Joy of Sculling/Pocock Rowing Foundation Coaches Conference

Friday, February 9th – Sunday, February 11th, 2018
Renton, WA

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” in our Coaching.1

How will you benefit?

  1. Enhance your understanding of the various levels and areas of technical/scientific skills and knowledge.
  2. Cultivate a high performance culture among athletes at all levels to optimize the likelihood of long-term benefits.
  3. Develop an understanding of the important introductory level activity of our sport.
  4. 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.
  5. Learn how to evaluate your own performance in order to modify your own coaching.
  6. Develop your understanding of Integral Coaching.
  7. Exchange ideas within the network of the conference in a non-competitive environment.

Presenters’ Biographies and Topics

Sandy Armstrong

Coach SandyArmstrong is Executive Director, Head Coach, and Junior Women’s Varsity Coach at Marin Rowing. Coach Armstrong started her coaching career at Marin Rowing in 1984 after graduating, and rowing, for Redwood High School in 1982. She played competitive soccer in college while coaching the rowing team at Marin. For her role in Junior Women’s Rowing, Armstrong was voted the 2013 US Rowing “Women of the Year.” Armstrong has spent three years as an assistant coach for the Junior Women’s National Team, bringing home one bronze (2011), one silver (2012) medal, and a 5th place (2016) in the Jr. Women’s 8+. Under her tenure, she has qualified for the Youth National Championships 19 out of the 21 year history of the Youth National Championships, bringing home 5 gold, 5 silver, and 4 bronze medals from this event. Her Junior Women’s 8+ holds the Southwest Regional Championship record with 17 golds, 7 silver and 2 bronze. Coach Armstrong sat on US Rowing Junior Women’s Committee for 10 years and currently sits on the SW Regional Rowing Board of Stewards, a position she has held since 1994.

The Marin System: How I Run the Club, How I Coach my Team
After 33 years of coaching and managing the Marin Rowing Association, Sandy Armstrong will share with you the system she has established, and continues to follow, in administratively running the organization, as well as speaking about coaching her high school team to continually be at the highest level.

Mike Callahan

Now in his 12th year at UW and eighth year as the head coach of the Washington men’s rowing team, Michael Callahan has helped establish Husky Crew as an indomitable force in world rowing.

In June 2015, Washington men’s crew made history by winning their fifth straight and 18th overall IRA National Championship and ninth straight Ten Eyck trophy (team points title), an achievement unseen in collegiate rowing.

Callahan has now led the Huskies to five straight straight National Championships, for a total of six National Championships in his eight seasons. At the 2012, 2013 and 2015 Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) Regattas, Washington achieved perfect sweeps by all five Husky boats—a feat unmatched by any crew in the history of the regatta.

Callahan now lives in Seattle’s Portage Bay neighborhood with his wife Joanna and their daughter Ellison, whom they welcomed in 2013.

History & Adaptation:  Washington Rowing and the evolving relationship between athletes and technique
Michael Callahan will discuss how history has informed the technical approach he’s brought to his crews over the past several years.  That history begins with the Conibear stroke and moves quickly to Callahan’s process in finding a technical approach each year that is unique and brings out the most from his athletes.  Learn the tenets for a succesull stroke, and discover what pieces of the stroke are more flexible and can be matched to the specific needs of your crew.

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 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).

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

Optimizing Boat Run – Where to Start?

Does ‘Ergo-power’ Always Equal a Faster Boat?

Matt Lacey

CEO of the Pocock Rowing Center

Coaching Evaluation
This could be valuable in a number of ways as coaching is more of an artform than anything else.  This could be a good fit for the conference – discussing the various tools that can hold coaches accountable to employing what they learn at the conference.  This wouldn’t evaluate the capacity of the coach to produce a training plan, or teach technique.  It would focus on the coach as a leader, and how well they achieved their own goals for the season.

Nick Haley

Nick spent his formative high school years learning to row and cox on the Thames Tideway in London. He then coxed the Georgetown Lightweights. Upon graduating university Nick moved to Portland, Oregon and began coaching juniors at Oregon Rowing Unlimited. He spent ten years there, cutting his coaching teeth and growing the program to national prominence. In 2004 Nick was presented with opportunity to found a new club in Portland, the Rose City Rowing Club. He has been the director of the program since then.

Nick coaches boys and girls at Rose City. His crews over the last 20+ years have earned multiple Regional and National medals. In addition, Nick has been a part of the U.S. Junior National Team since 1999. He has coached with the girls and boys squads and most recently has served as the Team Manager of the U.S. team. Nick is also a two-time member of the senior National Team coaching staff.

The Process of Coaching the key Elements of the Stroke
“The process of determining and coaching the key elements of your vision of the stroke.” My thought is to show video of rowers I think have gotten close to what I see in my mind’s eye (like Joe) and then explain why I go after that stroke. I’ll outline the key elements, explain why I think they are key and show drills to go after it. The idea is to try and show the logical thought process, with the hope that the coaches in the room might be able to apply some of the steps/ideas in the pursuit of their own “perfect stroke”. I’m not going to profess that my vision is the “correct” one by any means.

How to Coach Coxswains

Jim Joy

Director of the Joy of Sculling

The founder and Director of the Joy of Sculling Conferences. This is our fourth year working with the Pocock Center.

Two Wholes
The stroke is view as an Integrated Whole, so in teaching it we split the one whole into two wholes, drive to release and release to entry. The presentation will cover the influence of George Pocock, Bob Pearce, Frank Cunningham and Robert Fitzpatrick on American/Canadian Sculling.

