In rowing and sculling, there are two types of people:
The first type, even when he has reasonable evidence to believe that he is the best boat-mover in his crew, always wonders if he is worthy of rowing with his boatmates, and sets about every day to be an oarsman that can be counted on in every situation.
The other type always wonders if his boatmates are worthy of rowing with him, and is pure poison to a crew even when he is the fittest, strongest, and most talented oar in the boat.
If you are looking to create or be part of a championship crew, start by getting every rower with the latter attitude out of your boat, even if it means demoting your “best” rower. My colleague Ric Ricci once summed it up nicely – speaking of his pair partner from college with whom he won many races including the IRA’s, he said “Whenever the boat wasn’t going well, I always blamed myself and Dave always blamed himself. As soon as you start blaming the other guy, you’re done. You might as well get out of the boat.” Take that one to the bank, and always bet on a boat full of people who trust each other and want to row together over a bunch of guys who think they’re the guy everyone should want to row with. Trust wins races, even over superior physiology.
Troy Howell coaches at Craftsbury Sculling Center and is the author of Achieving Ease and Comfort in the Boat
This article first published on Troy’s Blog.