My experience with rowing began my freshman year at UC Irvine where I was recruited as a coxswain. I can honestly say that crew is by far the most exciting and rewarding sport I have participated in. It has contributed significantly to my work ethic individually and as a team player. Balancing 5:00am practices, a rigorous workout schedule, and travel, with academic life has taught me dedication, time management and commitment to a common goal. Imagine commanding and motivating eight athletes, twice your size, through the most painful seven minutes of their life… all while steering a boat, keeping track of stroke rate, heeding the officials and making sure the coxswain next to you doesn’t come crashing into your lane. It is not surprising then that crew has enhanced my skills in leadership, communication, multi-tasking and working under pressure.
By far the most valuable lesson I have learned from my college experience in crew is to focus on the success of the boat as a whole. One of my biggest challenges comes from my biggest strength: being detail-oriented. I pride myself in being able to take control of most situations I am thrown into and producing a well executed strategy for success. However, every rower has their own set of strengths and challenges along with an individual set of expectations they have for me as a coxswain. The key is to find a rhythm that can keep the boat moving without getting caught up on controlling every aspect of the stroke. In a way, this has significantly influenced my teaching philosophy which you can read more about on this site.
After college, I went on to coach the MSU club crew. Coaching college students is much different from coxing them and requires a separate mentality. It is more hands off – my success comes from my ability to create an independent crew who can take everything I have taught them and make it work out on the water without me. In many ways, my teaching has become a fine balance between coxing (commanding my classroom) and coaching (trusting my students to take the skills they have learned and apply them). These days I still offer private coaching when I have time and run a learn-to-row program for the Lansing Rowing Club in the summers.