Coaching, Goal Setting and Questions of the Day

Hello everybody,
It was great to have so many paddlers out on the boat on Sunday.  We can really feel the power potential in the boat – once we got our timing together.  I will continue moving people around in the boat – to give each person a sense of what it is like to paddle front and back, left and right.  I want you to find out where you feel you are most strong on.
Remember we are paddling Wednesday.  We meet at 6pm for warmup and on the boat at 6:30pm.  If you are going to be late please call me on my cell phone 604-240-7090 or Bob Brinson 604-341-3968.  We will bring extra life jackets and paddles and we can meet you at a convenient spot.  eg. Cambie St. Dock (under Cambie St. Bridge South side) at 6:45 Round House ferry dock at 7pm, Granville Island at 7:15pm.  But please don't be late…
For coaching – I believe in empowering the athlete.  We want to support you in your growth and discovery of this sport – rather than impose a rigid system on you.  Bob and I are taking all the things that we have liked about dragon boats and forgoing all the things that we have not liked – and are trying to roll them into this season's training.  Dave Montrose wanted to help introduce mental training components – so we are working this in too. 
If you have ideas please mention them to me.  For example, Adrienne Wong last year discovered the similarities between the dragon boat preparation and training to what she does as an actor for performance.  Over the years I have coached corporate teams applying principles of Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, for a Church team I integrated Deepak Chopra, for competitive teams I integrated sports psychology techniques.  Bob Brinson has also coached many teams most notably he has been a pioneer coach with breast cancer and seniors teams.  The important thing about coaching is to find ways to relate to the athletes and ensure it is the right training level – eg. competitve, recreational or novice. 
Being playful is good – it opens us to new ideas – just like multiculturalism!!!
Having a Question for our stretch time serves 2 major purposes.  A) We get to interact and learn not only each other's names but also about each other – This helps develop team cohesion and team spirit as we start to look out for each other; B) It addresses a different topic for each practice that we can work on.  This keeps every practice from being boring and makes it more fun to coach.  My goals are to have fun coaching, and have a team that is fun to coach – These are some of the tools that I use to accomplish these goals.
Goal setting
The goal setting exercises organized by Dave are great both for the team and for personal use.   In our “Question of the Day” stretching session, we discovered that there are many people both from last year and new this year – who are here for fun. 
We have a few paddlers who want to win medals too.  For me, winning medals is lots of fun.  I miss it when I don't win the medals.  But it is much more important to be part of a team that still talks to each other and socializes together than it is to win medals at the risk of alienating people. 
This is accomplished by setting criteria for my coaching and for the team such as: Be inclusive; have fun; ensure people feel a part of the team; have a full roster of paddlers; expectations for team and individuals are being met; paddler development continues to improve.
Goals are made more easily accomplishable by breaking them down into elements that are more concrete.  As Dave explained – “Having Fun is a general statement” rather than a specific goal.  Having fun is accomplished by a) getting to know people on the team b) feeling a sense of accomplishment in paddle improvement c) trying new things by challenging oneself beyond your comfort zone d) attending social gatherings for the team eg. eating together after practices e) showing up to as many practices as possible f) making a commitment to look for positive outlooks instead of negative critical problems.
We will continue to take new paddlers to continue to build the team into a club of 2 teams. We will take out two boats if necessary – to fit everybody on.  But the registration per festival will be limited.
Please feel free to e-mail comments back to me – or to post them on  Posting will eliminate people getting lots and lots of e-mails during the day.
Cheers, Todd

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