME: "How's the four doin'?"
ASSISTANT: "Good, except that their rudder is stuck... they can go straight, they just need to use pressure to steer."
ME: "WHAT do you MEAN the rudder is stuck? [sighs] Check if its tangled in some weeds."
ASSISTANT: "We did and its clear... she can't move the steering stick is all, its like its locked."
First day on the water as a head coach and that happened to the boat. It turns out the rudder was actually "locked" (who knew!); probably because the shell wasn't rowed all summer the steering cable somehow got stuck in the cable tube and just needed a coach's touch to work again.
Since this is my first post I figure I should tell you a little about me and what's going on here at 'the boat' (I will think of something better to call it, I promise!). My name is Tom and I was just promoted to the Head Coach/Program Director position at a high school program in the Philadelphia area. I am new to the responsibilities but I am not new to the sport. I began rowing in high school and continued all four years in college. I fell into coaching as a way to help make some money as I looked for a 'real' job (I successfully survived both law school and two bar exams). Three years later and I still haven't set foot into a courtroom but I have successfully coached a Stotesbury medal-winning boat.
I've been toying with the idea of starting a blog for a while now, but with my new title I figured why not now. After being around the sport for over ten years, I firmly believe there are two groups of coaches... the first group is a small, but extremely successful and influential group, of coaches who rowed for the best programs and the best coaches and now carry their success to their alma maters or other strong and storied programs. Then there is the second and much larger group. In this group you will find the coaches who learned to row at a small college club team or even in a masters program and who fell into a coaching position.
I am a part of the second group and this blog is for all of you who came into coaching like me (who knows, maybe even some from the first group will find a few good pointers, too, or can at least come to commiserate). All we know is we love the sport and we think we know what makes a boat move fast. Hopefully I can share with you some ideas, drills, workouts and anything else to help make our boats go a little bit faster.
See you on the river.