Friday, December 7 – Sunday, December 9, 2018
Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

The 26th Annual Joy of Sculling Coaches’ Conference will take place in Saratoga, NY from Friday, December 7 through Sunday, December 9, 2018. Coaches from all levels from Juniors to Masters are invited to attend, engage in the dialogue, share and enjoy an educational weekend.


To advance the programming of Integral Coaching at every opportunity in our powers is the major objective for this Conference. It is an effective way to proceed to insure the effectiveness of the athlete’s progress in sport and in life. To this end we have programmed Mental training, Physiological Training, Technical Training components into the program for this year’s Conference.

With this system in mind the presenters are encouraged to make a holistic presentation and the participants are encouraged to receive and weave the material from each session into a holistic pattern for their coaching. So it becomes a truly Integral approach to coaching.

Coaches from all levels from Juniors to Masters are invited to attend, engage in the dialogue, share and enjoy an educational weekend at the Joy of Sculling Conference. This year we are particularly pleased to offer presentations that will benefit and stimulate Head Coaches. It would be an excellent weekend for Head Coaches to refresh themselves. This is sizing up to be an exciting weekend full of information that you can use on Monday morning.

This Conference Qualifies for USRA Continuing Education Credit.


The Saratoga Hilton — Hotel and Conference Center
534 Broadway
Saratoga Springs, New York, 12866



Room charge is $120, single or double occupancy and is not included in conference fees. Please inform the hotel that you are attending the “Rowing Conference” to secure this rate.

Please make your reservation prior to Tuesday, November 6, 2018 to be assured of room availability. Each year we filled our block, so please reserve early!


Main Conference:

  1. July 17 – August 31: $280 Registrants will receive a free JoS shirt.
  2. September 1 – October 31: $310
  3. November 1 – December 1: $350

Main Conference plus Special Sessions:

  1. July 17 – August 31: $380 Registrants will receive a free JoS shirt.
  2. September 1 – October 31: $410
  3. November 1 – December 1: $450

No refunds after Friday, November 9, 2018.


This year we are introducing a specific coaching education track for women. Our goal is to create a space to open up more questioning, discourse, debate, and networking. We hope to foster a culture of collaboration and mentoring. Above all, we want a space where we can learn from and empower each other.

  • Friday
    • Special Session 1 – Introductions
    • Special Session 2 – Spillane – Excellence Without Examples
    • Session 1 – Bryans – Conversations and Consequences
  • Saturday
    • Session 2 – King – Balancing Boats and Babies
    • Session 3 – Simon – The Voice of the Coxswain
    • Session 4 – O’Donnell – Being a Young Coach – Mistakes Made and Lessons Learned
    • Coach’s Roundtable – Bryans
  • Sunday
    • Session 5 – Draper – Assessing the Drive Phase and How Best to Move the Boat
    • Session 6 – Wrap Up: Moving Forward

Register for the Women’s Coaching Education Track:

  • July 17 – August 31: $380 Registrants will receive a free JoS shirt.
  • September 1 – October 31: $410
  • November 1 – December 1: $450

No refunds after Friday, November 9, 2018.


Friday, December 7th

1-2:30 p.m. – Special Sessions 1

  • Women’s Track* – Introductions
  • Chase – The Recovery and Catch, Finding Rhythm
  • DeLeo – Connections: Improving Movement, Skill, and Boat Speed through Strength & Conditioning
  • Foglia – Creating Your Version of the Stroke and Teaching It Effectively

2:30-2:45 p.m. – Coffee Break

2:45-4:15 p.m. – Special Sessions 2

  • Women’s Track* – Spillane – Excellence Without Examples
  • Bechard – Keeping Your Fleet on the Water (Limited to 10 Participants)
  • O’Donnell – Being a Young Coach: Mistakes Made and Lessons Learned
  • Purcer – Individual Rigging

4:30-5:30 p.m. – Light Dinner for Special Session Attendees

5:40-6:50 p.m. – Conference Opening and Introduction: Keynote Address by Tim Pineau – Mindfulness as a Holistic Approach to Rowing Training

