Giving Rowing Feedback

 In Faster Masters Rowing Radio

Coaching adults makes it hard to give feedback. Three things to consider.


00:45 Masters may not have a coach. We help each other with in-boat coaching. There isn’t an obvious person who is a leader. Feedback is a delicate topic. Some people may not want to hear what you have to say and you may not have sufficient authority in the eyes of your crew mates.

01:30 Ask first Do you want feedback? Is there a focus for this workout practice? By setting a framework of expectations before you start rowing, there’s a structure which everyone can use during the workout and at the debrief afterwards. Ask each athlete “how did it go?” and “What were you working on?” So you can align your feedback to their needs. 03:00 Group feedback The group dynamic risks whatever is said in the first person who talks tends to lead everyone else to follow their theme. Say one positive thing about the workout. Avoid a spiral of self-criticism. Give each person one thing to work on and one positive message about the workout. Strike an appropriate balance that the athletes are ready to receive and understand.

04:45 Video reviews The tone can be different for this as the whole group watches together. Set the framework at the start – after watching the video you can say anything you like about yourself and your rowing. But observations about other people can only be positive remarks. This helps show that care is needed when choosing words.

06:30 What to look for in a rowing video First ascertain what the athlete can see from their own technique. Playing the short video on a loop means people can watch fast and several times before getting bored. Up-skilling your “eye” watching rowing and sculling so you know what pattern of technique you are trying to achieve and how that compares to your rowing video. Can you help the athlete to see what you can see? Do they realise they are squaring late? Small refinements require skill at looking and seeing subtle movements.

08:30 Unsolicited feedback is never welcome. Ask if they want feedback or coaching first. The other party has to agree to receive feedback first before you give it. When someone says yes they want feedback you have prepared them mentally to receive what you are going to say. They will be more minded to do something about your advice afterwards.

11:00 When coaching masters only focus on one thing per workout, It’s hard to think of more than one thing at a time, So wrap up the discussion with the one thing you want then to work on next time. Set up the best ways of enabling each other to hear the advice and act on feedback offered.


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