Olympia, WA – 2017

Joy of Sculling/George Pocock Rowing Foundation

Coaches’ Conference

Friday, February 10th – Sunday, February 12th, 2017
The Red Lion Inn
Olympia, WA

The Joy of Sculling/George Pocock Rowing Foundation Coaches’ Conference will take place at the The Red Lion Inn in Olympia, WA from Friday, February 10th through Sunday, February 12th, 2017. Coaches from all levels from Juniors to Masters are invited to attend, engage in the dialogue, share and enjoy an educational weekend.


View the Full Schedule (PDF)

Friday, February 10, 2017

  • 4-6 p.m. – Registration at the Red Lion [Lobby]
  • 6-7:15 p.m. – Keynote: Jason Dorland: Chariots and Horses: Life Lessons from an Olympic Rower [State]
  • 7:20-8:50 p.m. – Workshop #1
    • McNeely – Psychophysiological Aspects of Program Design [Rainier]
    • Morrow – Building a Rowing Program from the Bottom Up [State]
    • Teitelbaum – Cultural Lessons Learned [Olympic]
  • 8:50-9:30 p.m. – George Pocock Foundation Wine and Cheese Reception [State]

Saturday, February 11, 2017

  • 8:30-10 a.m. – Workshop #2
    • Acosta – Effective College Programming [State]
    • Draper – Assessing the Drive Phase & How Best to Move the Boat [Olympic]
    • McNeely – Strength Training for Young Athletes [Rainier]
  • 10-10:20 a.m. – Coffee Break
  • 10:20-11:50 a.m. – Workshop #3
    • Morrow – Building a Rowing Program from the Bottom Up [State]
    • Ray – Building an Empowering Program for Young Girls [Rainier]
    • Teitelbaum – Staff Team Building [Olympic]
  • 12:15-1:30 p.m. – A Wonderful Lunch [State]
  • 1:45-3:15 p.m. – Workshop #4
    • Lopez – Developing Leadership in Club Coaches [State]
    • McNeely – Psychophysiological Aspects of Program Design [Rainier]
    • Parr – Athlete Centered Coaching [Olympic]
  • 3:15-3:30 p.m. – Coffee Break
  • 3:30-5 p.m. – Workshop #5
    • Draper – Biomechanics in Collegiate Rowing [Rainier]
    • Morrow – Top 10 Tips to Gain Speed on the Water [State]
    • Teitelbaum – Cultural Lessons Learned [Olympic]
  • 5:05-6:20 p.m. – Panel – Acosta, Draper, Morrow, Moderator: Matt Lacey [Cedar Hemlock]
    • Topic – The Equipment: Cost, Speed Increase, etc.
  • 6:30 to 7:15 pm – Beer Social [Fir Room]

Sunday, February 12, 2017

  • 8:30-10 a.m. – Workshop #6
    • Acosta – Effective College Programming [Rainier]
    • Parr – Athlete Centered Coaching [Olympic]
    • Volpenhein – The Recovery and Entry, the Drive and the Release – The Two Wholes [State ]
  • 10:05-11 a.m. – Panel – Acosta, Parr, Volpenhein, Moderator: Matt Lacey [Cedar Hemlock]

Special Thanks to All of Our Sponsors:

Concept2; George Pocock Rowing Foundation; Hudson Boat Works; JL Racing; Pocock Racing Shells; SewSporty

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Conference Objectives

To create an enjoyable learning environment in which coaches share their ideas and practices and develop their understanding of Integral Coaching: a comprehensive approach to instruction.

“Integral means wholeness, and in the case of integrative coaching, it comprises all of the various disciplines of knowledge, anatomy, physics, biomechanics, physiology, psychology,neuroscience, and all of our life experiences, forming a holistic teaching approach. This coaching approach balances analytical, linear type thinking from our academic training with the intuitional and integral thinking from our various life and coaching. experiences. The conference offerings attempts to be a very fine balance between the experimental and experiential, having, ‘no stone is left untouched.’”

In keeping with our partnership with the George Pocock Foundation we are striving for “Harmony, Balance, and Rhythm”1 in our Coaching.

1 Harmony, Balance, and Rhythm are the words of George Pocock.

How Will You Benefit?

