Tony O’Connor

 In RowingChat

Coach of the New Zealand Olympic gold medal winning eight – Tony talks to us about his journey as a coach.
01:00 My journey as a coach – Trinity College Dublin women and novices squads. I became a better rower because of having coached.
03:30 Coaches speak a lot of rubbish.
I learned quickly not to say anything that doesn’t add value.
My little notebook of ideas.
06:50 Rowing drills – your only limit is your imagination
The Steve Fairbairn influence
09:30 Do all athletes become coaches? Being a learner and a teacher is different
13:30 My final race as an athlete was 2002 LM2-
I became the coach of the national team alongside Thor Nilsen.
I felt guilty about jumping to the top of coaching to justify myself in I coached novices
2017 I coached the New Zealand junior – Alan Cotter and Barrie Mabbett invited me to discuss my future
19:30 I got approached again in 2019 for an eight to qualify for Tokyo – a 3 month engagement.
21:00 Qualifying didn’t happen in 2019. We need to move together better.
Finding the middle ground to get a boat moving.
25:00 If the crew had qualified in 2019 I don’t think we would have won the Olympic gold medal. The project almost came to a halt.
Sending a crew to Final Qualification Regatta – we were closer to the gold medal standard than others who had medaled and qualified in 2019
27:00 We instilled a better culture in the team
The women’s team were our shining light – everything they did with positivity and honesty.
Pivotal discussions, arguments, tears, shouting matches – we did them all.
The tight team – teach the rower to teach themselves.
Tom Macintosh is 22 and he stood up and said wha he thought which took courage.
32:00 Know who you are working with – put your dreams in their hands
34:00 seating decisions. We weren’t happy at selection.
We took 21 days and we tried everything.
In any crew there is a magical seating that can gain you distance
39:00 Moving Shaun Kirkham from 3 to 7 seat.
45:00 In Tokyo we went into the repecharge – this was a key moment.
You can put some mistakes to bed in a repecharge.
The 250-500m section of the race was scratchy. Rate 41 and really in our head 2nd was a good result behind the Dutch. We agreed to chat tonight.
It was a “schoolmaster moment”. Our next time of the water before the Tokyo Olympic final we did 2 drills – in pairs doing feathered rowing to feel the boat work.
And slap catches – try to break the oar to tire out the shoulders make the crew more relaxed.
We practiced hitting 38 in our pieces.
We had re-iterated our rhythm,. We had to live or die by our rhythm.
50:00 In the final we called stride twice firstly fro 47 down to 42 and the cox Sam Bosworth called it 3 times in the final.
54:00 Sean Colgan told us that the best time to attack is when everyone else is buggered.
Tony did not watch the olympic Final but he managed to see the crew come across the line.
I don’t watch rowing races…..

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