2016 was a busy year.
I started this site in 2015 and I really appreciate everyone who read, shared, and commented in 2016 to keep driving me to write more content here.
One of my favorite things to come out of this year was working with fellow rowing strength coaches Blake Gourley and Joe Deleo to start the Strength Coach Roundtable on Rowperfect UK’s Rowing Chat channel. We’ve done four episodes and will do our fifth in February on the topic of Performance Psychology for Rowers. Mental skills training is a passion of mine so I’m really excited for this episode.
Top Articles from 2016
I’m glad, and a bit surprised, at the popularity of the specialization article. It ventures out a bit from my usual strength training content but seemed to strike a chord with my readers. It was shared on Facebook massively and I hope changed some minds on specialization and informed on long-term athletic development.
I also got to work with some other coaches in 2016, writing guest articles for Rufo Optimal Workouts (“Stay Positive to Beat the Injury Blues“) and TeamSnap as well as becoming a guest on the Winning Youth Coaching podcast and being featured in a US-Rowing article on masters training.
Back to Class
I also returned to formal education at the University of Denver’s MA in Sport Coaching program. I honestly can’t say enough good things about this program. It is a new program and they’ve done a masterful job creating an innovative learning environment and curriculum that is both immediately applicable AND deeply thought-provoking. It is entirely online, designed with coaches in mind so as to maximize coaching time with your current teams, not requiring uprooting or time away from your athletes. The online coursework is engaging and my professors are top notch, using video conferences, recorded video lectures, and rapid-fire responses on email, social media, and the discussion boards. My classmates are also awesome. Everyone is really motivated to learn and collaborate, and the discussion boards are a goldmine of hundreds of years of cumulative coaching experience across dozens of sports.
After coaching full time in the fall, I’m excited for rowing season to begin again soon. Like many non-tropical programs, here in the north we’ll be focusing heavily on indoor training with weights, ergs, and cross-training. I consider this a huge opportunity to refine skills in a more controlled environment than on the water. Lacrosse will start in March and a new role for me as varsity assistant and defensive coordinator, plus a whole bunch of new ideas thanks to an offseason of learning for me from my Denver curriculum and other resources.
I also co-founded an off-season lacrosse club program last summer for 5th-11th graders and we’ve gotten enough momentum to offer more playing opportunities in 2017. This is a fun project for me from a coaching, long-term curriculum development, and business side of things. I’ve struggled at times with this because I consider most off-season club programs to be the root of all evil in youth sports. This has been my motivation to make a program that does actually work and doesn’t just serve as another exclusive club that sacrifices individual coaching and athletes’ health for flashy tournaments.
Coming Up Next
I cut back my long-form article writing in 2016. With 75+ articles published and available for free about strength training for rowing and lacrosse as well as sport psychology and coaching, I’ve been working more on some other projects. One of those is a website redesign, which should be wrapped up soon, to make it easier to find what you’re looking for on here. Another is a second version of Rowing Stronger, which I hope to finish in the first half of 2017. It has done well since publishing in October 2015 but I’ve done a lot of writing and coaching since then and want to update it to make it even better. The second version will also be available in print. Finally, I plan on doing more instructional, demonstration, and explanation videos, so stay tuned for that as well as more from the Strength Coach Roundtable.
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