  • Enhance your understanding of the various levels and areas of technical/scientific skills and knowledge.
  • Cultivate a high performance culture a.m.ong athletes at all levels to optimize the likelihood of long-term benefits.
  • Develop an understanding of the important introductory level activity of our sport.
  • Acquire the understanding of how to build a strong coaching support team by incorporating appropriate levels of expert support from both within the club and from external consultants.
  • Learn how to evaluate your own performance in order to modify your own coaching.
  • Develop your understanding of Integral Coaching.
  • Exchange ideas within the network of the conference in a non-competitive environment.

Location and Accommodations

The Red Lion Inn
2300 Evergreen Park Dr SW
Olympia, WA 98502
Website: www.redlion.com/olympia

Hotel: Rooms are $119 per night.

Cut off Date: 1/20/2017. After this date, rooms not covered by a rooming list or individual reservations shall be released from Group’s room block and Hotel may contract with other parties for the use of such rooms. Hotel may continue to accept reservations from Group’s attendees after that date at the prevailing room rate, subject to availability.


  • November 1 – November 30: $260 Registrants will receive a free JoS shirt.
  • December 1 January 3: $280
  • anuary 4 – February 3: $320


No Refunds after January 10, 2017.

No registrations after February 3, 2017.

Speakers and Presentations

Al Acosta

Al Acosta, a 1993 University of California, Berkeley graduate who became a five-time National Coach of the Year leading the Stanford women’s lightweight team, is in his second season as head women’s crew coach for the Golden Bears.

Acosta, who grew up in Berkeley, attended Berkeley High School and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Cal with a degree in fine arts in 1993, started the Stanford lightweight program in 2001 and guided the Cardinal for 13 consecutive years. He led the squad to four straight IRA national titles from 2010-13 before the school posted a runner-up finish this past spring. Acosta was honored as the National Lightweight Coach of the Year for the first time in 2008 when Stanford earned a bronze medal at the national regatta, as well as for each of the team’s national championships.

In 2013, Rowing Magazine named Stanford as the “Crew of the Year” as the top collegiate rowing program in the country. In addition to on-the-water success, Acosta’s student-athletes have achieved a 100 percent graduation rate during his tenure.

Prior to accepting his role at Stanford, Acosta worked with the country’s top junior programs, the Oakland Strokes rowing program, for eight years. He served as head girls’ coach from 1994-96 and as head boys’ coach from 1997-2001. His boys’ varsity eight captured California state titles in 1998 and ’99 and finished a.m.ong the nation’s top three in 1997, ’98 and ’99. In addition, Acosta was the head men’s master’s coach for the Lake Merritt Rowing Club in Oakland from 1997-2001.

On the national level, Acosta served as chair of the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association Lightweight Committee from 2007-09. He has also been a head coach and associate head coach at national team develop.m.ent camps for both high school boys and college women.

Acosta and his wife, Linda, have two children and reside in San Francisco.

Effective College Programming
How to build an effective college education that considers the total person. Al will employ his many years in college coaching to explore this topic with the group.

Jason Dorland

Jason Dorland is an author, Olympian, coach, entrepreneur and storyteller who has dedicated his life to the pursuit of excellence for himself and those he supports. He is a graduate of The Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, taught high school for 15 years and is the co-founder of Left Coast Naturals—an organic and natural food manufacturer and distributor in Vancouver. During his 10 years of coaching high school rowing, Jason’s crews won 12 International Championship events, set a Canadian course record time and won back-to-back events with the same four athletes—a feat never before achieved at a National Championship. When Jason is not sharing his experiences and life lessons through his keynotes and workshops, he consults as a high performance coach for athletes, artists and executives while writing his follow up book: SIX DAYS AWAY.

Keynote: Chariots and Horses
“The most devastating moment of my life.” is how Jason Dorland used to describe Olympic final failure in rowing at the 1988 Seoul Summer Games. Now, Jason describes that moment as a “gift”, the catalyst to his most powerful and profoundly transformative life experience ever. In-it-to-win-it, Jason was all about results, never stopping to appreciate or even notice the incredible journey that he was a part of. He defined himself by those results, a winner if having won, and a loser if having lost. However, the definition of “Olympic loser” proved too much for Jason and he struggled for years to not only find a new personal identity, but also purpose in his life after rowing.

Jason chronicles that experience and more in his critically acclaimed memoir, CHARIOTS AND HORSES: Life Lessons from an Olympic Rower. This inspiring pageturner openly reveals his tumultuous journey in the hopes of cultivating a healthier outlook not only for athletes, but anyone who strives for greater purpose within their own lives.

