A Coach's Talk
Every single one of you matters.
Look at these women, the rowers around you. Each of you has a purpose here because you are a member of this team and as such each of you drives this process.
Our process. Our growth. Our success.
No matter what level you are, whether you sweep or scull, whether you win medals or not, it doesn't matter.
Every single one of you determines the successful path of this team, not through an erg score, or your technique, or your fitness, but through your relationship with your teammates. THIS matters.
An erg score, your fitness, your technique only matter to a point, but the bonds between teammates will influence you and carry you more than you realize as you stand here in this moment.
Do you want this team to find it's next level?
Then YOU need to find yours.
In order for this team to reach its next summit, each of you must be able to be vulnerable with the other. If you do not feel safe enough to be vulnerable, to push yourself, to risk failure in front of each other, you will not progress from where you are and therefore the team will not progress.
This experience, this team experience, requires more of you than to simply show up.
So look around. Look at the women you are standing with right now and make a promise to each one that you will do more than show up. You will lift them as you rise and they will lift you. You will reach out to them when they fall and they will do the same for you.
A team cannot be what it's athletes are not.
Be growth oriented and keep reaching for your failure point, knowing the whole time that your teammates will be there to lift you up.
The true strength of a team lies within its ability to make the weakest of us stronger. Those that are in search of getting stronger must have the support of the strong. Those that are strong must lift those up that are developing strength. Just like a muscle has to be stressed in order to get stronger, one must go further than what one thinks is possible in order to develop a stronger athlete mindset.
But this will sometimes mean failing and trying again.
It's the failure that helps us, but it's our teammates response to that failure, that shapes us as individual competitors and as a team.
If the response is one of support and encouragement you will be more likely to try again and succeed. If the response is one of avoidance or exclusion you will be less likely to want to repeat the experience and will then mentally pull away from the next challenge, thereby stunting your growth as an athlete.
While we would like to think that our teammates don't have this much power over us, the fact of the matter is, what our teammates think of us, what their experience of us is, and how they communicate that to us, matters a great deal to the teammate mind.
Food for thought.
Row hard, Row well, Compete, Have fun!