Question of the Day

As a coach, do you feel that it is ever acceptable to refuse coaching to one specific individual solely on the basis of personal differences? My coach of two years this morning threw me out of his squad, not on the basis that I am a poor rower, that I don’t have potential, or that I don’t train, simply because he finds me difficult to deal with.

I guess my first question is why does he find you difficult to deal with? Coaches don’t normally just decide something like that, it’s usually something they notice and try to deal with over a period of time and then after deciding it’s either not worth their time anymore or is becoming too much of a distraction to your teammates, then they’ll remove you from practice(s) until you … change, for lack of a better word.

In certain situations, I do think it’s acceptable. I don’t think “refusing coaching” is the right term though because I (and most coaches) wouldn’t straight upย refuse to coach you but I don’t see a problem with telling you to just go home if I felt like the situation/your attitude warranted it. You could be the best rower or coxswain on the team with a wealth of potential but if I think you’re a pain in the ass because you’re being uncooperative, uncoachable, or are being a distraction to the rest of the crew for whatever reason then yea, I wouldn’t have a problem telling you you’re out of the boat for the day/week.

If I was ever in this positionย I wouldn’t put you on land, I’d just send you home. I’m not a huge believer in punishing someone by putting them on the erg because I think that sends the wrong message about what the erg’s purpose is. If I find you difficult to deal with for whatever reason, chances are I also think that you’re wasting my time and having some kind of negative impact on your teammates’ ability to train. Why would I “reward” you by giving you the opportunity to continue training, even if it is on land, if you’ve been taking that opportunity away from your teammates for the last few practices? Time on the water is a valuable commodity that I don’t want to waste and if I think you’re wasting people’s time, I’m most certainly going to make you aware of it by taking away your opportunity to train.

After practice was over though or the following day I’d at least make the effort to talk to you to explain my reasoning for taking you out of the boat and try to get your side of the story to see if maybe there’s an underlying issue contributing to things. Basically I’d try to give you an opportunity to take ownership of the situation and recognize that your own actions are probably 99.9% of the reason why you’re on the erg and not in the boat. Doing that is a lot more effective in the long run than just saying “leave” and completely refusing to coach you, at least in my opinion.

On the flip side, if the coach is saying to get out of the boat and that they’re not going to coach you because you voted for this person instead of that person on one of those inane talent shows –ย those kind of personal differences – then yea, I think that’s unacceptable.

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