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Row Together

By April 26, 2020July 28th, 2021No Comments

Presentation by Eric & Traci Barany at their 1st Team Meeting

Rowing is the ultimate teamwork sport; all team members have to work in unison and be both physically & technically exact. Every competing athlete, every coach and every behind the scenes team member will work together to achieve success.

Alex Gregory (British Rower) stated in 2013 that the British Rowing Team is defined by and relies upon teamwork in one form or another, he goes onto explain that teamwork is never more apparent than in an eight-man boat. It takes months of practice and development to produce an eight-man crew, relying on eight athletes, a cox and a coach. The whole team works together in mind and body through weeks of intense training ensuring that everyone works together in exact unison. Any tiny difference in timing, positioning or mind-set can have a negative effect on the speed of the boat.

Communication is a key part of rowing; physical communication is transferred to each crew member by movements in the boat as well as verbal communication in feedback. Alex Gregory explains that before every training session the crew will discuss what they plan to achieve, how they are going to achieve it, and how they are feeling. Following the session, the team will discuss whether the session achieved their goal, what worked and more importantly what didn’t work. Alex goes on to explain that there can be disagreements, not everyone has to feel the same way about the session, however they all have one thing that links them together above everything else… everyone wants to win!

Teamwork is fundamental to the success of any organization and is not automatic, it needs developing over time. Like a rowing crew, to get any team to work in unison, it requires training and development. Teamwork is a process of a group of people working collaboratively together in order to achieve a common goal.

Traci and I answered the question:
Recall a time you were part of a team or group.
What attributes made the team or group successful?
In my letter, I recalled being part of my high school wrestling team. The attributes that made us successful were first and foremost the Coach. He provided positive reinforcement himself- and expected us as teammates to do the same.
Negativity was seen as weakness not just for the individual but for the entire team.
We also had very consistent, organized, thoughtful and strategic practices – both before and after matches –
Coach always reinforced what we had worked to accomplish each practice, what worked, what didn’t and how to get better. He never was void of an idea or new workout himself to help us get stronger- and encouraged us all to do the same- even if it meant thinking outside of the box- sometimes resulting in pain and agony until we got used to it.
My feelings sharing this were confident and proud.  My confident feeling sounds like a tile saw.  In nature my confident feeling would be an empty campsite about to become a temporary home.  My confident feeling taste like the Eucharist.  To the touch, it would be security from a seat belt.  My confident feeling smells like buckets of sweat after wrestling practice.  If my confident feeling were sitting at a table, it would be reclined with sunglasses on and his feet up- just chilling.

In my letter I recalled being part of my high school track team- particularly being part of the 4×100 meter relay.
I remember how much Coach Bancroft would work to unify us- He would constantly reiterate to us- that if the four of us were not all strong during our leg, the team could not possibly win- We always had someone on the team who was the fastest- but the pressure on that one team members shoulder to carry everyone’s leg- would never win the race. Each of us had to appreciate what we each brought to the team and utilize our strengths rather than worry about who was the best.
I remember feeling disappointed because coach never gave me the chance to be a starter- rather I was most always – the 3rd leg in the relay- I would constantly ask- why – he would say with some authority- because- You simply aren’t the fastest,  You definitely aren’t  the most athletic, but you have the unique ability to run the curve without losing momentum and focus. Coach Bancroft knew how to use our strengths and our weaknesses in the most effective way to benefit the team. He wasn’t afraid to point out BOTH for the betterment of the team.  Yet, he was always carefu to recognize our individual contributions and how much they led to the overall success.
My feeling writing and recalling this was empowered.
My empowered feeling is a 9/10.
My empowered feeling reminds me of my mom teaching me how to drive and allowing me to take the wheel for the first time- while driving a stick- while sitting at a stop sign on a hill- with a car behind us.
My empowered feeling sounds like my boss implementing and sharing my ideas to the whole company and seeing it come to life.
An image that comes to mind of empowered feeling that comes to mind is envisioning our forefathers as they each signed the constitution/followed by an explosive array of fireworks- knowing their vision came to fruition.
To the touch, my empowered feeling is a flawless hand off of the baton to my teammate- the leg four runner – resulting in a team victory.

There is no perfect team- but when teams strive to embrace the basic principles of communication, consistent practice, embracing of ideas, unison and recognition and respect – ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.
After all- there is no I in TEAM.
We would now like you all to answer the same question Traci and I did.
Recall a time you were part of a team or group.
What attributes made the team or group successful?