6:50-7:15 p.m. – Coffee Break

7:15-8:35 p.m. – Workshop Sessions #1

  • Women’s Track* – Bryans – Conversations and Consequences
  • Draper – Biomechanics in Collegiate Rowing
  • Gartin – What is Your Coaching Philosophy?
  • Gehrke – Rhythm and Balance
  • Morrow – Tips for the Final Race Preparation Period
  • Nolte – Breathing: the rowing motion clearly sets breathing pattern, but it had very important consequences
  • Simon – Coaching the Coxswain

8:35-9:35 p.m. – Wine & Cheese Social

Saturday, December 8th

6:30-7:30 a.m. – Optional Yoga

8:30-9:50 a.m. – Workshop Sessions #2

  • Women’s Track* – King – Balancing Boats and Babies
  • Bechard – Measuring Performance
  • Crouch – Goal Setting for Junior Athletes
  • DeLeo – Dynamic Vis: Analysis and Training Protocols to Improve Power
  • Nolte – Footstretcher Rigging
  • Purcer – Seeing Opportunities for Speed
  • Pineau – Implementing Mental Training

9:50-10:30 a.m. – Coffee Break [Gallery]

10:30-11:50 a.m. – Workshop Sessions #3

  • Women’s Track* – Simon – The Voice of the Coxswain
  • Crouch – Moving Beyond the Ego
  • Draper – Assessing the Drive Phase and How Best to Move the Boat
  • Foglia – Life as an Assistant Coach: Lessons Learned
  • Gartin – Team Culture: Recruit it, Build it, Sustain it
  • Morrow – Things to Consider for the Selection of Crews
  • Whittier – Four Fundamental Movement Concepts to Enhance Body Knowledge

11:50-12:50 p.m. – Technology Corner

12:50-3:00 p.m. – Lunch (catered) and Annual Coaching Awards(included for all attendees)

3-4:20 p.m. – Workshop Sessions #4

  • Women’s Track* – O’Donnell – Being a Young Coach: Mistakes Made and Lessons Learned
  • Bryans – Gender Specific Coaching From Juniors to Masters
  • Chase – The Recovery and Catch, Finding Rhythm
  • DeLeo – Connections: Improving Movement, Skill, and Boat Speed through Strength & Conditioning
  • Gehrke – Team Building
  • Nolte – Breathing: the rowing motion clearly sets breathing pattern, but it had very important consequences
  • Whittier – Four Fundamental Movement Concepts to Enhance Body Knowledge

4:50-6 p.m. – Coach’s Roundtable

To help foster the sharing of ideas and to create a space for open dialog, we are adding a new feature to this year’s conference, the Coach’s Roundtable. The roundtable will be an open forum lead by one presenter and have at the most twenty attendees. The topics are left up to the group and everyone is encouraged to participate in the discussion. Rooms will be set up with the seats in a circle to help promote discussion. There will only be 21 seats in each room, once those seats are full please respect that space and move to another room. There will be no signing up in advance, this will be a first come first serve basis.

  • Women’s Track* – Bryans
  • Chase
  • Draper
  • Foglia
  • Gartin
  • Gehrke
  • Marrow
  • Purcer
  • Spillane

6:05-7:05 p.m. – Beer Social

Sunday, December 9th

7:30-8 a.m. – Coffee Break

8-9:20 a.m. – Workshop Sessions #5

  • Women’s Track* – Draper – Assessing the Drive Phase and How Best to Move the Boat
  • Bechard – Keeping Your Fleet on the Water (Limited to 10 Participants)
  • Bryans – Conversations and Consequences
  • Cooper – Creating a Positive, Dynamic, Diverse, Boathouse
  • Morrow – Things to Consider for the Selection of Crews
  • Pineau – Implementing Mental Training
  • Spillane – Excellence Without Examples

9:25-10:45 a.m. – Workshop Sessions #6

  • Women’s Track* – Wrap Up: Moving Forward
  • Cooper – Creating a Positive, Dynamic, Diverse, Boathouse
  • Foglia – Creating Your Version of the Stroke and Teaching It Effectively
  • Gartin – What is Your Coaching Philosophy?
  • Gehrke – Rhythm and Balance
  • Purcer – Seeing Opportunities for Speed
  • Simon – Coaching the Coxswain


