May 23, 2001

rowing program people issues

Welcome to All-Rowing, all the time. At least it feels that way sometimes. This morningís practice was very good: I was in a Womenís 8, doing lots of drills, with Yosemite Sam coaching. He was clearly working hard at giving very specific feedback to each person in the boat, including positive feedback; I wasnít the only one to thank him after practice.

YSam has an intensity that scares a lot of Beginners off, but itís not out of place for the Competitive class. He sent out an e-mail yesterday, to all of us, that I thought really put himself on the line. Heís gotten a lot of complaints from Beginners and Intermediates, and, I think, misinterpreted an incident in the Fitness class yesterday; he thought people opted out of rowing under his supervision, when it was really that another person had showed up, allowing them to take a bigger boat. His email stated that heíd taken himself out of coaching the Beginners and Intermediates, and he wanted feedback on whether we thought his attitude was appropriately professional. I replied that while his intensity did scare some learners, we in the Competitive class really appreciated his knowledge and dedication. T is sending him an even more complimentary note. Maybe he doesnít belong with people just learning to row; he expects more than theyíre ready to give. But at our level, heís very good.

Which is more than I can say for DI. Too many of us are fed up with his moodiness, unreliability, and poor planning. He says he welcomes feedback, but heís more apt to take someoneís head off for it. Itís getting to the point that Iím pissed off at almost everything he says, which of course isnít right either. Several of what I think of as the core people are planning to meet on Tuesday to discuss what we can do about him. We donít want to get his kicked out; heís got a passion for the sport that has gotten quite a few people hooked on rowing and heís really put his heart in the Junior program (to the degree that I think itís hurting the Masters rowers, in fact). We need to figure out our own way to lead from within, to keep his vision but have the planning work done by those of us who can actually do it well, and to make sure weíre getting accurate information from the city about our program.

Posted by dichroic at May 23, 2001 08:31 AM
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