Noel Donaldson is the coach behind both the Kiwi Pair and Australia’s Oarsome Foursome – arguably their most successful crew over recent olympiads. He has more recently coached the Kiwi Pair and the NZ mens eight. We discuss how he worked with Eric Murray and Hamish Bond who were already successful by building flexibility into their training.
Timestamps to the interview:
0.00 Background in rowing
02:00 the history of the Australian Oarsome Foursome
06:00 Coaching athletes from the beginning – never assume you know it all – every athlete is different
09:00 Schools are a microcosm of elite sporting programmes when modern equipment came in they started chasing wins
12:00 Club rowing and the elite programme. Centralised system was resisted by clubs. They have a role in athlete development.
16:00 Centralised versus decentralised training programmes
18:00 Starting with a new crew – land education on the ergo. Mix of other athlete experiences. Put a second button on the oar for beginners or para pontoons onto a fine boat to create stability.
24:00 Working with the Kiwi Pair their best attribute was their will to win and physical prowess and mental toughness. Nuances of the pair and their race strategies 6:08.5 best time
30:00 Traditional training approach is keeping it simple. Plus adding incentives like touring to race and the coxed pair
32:00 Building flexibility into the programme using a shared calendar for external commitments.
36:00 How to race while respecting the opposition and yet having no fear.
41:00 International priorities for this year.
47:00 Russia and China and how do selectors pick crews. Listen to the athlete voices about what works and what doesn’t work.
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