Join In! Celebrate the First-Ever Coach Appreciation Week

Things are heating up on the water as the rowing community swings into the thick of the fall head racing season. With the 52nd Head of the Charles medals presented proudly on our mantels and eyes set on the Schuylkill River – USRowing decided to set some time aside for the leaders of our fearless crews: the coaches!

Join USRowing in celebrating the first annual Coaches Appreciation Week alongside honorary co-chairs and national U.S. National Team coaches Bryan Volpenhein and Sarah Trowbridge as we honor the coaches in our lives!

Getting Involved

Want to give your coach the shout-out during Coach Appreciation Week? Here’s How –

Like and follow USRowing on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Tag your photos and messages with #CoachAppreciation. Winners will be selected from messages posted October 24-30.

Looking for some inspiration? Take note of these topics or get creative with your own way of showing just how important your coach is to you and your crew.

  • Instagram your favorite picture of your coach with your team on the medal stand after a big win.
  • Tweet the best advice you have ever received from a coach.
  • Post on Facebook a photo of the team surprising the coach with some hot coffee before your morning row.
  • Relive a moment where you witnessed your coach go above and beyond for your crew.

Winners with the best post will be selected at the end of each day and will receive a swag bag of stickers, autographs and USRowing memorabilia. At the end of the week, each winner will be in the running for the grand prize – a free pass to the Advanced Coaches Conference at the 2016 USRowing Annual Convention!

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As we get closer to the 2016 Golden Oars Awards ceremony, we took some time to talk to some of the rowing community’s favorite coaches about who inspired them to pick up the bullhorn…

Yunian Cabrera

“Rolando Gamon was my first coach at age 14. When I started in Cuba with him, there were 35 boys on my team and I was ranked 32. I immediately felt so much love and passion for the sport and to this day, I share with my team at Belen the words Coach Gamon told us, “it doesn’t matter how many championships you’ve won, the best rowers will make the boat.” He showed and taught our team that for the love for sport one had to sacrifice push themselves. He pushed us hard, and he did this while showing us all love and respect. A year ago, he officially became one of our Assistant Coaches at Belen Jesuit Preparatory School. He has helped shape and guide who I am through the discipline, love and passion for the sport of rowing.

Nich Lee

A lot of coaches and mentors have influenced me from childhood sports coaches to those I still trust to beat me up in the gym. There are three people that stick out in my memory, however, and they are John Pescatore, Chris Weait and Jimmy Joy.

John Pescatore took a chance on me as a young coach. I was still searching for my approach to coaching, the right words, the right philosophy, and I was always in thought. Here was this legend of a rower, a world champion, a two-time Olympian, and he was spending his time sharing his knowledge with me. I’ll be forever grateful to him.  

Chris Weait, who has no rowing connections, was my bassoon professor in college. Professor Weait once asked me what percent of the notes I needed to learn if I was going to play a concerto. I obviously learned 100% of the notes and played the piece for him. He responded by telling me that the space between the notes was music too. It was a lesson in understanding that one has to be extremely mindful to see the full picture of what we’re trying to achieve in a great performance. That lesson holds true in rowing too.

Finally, Jimmy Joy has been a significant influence on my entire approach to coaching and life. He helped me learn to see coaching as an integrated model with multiple categories that influence performance. He shared his own experiences and I joined his “family” of students (including my college coach, Peter Steenstra). The best part is they are people who are willing to share anything and everything they have learned. There are no secrets, just the pursuit of being better coaches. That all comes from his mentorship and dedication to building the sport.  

Gabriele Cipollone

Ted Nash was there when I joined Penn AC in 1996 and when I decided to become a coach, he gave me guidance. As a member of the women’s eight in 1997, I liked his coaching style and his techniques for bringing a crew together. He was funny, but at the same time he pushed us to our limits.

I always will remember what he told me once, something his father taught him, “If you want to teach, never use ‘Don’t do that’, instead say ‘Try it this way.”

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