So there is one girl on our team who is tinier than the rest of the team and she doesn’t pull as hard. She is pretty committed and went to all of our winter practices and meetings but her scores are a lot lower than other members. I have heard a few of the other rowers saying, “Why doesn’t she just quit?” And I’m the coxswain so it is my job to keep morale up. I just don’t know what to do in this situation. I tried talking to the other girls but nothing has changed.
Ah, been there. I watched a similar situation go down my sophomore year. We had a girl join our team who was enthusiastic, tried hard, was well liked by everyone, etc. but she had trouble keeping up with the other girls on the ergs because she was pretty small. Her technique was good and I think that helped make up for some of the strength deficits but most people only ever looked at her erg times, which weren’t good.
I was sitting with my friend who was the senior coxswain after practice one day and we overheard some of the varsity girls say the same thing – “Why doesn’t she just quit?” and my friend stepped in and said “Let me ask you a question. Would you rather have a teammate who tries but might not be as strong as you or a teammate who goes around talking about other people behind their back?”.
That ended up causing a huge argument which our coach ended up dealing with by basically telling the girls that they can either be supportive of their teammate who shows up (on time, everyday), gives 100% whenever she’s asked, is excited to be here, and does fine on the water or they can quit, because we don’t want or need rowers (let alone varsity rowers) who are willing to take whatever opportunity they find to talk down about another rower. If they don’t think she’s rowing like they think she should be, why aren’t they helping her? Why aren’t they giving her advice, sitting on the erg with her, etc.?
I would pose those questions to your teammates. I’d rather have a smaller rower who I know I can throw in the bow of nearly any boat than have a rower who thinks it’s OK to talk like that about a teammate.