Conny Draper

Since 1996, I have worked as an Sports Biomechanist within elite sport at a World and Olympic level for many national federations. I completed my Sports Science Degree and Masters thesis in Germany and since then, been primarily based in Australia with my family where I was working at the Australian and NSW Institute of Sport and completed my PhD in Sydney in 2006.

My technical expertise as an applied sports biomechanist is focused mainly around rowing and canoe kayak; although I also have wide ranging experience in advising and delivering biomechanical services to a range of other sports – at Provincial and National level including diving, swimming, track and field, volleyball, football and Parasports.

In 2012 I became a FISA member of the Technology and Equipment Commission (advisory committee incl. monitoring and control of equipment and technological developments & issues).

Our family moved to Switzerland at the end of 2013 where I a.m. currently self-employed and offer applied sports biomechanical/scientific consulting service internationally – to several national rowing federations, collegial University rowing programs and to FIFA.

Assessing the drive phase & how best to move the boat
There are often passionate beliefs on the right way to move the boat. The fragmented approach of legs, trunk, arms and the holistic approach of the body acting as a unit from entry to release are just two of these. Quantifying the drive phase and its corresponding boat run will guide coaches in determining the best approach for their crew.

Biomechanics in Collegiate Rowing
Collegiate Rowing programs can benefit from current biomechanical rowing technique and performance assessment systems (ergometer and on-water). This presentation will focus on highlighting the capabilities and capacities of the systems and how collegiate coaches can best utilize the information.

Sara Lopez

Working at the University of Washington since 2000, Sara is Co-Director for the Center for Leadership in Athletics and the Executive Director for the Intercollegiate Athletic Leadership (IAL) M.Ed. program. Sara worked for eight years with the U.S. Rowing Association overseeing club develop.m.ent, coaching education, national championship events, and U.S. national team participation in Olympic and World Championships. Following two years in Atlanta as the Assistant Competition Manager for rowing at the 1996 Olympic Games, she returned to Seattle as a Region Director with Washington Special Olympics. She completed her Ph.D. at the University of Washington in 2012 with a research focus on the professional preparation and continuing education of intercollegiate athletics coaches. Sara has been actively coaching over the past 25 years with various junior, collegiate and masters programs. Currently, Sara is Head Coach for Conibear Rowing Club in Seattle with over 40 competitive masters women.

Developing Leadership in Club Coaches
Sara with the group will identify the necessary qualities for effective leadership in a club setting and the means to implement these skills.

Ed McNeely, M.Sc.

Strength Coach, Canadian National Rowing Team, author of Training for Rowing.

Psychophysiological Aspects of Program Design
Every coach has seen the athlete that over or underperforms what their physiology dictates they should be able to do. While psychology and physiology are normally examined separately psychological states can affect physiology and physiology can affect an athlete’s psychological state. This presentation looks at program design from a psychophysiological perspective cover topics such as the effects of training volume and intensity on mood states, the effects of external stressors like school and holiday season son training adaptations and tolerance for training, perception of fatigue, and how the innate sense of pacing that humans possess can affect the design of interval training sessions.

Strength Training for Young Athletes
This hands-on workshop takes you through the process and progressions for teaching strength training exercises to young athletes so that they perform them safely and effectively. Key exercises that are important to both rowing performance and injury prevention will be covered.

Al Morrow
Head Men’s Lightweight Coach for Rowing Canada Aviron

Al is a long time presenter at the confernce and coach of four Olympic gold medals for Canada.

Building a Rowing Program from the Bottom Up
This workshop will review key points that a coach should consider when starting a new program in rowing, starting a new coaching position in rowing and changing the culture that has existed before you arrived in a new position. The workshop will draw on years of observing and experiencing how other coaches and myself have worked through all the challenges of starting up these new assignments.

Top 10 Tips to Gain Speed on the Water
This workshop will be interactive and will address the top 10 methods to gain more speed on the water. There will some time dedicated to the year round approach to training but more time spent on the final few months of the rowing season including the taper period. Other factors like technique emphasis, drills, coaching motivational tips will be discussed.

Richard Parr

Richard is a graduate of Queen’s University where he obtained both Music and Phys Ed degrees, and started his rowing career there as a coxswain under the tutelage of their long time coach, John Armitage. Over the past 30 years, Richard has coached and/or led international programs in three countries – Canada, New Zealand, and Ireland, where he was the Performance Director for the Athens Olympics. Along the way he picked up a Masters Degree in Motor Learning at the University of Otago.

