Author of The Long Win, Cath is challenging our approach to success.
A multi-Olympian and world medalist, she asks what does winning mean?
How “winning” holds us back
And presents a new approach to winning
Buy Cath’s book https://amzn.to/2IPCKVT
Rowing Retailer Directory – every rowing business listed and categorised for YOU. Find what you want from oars to gifts, from coaching to ergs.
Timestamps to the show
03:00 Background in rowing – 2 Boat Races, 3 Olympics but she was categorised as not a sporty girl at school.
07:00 I was envious of the camaraderie the sporting girls had in the novice boat and decided to give it a try. This gave me the freedom to opt in it was liberating. Rowing is collaborative from the start
12:30 The Long Win book – my own reckoning as an Olympic rower. The culture of rowing and the love of the sport got me on the path to GB trials. This was about to get serious.
15:00 I tried to be the toughest. It didn’t help me to be fast in a rowing boat. Sydney was a disaster when we came 9th. Sports psychology was about the performance mindset and this helped me. Diplomatic work is all about how you see success. Can we all gain? Binary win/lose never works.
19:30 How did you feel when you crossed the line? Second is the first “loser” position.
22:45 What can sport for all take from the Long Win? Participation and medals need to be connected more. We make false separations. We have an obsession with spotting talent. It’s about connection, life skills as well.
25:30 What are the stories about YOUR club which you want telling?
28:30 Rowing can be a beacon in the community. Different groups – social challenges of obesity and mental health. We should be ambitious – broaden the framework for health and sport.
31:00 Lessons for how we teach coaches. The learning pathway for coaches should be ongoing. It’s isolating – the mantra of 1 coach to 1 crew is not inviolate, team coaching, peer coaching are possible. The macho narrative. Creating an ongoing pathway learning to develop the environment into which athletes come. More autonomy and success criteria beyond medals.
36:30 Peer coaching – a competitive classroom does not help learning. We set up unhelpful competition against our peers. Alfie Kohn criticises education. https://www.alfiekohn.org/
39:00 What is the purpose of school rowing? What lessons can we learn. Is it about setting you up for a healthy life or winning at Henley? How to measure success? How many of your class still row 10 years later? How many people are we losing from the sport?
44:00 Broaden the success criteria – situate it with other things. Pupils setting up activity clubs, teaching nutrition to the rest of the school. Your responsibility as an athlete. Discipline, healthy life and a platform.
48:00 The challenging conversation – how to start it with your club committee? We have a sense of review and improvement. Enable the ongoing conversation. It’s not a threat to the status quo. People really need to be heard and feel they are totally understood. A good place to start. There’s a kernel of truth in every perspective. The Long Now Foundation debates are worth watching. The aim is to understand both views.
54:30 The leader facilitating the great ideas – rather than having all the answers.
57:00 Cath’s Rowing Tale about her trip to Galway to race.
Buy Cath’s book