Dan Bechard

Daniel Bechard is the Head Coach of the Men’s rowing program at Western University and Research Associate at Hudson Boat Works. Dan achieved a doctorate in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences from the same University while coaching several crews at the U23 World Champs and FISU regattas. Dan continues to be highly involved at the high-performance end of the sport with rolls within the Canadian University Rowing Association and Rowing Canada. Dan is an instructor within the CRI – Institute of Rowing Leadership program, Rowing Canada’s coaching education series, as well as Rowontario’s Remote Coaching Network. Research interests focus on professional development, and boat geometry and its effect on athlete performance.

Keeping Your Fleet on the Water

This hands-on session will guide you through many issues that will keep your racing shells on the water, longer and in better condition. With a hands-on approach, you will be walked through repairs that will rejuvenate and revitalize your shells and components, extending their lifespan and usability.

Note: Workshop capped at 10 participants.

Measuring Performance

In this session you will learn about fundamental biomechanical concepts, how they apply to the sport of rowing and how they affect performance. It will also dive into what modes of technology measure these concepts and how accessible they can be. This session will be anchored on real-life examples where boat geometry was used to elicit change in biomechanical measures.

Bebe Bryans

Bryans is in her 14th season leading the women’s openweight and lightweight rowing programs at the University of Wisconsin. Bryans and the Badgers have been a successful marriage, with the Bryans-led openweights reaching the NCAA championships for 10 consecutive seasons and in 12 of the last 13 years. The streak is highlighted by a program-best seventh-place finish at the 2010 NCAA Championships. The result went one better than the program’s eighth-place finish at the 2006 NCAA Championships under Bryans. Most recently, the team rowed to its second consecutive ninth-place finish, using its sixth-place second varsity eight and seventh-place varsity four to power to the 2017 team result.

Conversations and Consequences

Coaching is an exercise in communicating your experiences and knowledge to facilitate the athlete’s learning and performance. Regardless of what you know, if you can’t communicate it to others, you can’t be an effective coach. Tough conversations are absolutely necessary and mostly avoided by a majority of people. Frustrating? Yes, especially if you believe you are a very clear communicator! This presentation will supply some tips on approaching different situations on and off the water and helping everyone see that this is a shared issue. Everyone can use help with this skill, so come and join the conversation!

Gender Specific Coaching From Juniors to Masters

Should we coach boys and girls differently? Are men faster because they work harder? And can women ever catch up? Does one gender respond better to a like-gender coach or not? How much does age matter between genders and how they respond to coaching? Is injury prevention and/or strength training different? These are the types of areas this clinic will discuss, including the anatomy, psychology and physiology surrounding gender differences and how we can be effective coaches for anyone that comes thru our boathouse door.

Chris Chase

Chris Chase started coaching in 1996 when he founded the Saratoga Rowing Association, while teaching social studies at the local high school. Since its inception, the club has grown into one of the largest in the country. As a coach, Chase’s crews have won or medaled at the American Schoolboys, Canadian Schoolboys, Stotesbury Cup, Youth National Championships and Head of the Fish.

The Recovery and Catch, Finding Rhythm

This talk will take a closer look at the recovery leading into the catch, entry of the drive. What drills to use and how to make improve overall skill.

Arshay Cooper

Arshay Cooper is a Benjamin Franklin award-winning author, USRowing Golden Oars winner, motivational speaker, coach, and Chief Program Officer at Row New York. Arshay has spent his life cultivating a unique set of experiences that make him a much sought after speaker to audiences ranging from professional athletes to high school students. He is highly regarded for his ability to inspire and motivate every audience he encounters.

Arshay grew up in the North Lawndale community on the Westside of Chicago, raised by a single mother in a neighborhood surrounded by gangs and drugs. He witnessed many of his family and friends become a product of their environment. In 1997, Arshay rejected the gang life and joined the first all-black high school rowing team at Manley Career Academy. A sport Arshay quoted that saved his life. After rising to team captain and graduating high school, he shifted gears and dedicated two years of his life to AmeriCorps focusing on diversity and inclusion, and helping thousands of high school students complete 40 hours of community service before graduating. After attending Le Cordon Bleu England Arshay Cooper traveled as celebrity chef, coach rowing in Chicago, New York, and helped pioneer many youth rowing programs throughout the country.

