Coaching & Sport Psych

Overcoming Erg Fear

This is an element of rowing culture that has outright negative physical and mental performance consequences and is 100% controllable by the individual. Coaching education and a cultural shift in rowing away from glorifying the negative parts of the sport are necessary to fully eradicating erg fear at the root, but that is a slow path. This article is for the individual rower who acknowledges his or her fear of the erg and wants to move past it for more productive training and a happier and more balanced mental state. The remainder of this article is based on the premise that erg-fear is a real phenomenon exhibited by many rowers and that this fear is not to be derided, shamed, or celebrated through social media hashtags—it is to be overcome.

Sport Specialization is Not the Answer

early specialization

Athlete Transitioning: Graduating from Sport

Often lost in the excitement of the final races, championship qualifiers, and preparing for the culmination of another season is the realization that, for the tens of thousands of athletes graduating from high school or college and not continuing sport, this is it. While many rowers will no doubt look forward to sleeping in, no more 2k tests, and a life beyond spandex, many will struggle to adjust to a life that does not revolve around athletics and athletic performance. All sports have unique cultures and forge strong bonds between teammates, and many will not find the close relationships that existed between teammates in work, school, or future life.

Stay Positive to Beat the Injury Blues

Check out my guest post for Rufo Optimal Workouts here and learn how to maintain a positive mental mindset to overcome injury.

Mental Skills for Rowing: Part 1

Tips for rowers and coxswains on the basics of goal setting, progressive muscle relaxation, cognitive reframing, and positive self-talk.

Mental Skills for Rowing: Part 2

The series continues with visualization, pre-practice and pre-performance routines, and mental reset routines.

Mental Skills for Rowing: Part 3

We wrap things up with arousal management and maintaining a positive mental state through injury then discuss how to put MST together in a training plan.

 Inclusivity in Sport, Part 1

I decided to do a final project for a graduate school course on this subject and set about learning more about sport for people with disabilities as well as accommodations and inclusivity in sport. As I started researching, talking to other coaches, and thinking about my own experiences, I realized I had a lot to learn. My goal with this article is to share my learning process, including my own preconceived notions, background research and sociological theory, and tangible takeaways for my own coaching and hopefully yours too.

Part one of this article will discuss person-first language, how we can define and produce inclusiveness, and whether there actually is a difference between athletes with and without disabilities.

A Coach’s Guide to Inclusivity

In part one last week, we covered person-first language, took a detailed look at what it means to truly be inclusive, and evaluated the differences (or lack thereof) in characteristics of athletes with and without disabilities. In part two, we’ll use the critical theory to look at how sport reflects society for people with disabilities, the concept of social settings to check the message your program is sending to people with disabilities, and wrap things up with an action plan for coaches.

Strength Coach Will on The Rowing Chat Podcast

In case you missed it, here is the link to the Rowing Chat with Rowperfect. Also available for free on iTunes and Soundcloud. These are really great resources for coaches and rowers. There are 30+ more episodes with other rowing coaches, rowers, and experts in the field, all available for free on iTunes, youtube, and Soundcloud.

Strength Coach Roundtable Podcast, Episode 1

Will Ruth: BS Kinesiology, NSCA-CSCS, USA-Weightlifting L1, US-Rowing L2. Western Washington University men’s strength coach. Author of “Rowing Stronger” and

Blake Gourley: MS Sports Performance Training, NASM-CPT, PES, CES, FMS, CFSC, SFMA, FRCms (no, we’re not joking about all those). Los Gatos Rowing Club Performance Director, Santa Clara men’s strength coach, co-owner Movement Evolution Performance Training,

Joe Deleo: NSCA-CSCS, FMS, Rocktape FMTII, StrongFirst L1,

Strength Coach Roundtable Podcast, Episode 2

All about performance! Blake, Joe, and I talk top lifts for rowing performance, getting carryover from the gym to the water, and how to balance the powerlifts, Olympic lifts, and odd lifts in a program.

Strength Coach Roundtable Podcast, Episode 3

On the other side of the coin, we talk strength training for injury prevention. What can we do as rowers, coaches, and strength coaches to help keep rowers healthy?

Strength Coach Roundtable Podcast, Episode 4

Joined by guest Sara Hendershot-Lombardi, Blake and Joe and I talked sport psychology for rowing for over 90 minutes. Tune in for why mental skills can help your training and racing, a mental skills action plan, and tips for recovering from injury, plus the advice of an actual Olympian.

US Rowing Level 2 Clinic Recap

Overall, I felt that this was a highly valuable experience and would really encourage any other rowing coaches to go to the next Level 2 clinic near you. The clinic comes with a 200-page manual (also available as a PDF) that has been useful in the month since the clinic to refer back to. The manual describes rigging, physiology, basic technique and basic errors, safety, coaching practices, and training strategies in just about as good depth and level of detail as you can with 200 pages. This is the 3rd USA Sport certification I’ve done (Weightlifting and Lacrosse) and the only one that had this requirement. All in all, this was a great experience, I’m very glad I went, and I’d encourage any other coaches out there to go as well.