We have great coaches at Lake Washington Rowing Club - serving rowers of all abilities and aspirations. Bill Skilling was a standout, ranking right up there with Frank Cunningham and Hugh Lade.
So, what are the qualities that make a good coach?
- Patience and tenacity
- A love of newcomers entering the sport
- The ability to communicate clearly - to translate rowing vernacular into terms we understand
- A clear and ever-present respect for the rowers - the tacit recognition that we are accomplished in our own fields
- Refusal to ridicule participants
- The ability to give one prompt - or work on one problem - at a time
- Humor - absolutely critical! In Bill's case, the tendency to lapse into fluent Norwegian at a moment's notice. Or to call an end to the practice so that one of the rowers could make her pedicure appointment - hardly; she was going to work!
- The basics of being prepared, being on time, respecting participants'schedules
- The quality of taking the workout seriously, but not so seriously as to preclude fun.
But perhaps the most important message a coach can deliver is that each rower is physically and emotionally safe. After all, that's when the best learning occurs.
It's been a wonderful season. Thanks to Bill, and to all of the excellent coaches at LWRC.
Linda Gromko, MD