Arshay currently lives in New York. His first book, a memoir titled ‘Suga Water’, was released in 2015 and won silver at the Benjamin Franklin book awards for best inspirational memoir. Suga Water is now being optioned for film.  

Creating a Positive, Dynamic, Diverse, Boathouse

How do we get our team/boathouse to reflect the diversity in our city and in our country? In this workshop Arshay Cooper discuss three important topics. How to recruit athletic students from under resource communities, How to transform high school rowers to be leaders of leaders, and how to use the lessons of rowing to prepare youth for the future.

Caitlyn Crouch

Caitlyn is the boys coach at Saratoga Crew. She has been with Saratoga for the past seven seasons. She has spent the past two years working with the Men’s Junior National Team. Prior to that she was the UCSD Men’s Assistant coach from 2008-2010. She was a coxswain at UCSD.

Realistic Goal Setting for Junior Athletes

How to set goals with juniors who have a wide range of ability, that changes dramatic over the years. How to make the realistic but challenging at the same time.

Moving Beyond the Ego

How to handle a boat with different skill levels and big egos.

Joe DeLeo

Joe DeLeo is a full time Strength & Conditioning Coach at Lawrence Memorial Hospital Performance & Wellness Center in Lawrence, Kansas. He coaches inside a sports performance and physical therapy clinic at Rock Chalk Park. He works with athletes returning directly from sports rehabilitation as well as athletes focused on performance in the sports of baseball, basketball, golf, soccer, swimming, track & field, and volleyball.

In addition to his full-time strength & conditioning position he owns and operates LEO Training. LEO Training focuses on high performance and injury rehabilitation for the sport of rowing by providing content, education, and seminars to the rowing community.

In 2018, he helped lead a rowing camps at the Avizaqcua Team Center in Avis, Portugal with Dr. Mads Rasmussen and act as a consultant with the USA U23 Lightweight Rowing Team with Nathaniel Kielt.

Joe is passionate about empowering his students and athletes to improve their health, life and athletic performance through a process-oriented approach that yields results in movement, strength, power and injury resilience.

He uses many modalities to train his athletes. These include kettlebells, barbell, bodyweight, indian clubs, the gada, and suspension trainers. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He also holds certifications as a Functional Movement Specialist Level II, Rocktape FMT II, and is a Level I Girya and Bodyweight Instructor with StrongFirst. He lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where he can be found both off and, on the water, helping his rowers get stronger and faster!

LEO Training, is the resource for strength & conditioning and injury rehabilitation for the sport of rowing.

Dynamic Vis: Analysis and Training Protocols to Improve Power

This lecture will focus on how to analyze power for rowing as well as how to identify energy leaks in your athletes. Learn how to tune their training on land and address their power deficiencies to increase power output on the erg and in the boat.

Connections: Improving Movement, Skill, and Boat Speed through Strength & Conditioning

Many athletes struggle with improving their posture and learning to connect during the rowing stroke. I will discuss and teach drills and strategies you can employ on land in the strength & conditioning facility to accelerate the learning curve for your athletes and help cement technical changes.

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 Master’s 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 Para-sports.

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).

Biomechanics in Collegiate Rowing

Assessing the Drive Phase and How Best to Move the Boat

Jesse Foglia

Assistant Coach of Heavyweight Crew at Harvard University Assistant coach at Harvard, U.S.A. Jr. National Team Coach

Jesse enters his third season with the Harvard men’s heavyweight crew team as an assistant coach. He will help oversee all aspects of the program after spending three years with the Columbia lightweight team. Jesse has spent the last eight years on the coaching staff of the U.S. Men’s Junior National team and was also a member of the inaugural Joy of Sculling Apprenticeship program.

Life as an Assistant Coach: Lessons Learned

This workshop is geared for assistant coaches. Over the last 11 years I have spent the majority of my time working as an Assistant Coach for various levels and types of programs. Though each experience I have learned how to more effectively support the program vision or the head coach and create a coaching team approach. I will share some of my experience as well as cultivate a discussion about lessons learned.

