Tips for coaching neurodiverse rowers

Hello again Reader

Welcome to the new coaches just joining this group – we now have over 490 people getting this coaching newsletter. Do forward it to your colleagues – they can sign up here.

The recording from our call last week is saved in the Coach Mastermind module. And a summary of the topics we reviewed is below.

There was an interesting discussion about coaching neurodiverse athletes in the Facebook Group. Some of us likely also work with folks like this – or will do in future. I hope this is useful.

Does anybody here have any experience of teaching/coaching teenagers with autism and/or ADHD? Do you have any practical tips or guidance? Also, are there perhaps any websites anyone can recommend? Thank you!

Read the full discussion and join the conversation.

Have a great coaching month.


From beginner to expert

Coaching Adult Beginners in the Art of Rowing

Beginning to row is unlike any other sport – before you try, nobody can “just row”, especially in a fine racing boat. When I teach beginners, I remind them that the most famous Olympic rowers were EXACTLY like them when they began in the sport.

Why is rowing so different?

The sequence of body movements in the rowing and sculling stroke is unlike anything else we do in our normal lives. Where else would you straighten your legs, then swing your back and bend your arms in that order?

As rowing coaches, you know this and understand how teaching rowing requires use of drills and exercises which help the athlete to learn to fire their muscles in the correct order.

There are two types of rowing drill

  1. Exaggeration drills – where we work to increase the effect of part of the stroke cycle
  2. Isolation drills – where we work on one part of the stroke cycle

Both are really useful as methods for teaching athletes to make the correct movements.

We also know just how long it can take for an adult beginner to become proficient in the basics of rowing and sculling. Unlike youth rowers who frequently practice four or more times a week, an adult may only do two classes each week. And so it takes more elapsed time for them to have the same number of lessons. Plus adults learn differently from young people ….. [article continues online].

Notes from May mastermind

Topic : Parents’ interactions with rowing coaches

  • Who runs the program? Parents or the club. This shifts the dynamic
  • Lineup decisions for practice – why your child can’t go in this crew today….
  • Parents’ committees – what they’re really good at doing
  • Attendance registers are proof-points
  • Rules about attending regattas e.g. each person has to make 9 out of the last 10 practices

Would you join us next month? The Coach Mastermind is your professional development goldmine. Collaborative learning, sharing tips and deepening knowledge. Join us in June – 100% refund guarantee if it’s not what you need.

Top coach hacks and tips

Get a label maker. Use this to mark boats and seats with the name of the boat, seat number and the year of manufacture – so you know which are interchangeable.

Waiting to get boats named. You know… someone says they’ll fund raise or auction off each boat name and never gets around to it… and the boat gets called “the green single” or the “ladies quad”. So you start to call it a name you want chosen…. then the athletes call it the same thing…. and eventually you can quietly get it listed with that name on the club’s insurance register. After that, buy a decal and stick the name on the boat!

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