Richard’s has become a specialist in running development programs, and athletes with whom he has worked have attained over 250 medals from World Cups, World Champs, U23 World Champs and the Olympics (including 9 Gold Medals at the Games) – although he admits that Hamish Bond, Eric Murray and Zoe McBride really help pad that total!

While in New Zealand, Richard taught coaching and basic physiology at the University of Otago, and during this time he became very interested in Athlete Centered coaching and the multi-disciplinary approach to talent development.

He is currently enjoying a slightly slower pace as the head coach of the Vashon Island Rowing Club near Seattle, where he coaches 60 Masters and 45 Junior rowers.

Athlete Centered Coaching
Richard will outline different coaching styles, and focus on how to develop a sport system that is Athlete Centered, Coach Directed and Administration Supported. Some discussion points will include how to create a team climate that is enjoyable for all, how to maintain this whilst striving for high performance, and catering for individual needs within the team and crew structure.

Alison Ray

Allison assumed the Head Women’s Coach position at Oakland Strokes in the fall of 2014. Allison has experience at all levels of the sport of rowing in the USA and Canada, domestically and internationally, including the Olympic Games in 2012. In 2013, she was selected to coach the U23 National Lightweight Women’s 4x, which made it to the finals at the U23 World Championships in Italy.

Allison moved to California after she finished working as an assistant coach for the Canadian National Team, where she coached five World Championships, eight World Cups and the Olympic Games in 2012. Previous to that, she coached and acted as the program director at Victoria City Rowing Club, assistant coach at University of Victoria and Head Coach at the Simon Fraser University Rowing Club. Allison coached at the BC Summer Games, was Head Coach of the Canada Summer Games Team, and the PanAm Games in 2007. Allison is a ceritfied level 4 coach by Rowing Canada and is proud of the time she spent getting that certification the National Coaching Institute in Canada. Recently, Allison contributed a chapter in “Real Women, Real Leaders” by Kathleen Hurley and Priscilla Shumway.

Building an Empowering Program for Young Girls
Allison will discuss the concepts in building an empowering culture for young girls and how we are doing it.

Andy Teitelbaum

He is in his 20th season as the head coach of the Ohio State women’s rowing team. As the only head coach of the Buckeyes since the program’s inception in 1995, Teitelbaum has led the Scarlet and Gray to back-to-back NCAA and Big Ten championships and a total of five conference titles overall. Teitelbaum led boats have won five national titles and 24 conference titles in event grand finals. Under his guidance, Ohio State is one of only four programs to qualify for the NCAA championships for 15 consecutive seasons, joining the ranks of Brown, Princeton and Washington.

Ohio State made history with its second consecutive national title in 2014, becoming the fifth team to win back-to-back NCAA championships and the first since Brown in 2008. With gold medal finishes in the first varsity eight and second varsity eight, the Buckeyes became the fourth team in NCAA history to win both events at the national regatta in the same year. The first varsity eight ended the season with an unblemished 12-0 record for its first national title in the event, becoming the second consecutive Scarlet and Gray crew to finish the season undefeated after the second varsity eight did so in 2013.

Cultural Lessons Learned
A discussion of some of the cultural shifts in the 20 years of Ohio State rowing, the coach’s role in shaping culture, and culture’s impact on performance.

Staff Team Building
A look at what we look for when filling various staff positions, and the process we go through to manage and develop a staff to best support our athletes.

Brian Volpenheim
Men’s High Performance Sweep Coach – US Rowing

He is a three-time Olympian, having participated in the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics.

Originally from Cincinnati, Volpenhein graduated from Kings High School in Kings Mills, Ohio and attended The Ohio State University, where he rowed for The Ohio State University Crew Club. He graduated in 2002. Following the 2005 World Rowing Championships, he studied culinary arts at The Art Institute of Seattle. Volpenhein is the only two-time winner (in 2002 and 2004) of the USRowing Male Athlete of the Year award. In addition, he and his team were named “USATODAY.com’s U.S. Olympic Athlete of the Week” following their gold medal win in 2004. Volpenhein won bronze in the men’s eight at the 2008 Olympics.

He coached the men’s straight four at the 2016 Olympics.

The two wholes, the drive and release and the recovery and entry.

Contact Us

We look forward to seeing you at the conference in February. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions. Contact Us >>>