Creating Your Version of the Stroke and Teaching It Effectively

This workshop will look at the process involved in creating a version of the stroke that fits your athletes, and look at the pathway involved in getting from where you are to where you want to be. We will use a few case studies to look at where we started the season and the path we took to create the end product.

John Garton

John is currently at Northern Arizona University as the Assistant Director of Compliance and an adjunct instructor in the Academic Transition Program for first-year students. Prior to NAU John spent one year as the Program Director at Dallas United Crew coaching youth, adult and adaptive athletes. Before DUC, he spent four years at The University of Oklahoma as an Assistant Coach and Recruiting Coordinator. While working with the Sooners, the women won two Big-12 Conference Championships and made two NCAA Championship appearances. Prior to Oklahoma, John spent eight seasons as the Head Coach of Women’s Rowing at Nova Southeastern University. During his time at NSU the women won the 2009 NCAA D2 National Championship in the varsity four and made seven NCAA Championship appearances. Furthermore, his teams won four Sunshine State Conference Championships, produced eight CRCA All-Americans, and earned 25 All-Sunshine State Conference designations. In addition to the rowing awards, several of his student-athletes earned honors that included NSU Scholar-Athlete of the Year, NSU Student of the Year and the 2011 NCAA Female Student-Athlete Sportsmanship Award.

What is Your Coaching Philosophy?

Everyone talks about their ‘coaching philosophy,’ but many coaches have not written it down nor shared it with those around them. A formalized coaching philosophy will give you a solid foundation of understanding your values, beliefs and expectations. Knowing your personal philosophy will allow you to make principled, valued centered, decisions for yourself, your family and your team. This presentation will walk you through the process of discovering and creating your coaching philosophy resulting in a solid first draft that you can continue to refine over your coaching career.

Team Culture: Recruit it, Build it, Sustain it

Every coach at every level wants to have a great team culture, yet culture building is often undermined for the want/need to ‘get on the water.’ However, at the end of the season we hear many of the most successful teams talk about their great team culture. A great team culture, much like a beautiful garden, needs to be primed, cultivated and maintained every day. This presentation will introduce practical and systematic ways of establishing and sustaining a successful team culture for all levels of rowing.

Eric Gehrke

Eric Gehrke is currently the Varsity Girls Coach (Saratoga) & Assistant Coach (ARION) at the Saratoga Rowing Association. He was previously the Assistant Women’s Rowing Coach at the University of Southern California. 

Eric was also the Executive Director and Head Coach for Nashville Rowing. He founded Nashville Rowing in 2013, where six of his crews qualified and placed at USRowing Youth Nationals including three top 10 finishes.

Before founding Nashville Rowing, Eric was an assistant coach at Gonzaga College High School in Washington D.C. under head coach Marc Mandel. Before coaching in the Capitol, he was the head coach at Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria, Va.

Eric has coached for both the men’s and women’s Junior National Teams each summer since 2010. In addition, he was the Worlds Development Team coach for the sweep men and the CanAmMex Coach for both the men’s and women’s sweep. Throughout his duration as CanAmMex coach, his crews have earned at least two gold medals each summer against Canada and Mexico.

Rhythm and Balance

This talk will go over this often overlooked technical aspect. Where do rhythm and balance come from and how to improve them.

Team Building

This talk will go over the some of the aspects used to build the junior team at Saratoga Rowing.

Caroline King

Caroline King joined the Virginia rowing program as an assistant coach in July of 2018. King arrived in Charlottesville after serving as an assistant coach at Clemson from 2014-18.

King served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Clemson and worked primarily with the second varsity eight, which was regionally ranked last season. King also coached the Varsity Four to three top-10 finishes at the Head of the Charles in the Club Women’s Four from 2014-16.

Prior to her appointment at Clemson, King spent 16 years at the University of Texas helping build the program from the club level to a nationally-ranked program. King took over the Longhorns’ novice squad in 2001 and was promoted to first assistant coach in 2003. King’s novice boats helped Texas win the Big 12 Invitational team championship from 2001-08 and four Big 12 team titles from 2009-12 once the sport was fully sponsored at the conference level.

During King’s tenure, Texas was selected as an at-large eight for the 2003 and 2004 NCAA Championships. King advanced three novices to become the program’s first three CRCA All-Americans and also saw three walk-ons selected to the USRowing Senior National Team. King was selected as the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association’s South Region Assistant Coach of the Year in 2006 and 2011.

King raced with the 1996 and 1997 U.S. Rowing Association’s lightweight women’s development camp at Riverside Boat Club. She rowed for the University of Florida club team from 1993-96, earning captain and most valuable rower honors in 1995. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in African studies from Florida in 1996.

King and is married to director of boathouse and program operations Jeff Mork. King and Mork have two daughters.

Balancing Boats and Babies

A round table discussion on the practices of balancing families and coaching careers. We’ll discuss common misconceptions about being a dedicated parent and coach, how to find solutions that avoid altering life goals, and where we can strategize with best practices to find peace and success in every aspect of life.

Al Morrow

Al Morrow has coached all levels of rowing from 1976 until 2016. For the last 2 years he has been the Coordinator of the Rowing Canada Mentorship program.

His successes include coaching at 9 Olympic Games and coaching 8 Olympic medalist crews (4 Gold, 1 Silver and 3 Bronze) and numerous medalists at the World Rowing Championships.

Al has been a regular presenter at the JOS Conference and embellishes his practical Coaching tips with lots of great stories.

Tips for the Final Race Preparation Period

Psychological and physiological tips for a coach to consider as the crew prepares for racing.

Things to Consider for the Selection of Crews

Objective and Subjective factors that a coach should consider during selection. Various methods of selection will be discussed.

Dr. Volker Nolte

Dr. Volker Nolte holds the position of assistant professor teaching biomechanics and coaching, and is the head rowing coach at the Western University. Since 1993, Nolte’s leadership has led the Western Mustangs men’s rowing team to twelve Ontario University Athletics Championships and five Canadian University Rowing Championships. Since he took over the women’s team in 2010 they won two Ontario University Athletics Championships and one Canadian University Rowing Championships. 2008 and 2013 were particularly successful years for the Western Mustang Rowers. In 2008, they won the German University Championships, the Temple Challenge Cup at the Royal Henley Regatta against 74 other crews from around the world and in November the Canadian University Championships. In addition, Nolte was the lightweight men’s national team coach with the German Rowing association from 1984-1990 and Rowing Canada Aviron from 1992 to 2000. His national team crews won an Olympic silver medal at the 1996 Atlanta Games, two World Championship titles in 1993 and 2000, and several more medals at World Championships.

Nolte received both a Physical Education Diploma (1976) and a Civil Engineering Diploma (1979) from the University of Saarbrücken (Germany), and a PhD (1984) from the German Sport University in Cologne (Germany) in Biomechanics. For all his work in coach education, he received in Jan. 2013 the prestigious Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Footstretcher Rigging

Setting the footstretcher correctly has very complex influences

Breathing – the rowing motion clearly sets breathing pattern, but it had very important consequences

The breathing pattern in rowing is strongly influenced by the cyclic motion pattern. This means that that the rowing movement does not leave us a lot of room to vary our breathing, which has significant impact on technique, training and injury prevention. Although we seldom think about the influence of breathing, it is of course tremendously important. In this presentation, we will study the biomechanics of breathing in rowing and its major effects on each and every rower.

Alyssa O’Donnell

Alyssa O’Donnell was named an assistant coach for Temple women’s rowing in August, 2014. O’Donnell came to Temple after spending two years with the Grand Valley State University Rowing Club where she served as the varsity assistant coach while also completing her master’s degree. O’Donnell started her coaching career with Saratoga Rowing Association and has also coached at Pine Crest High School and University School, both in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Most recently, she spent time coaching on Philadelphia’s Boathouse Row as head coach of the Vesper Boat Club Junior Women’s summer program. O’Donnell, an upstate New York native, began rowing at Saratoga Rowing Association. Her collegiate career took her south to Fort Lauderdale where she competed for the Sharks of Nova Southeastern University while earning a bachelors degree in exercise and sports science and an associates degree in psychology. At NSU, O’Donnell was named to the Sunshine State All-Conference Team in 2010 and 2011, nominated for Female Athlete of the Year in 2011 and won the Sunshine State Conference title in 2011 and 2012. In 2011 she stroked the Sharks to a fourth place finish at the NCAA National Championships.

Being a Young Coach: Mistakes Made and Lessons Learned

Your first years in coaching are incredibly vital for developing your coaching philosophy and style. These are also the years where you make mistakes and you learn lessons that you will take with you for years to come. From being your authentic self, understanding the design of a training plan, coaching to your audience and relocating for a new job – all are things you will experience in your coaching infancy stage. Along these steps, and so many others, you’ll learn “when should I use a clam?”, how to prioritize your personal / professional life, knowing your roles within the job, and doing much more than “just making lineups.” But with all these lessons, you’re guilty of making some mistakes and understanding how valuable it is to determining your coaching style.

Mike Purcer

Mike is a regular presenter at coaching conferences on various aspects of rigging and rowing technique. His current work involves the development and analysis of boat speed curves to provide coaches a detailed look at rigging efficiency and identify opportunities for boat speed improvements through technique changes. Mike has captured data and analyzed crews at the World Championships in an effort to develop standards on curve geometry for various boat classes. Mike is self-employed and his company Purcerverance provides coaching development services for individuals and teams. He is currently the Technical Advisor to the Brock University Rowing program in St. Catharines.

Seeing Opportunities for Speed

This presentation will review the development of the integrated technique and boat speed curve that provides coaches the opportunity to see the technique/speed relationship. Boat speed curve geometry for crews at the World Championships will be reviewed for typical accelerations (catch to finish, finish to peak speed and peak speed to catch). Common areas for boat speed improvement will be identified and discussed. The session will also touch on effective rigging in the areas of Drive Time, Blade Slip and Stroke Position. This presentation is geared to high performance but coaches of crews competing at any level will benefit from the material presented.

Individual Rigging

Do you have an athlete that is out of time with the crew? This session will review rigging options to change the Drive Time and improve the blade timing of the crew. The Stroke Position will also be discussed along with adjustments to improve the oar angle working towards keeping the blades parallel through the stroke.  

Tim Pineau, Ph.D.

Tim Pineau, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist in Virginia and Washington, DC. After working primarily in university counseling centers early in his career, Dr. Pineau is now in private practice serving client’s in the Washington, DC area. He works with individuals, couples, and groups, with a primary focus on helping people develop, deepen, and better understand their interpersonal relationships.

In addition to this work, Dr. Pineau’s 10+ years of experience as a competitive rower and crew coach sparked his interest in the psychology of athletes, and he has been researching, writing on, and teaching mindfulness-based approaches for sport performance enhancement since 2008. Specifically, he helped to develop the current version of Mindful Sport Performance Enhancement (MSPE), co-authoring the recent book on this intervention published by American Psychological Association, and he continues to conduct research, give presentations, teach, and publish on the applications of mindfulness in sport.

Dr. Pineau also works with athletes in his private practice, with a particular specialty in working with collegiate student-athletes, either as individuals or teams. Dr. Pineau takes a holistic approach to this work, recognizing the interdependence of an individual’s mental, emotional, and physical health, and how all aspects of a person’s identity are connected to their well-being and performance as an athlete.

Keynote Address

Mindfulness as a Holistic Approach to Rowing Training: A rationale for a more holistic approach to training.

Implementing Mental Training

This breakout presentation will review best practices for implementing mental training programs with collegiate athletes, with a focus on mindful sport performance enhancement (MSPE). Dr. Pineau will discuss his experiences collaborating with college teams, emphasizing a holistic approach that includes involving the coaching staff, gaining support from athletics department administrators, and highlighting the way mental training can benefit all aspects of an athlete’s identity, not just in relation to their sport. The unique considerations connected to offering mindfulness-based mental training will also be discussed.

Laura Simon

Laura is the assistant women’s rowing coach at Yale University. Prior to that see was the assistant rowing coach at UMass.

Coaching the Coxswain – getting the most out of the coxswains seat by knowing their skill set and how to coach it.

The Voice of the Coxswain – A more in depth session on breaking down audio and helping your coxswains advance. (Attendance at session 1 is helpful but not required). Please come to this session with a sample audio from each of your coxswains that you’d like to help and you’ll leave with a concrete skills that they need to work on.

Tessa Spillane

The 2015-16 Division III National Coach of the Year, Head Crew Coach and PERA Associate Professor of the Practice Tessa Spillane has been at the helm of the Blue Crew program since the 2005-06 season. In 2016, she guided the Blue to the first NCAA Division III National Championship in school and program history. She also saw the Blue win the overall points trophy at the New England Rowing Championships for the first time and was awarded with the National Invitational Rowing Championship Coach of the Year and 24th Annual Joy of Sculling Coaching Conference College Coach of the Year honors in 2016.

Spillane was presened with USRowing’s Ernestine Bayer ‘Woman of the Year’ Award on December 3, 2016. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to women’s rowing and/or to an outstanding woman in rowing. Spillane is the first NCAA Division III Women’s Rowing Coach to earn the award since its inception in 1982.

She has guided Wellesley to eight consecutive appearances at the NCAA Division III Championships, seven consecutive NEWMAC Conference titles and has coached 14 All-America honorees. Under Spillane, the 2010-11 and 2015-16 Division III National Coach of the Year, Wellesley has been ranked in the top-ten nationally for each of the last seven seasons. The 2008, 2010, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 NEWMAC Coach of the Year, Spillane also guided the Blue to third place finishes at the NCAA Division III National Championships in 2011, 2012, 2015, and 2017.

Spillane came to Wellesley from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon where she served as the Head Coach of Men’s and Women’s Rowing from 2001 to 2005. Spillane was named Northwest Collegiate Rowing Conference Women’s Coach of the Year in 2004.

Prior to Lewis and Clark College, Spillane served as the novice coach and varsity assistant coach at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts. While at Mount Holyoke, Spillane founded a community based rowing program and served as the director and founding coach of Rowing Strong, Rowing Together, serving at-risk, urban youth. Spillane also coached master’s women for eleven years as a member of the Row as One coaching staff.

Spillane currently serves as the DII/DIII At-Large Representative to the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association Board of Directors.  She chairs the Membership Committee and the DII/DIII Awards Selection Committee. Spillane has served on the NCAA DIII Rowing Committee, representing the New England Region from 2009-2011. She previously served on the Board of Directors for USRowing, the national governing body for the sport of rowing in the United States.

Spillane is an Assistant Professor of Physical Education at Wellesley and teaches in the required physical education program. Certified as a USRowing Level III coach in 1998, Spillane is also a graduate of the NCAA Women Coaches Academy (Indianapolis, 2007).

Spillane holds a Bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College where she was a NEWMAC All-Conference athlete and captain. She also holds a Masters in Exercise and Sport Studies from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Excellence Without Examples

In a sport with very few gender role models, how women in coaching can find confidence, mentoring and support with so few female head coaches in the field. We’ll explore steps we can take to overcome gender barriers, lack of same sex peers and current struggles facing women in departments traditionally populated with men.

Cadence Whittier

Cadence Whittier (MFA, CLMA, RSMT) is a Professor of Dance at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, where she teaches courses in anatomy and kinesiology, Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analysis (L/BMA), and contemporary dance technique. She is also Director and Faculty for Integrated Movement Studies, an organization based in California and Utah that offers training and certifications in L/BMA. As a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist and professional dancer, Cadence enjoys offering workshops in somatic education, movement analysis, and physical conditioning.

Four Fundamental Movement Concepts to Enhance Body Knowledge

Through the use of “budget-conscious” props, such as exercise bands and balls, Whittier will physically guide the presentation attendees through a series of movement activities designed to enhance an athlete’s body awareness and physical skills. These activities explore fundamental movement concepts essential to sculling: 1) coordination between the upper and lower body, 2) spinal stability and mobility, 3) spatial clarity and intent, and 4) breath support. Coaches will leave the presentation with new methods and movement ideas to use with their athletes.


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

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text.

Start typing and press Enter to search