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 development, 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 Youth Leaders: More Than Naming Team Captains
Using a case study we will explore strategies and practices to develop leadership skills that enhance student leadership development across your team, support your team culture, and compliment your coaching leadership. Yes, it’s more than just selecting team captains! This session is applicable for both junior and collegiate coaches.

Ernie Maglischo

Ernie Maglischo retired from active coaching in 1998 after 35 years during which he coached at both the college and club levels. Over 29 years of coaching his teams, he won a total of 13 NCAA Division II Championships and 19 Conference Championships at three different universities. Ernie has authored or co-authored five textbooks and three booklets on various aspects of competitive swimming. He has been a contributor to the JoS conferences in Saratoga, Columbus, and San francisco for the past 19 years.

Heart Rate Variability (HRV)
Is it a valid measure of recovery from training.  #2. Molecular Biology, the latest way to measure the effects of training.

Julie McCleery

Julie McCleery has over 25 years of experience as an educator, coach, and youth sports advocate. She is currently a Research Associate and Lecturer at the University of Washington’s College of Education working in UW’s Center for Athletic Leadership. She teaches education leadership and coaching pedagogy and is doing research on the core practices of great coaches. Prior to joining UW, she ran a consulting business assisting educational and non-profit clients with strategic planning, grant writing, and project management.

As an athlete, she played multiple high school sports but found a home as a rower at Georgetown University. She went on to make the US National Rowing team, winning a bronze at the World Championships and a silver medal at the Pan Am games. Following her rowing career, she coached elite rowers for 10 years in Seattle, including US U23 and Senior National Team crews.

Her volunteer work is filled with youth sports. She currently serves as the President of her local Little League where she has also managed a baseball team for 5 years. She serves on the board of the George Pocock Rowing Foundation. She has coached youth soccer and basketball as well and is a vocal advocate for improving youth access to sport, recreation, and great coaching in Seattle.

She received a B.A. from Georgetown University, an M.Ed. from Harvard, and a Ph.D. from the University of Washington. She enjoys hiking with her two dogs and cheering respectfully from the sidelines when she watches her three boys play soccer, lacrosse, basketball and baseball.

The Core Practices of Expert Coaches
Over the past decade, researchers have come to understand that sport, by itself, does not build character. It is the intentional effort of coaches that leads to the positive, pro-social, character-building outcomes we associate with sports participation.  While there are a number of high quality trainings for coaches that teach positive coaching methods, coaches are often slow to adopt these approaches because they feel they aren’t integrated with a high performance orientation. At the Center for Leadership in Athletics at the University of Washington our recent research – called the Ambitious Coaching Project – looks to understand what expert coaches are doing to achieve BOTH peak athletic performance and social-emotional growth. We have identified 15 core practices – strategies, routines, and moves – that have the greatest impact on athlete achievement. In this presentation we will describe these core practices, review video of coaches implementing them, and discuss how to focus on them in your own coaching. Particular attention will be paid to the “holistic” core practices, which include:

  • Structuring time to build relationships
  • Sharing decision-making
  • Developing leadership
  • Identifying social-emotional skills
  • Flexibly and steadily managing competition

David Meggysey

David Meggyesy has developed an Integral coaching perspective based on his experience, including his seven year NFL career, teaching a course titled Sports, Consciousness and Social Change for Stanford University football players, being head football coach at Tamalpais High School, and his extensive consciousness work during his adult life.  Meggyesy is currently a teaching associate with Jean Houston, a principal developer over the past 50 years of the now worldwide human potential movement.  He has completed Genpo Merzel’s Big Mind/Big Heart facilitator training.  Meggyesy was co-founder of the Esalen Sports Center, formerly the NFL Players Association Western Regional Director and is Board President of Athletes United for Peace.  In 2005 his football autobiography Out of Their League was included in Sports Illustrated’s list of the best 100 sports books ever written.  Meggyesy has been a recreational sculler for the past 20 years, and has been coached by Jim Joy.“Co-Founder of the Sports, Energy and Consciousness Group (SEC Group) in 2010.

Action Follows Thought: What the Hell does that Mean?
“The old saw, ‘athletic performance is 90% mental and 10% physical’ is now being taken seriously in athletic coaching. Various Consciousness perspectives, practices and techniques are rapidly emerging, under the heading of Mindset, Integral, and Whole Person coaching that coaches are using to improve athletic performance. These practices focus on athlete’s awareness of their internal states of being and their ability to alter and enhance their internal states . The ideas of ‘appropriate arousal’ and ‘relaxed focused intensity’ are terms pointing to teaching the inner game.

I will be using a self-talk, voice dialog and imagery process that will identify and enhance appropriate arousal, what, in the old days, we called “getting psyched” that coaches can use. I will also focus on the voice of the ‘optimal coach’ and offer a specific, compact sequence of Mindset techniques that can be easily integrated every day into training sessions . This will be a ‘how do we do it’ workshop.”

Allison 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 certified 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 culture for young girls
We will discuss building an empowering culture for young girls. Our discussion will include how we are doing it with specific focus on body image and how we manage them to be healthy athletes. This age is already so challenged by these issues and with the added pressure of rowing lightweight it’s a relevant and important topic.

Peter Shmock

Peter is a passionate creative, a philosophical and spiritual learner, often irreverent, and always inspirational.

Peter has dedicated his career to guiding athletes toward their goals. He consults with executives, business groups, and youth about performance, whether on the playing field, in the boardroom, or in everyday life.

Peter, a “thinking man’s athlete,” developed his Life Athlete program—a plan and practice for maximum achievement, fitness, and confidence–by constantly evolving it over his decades long commitment to fitness and helping people become their best.

Some of Peter’s key accomplishments:

  • Two-time Olympic Track and Field athlete (1976, 1980)
  • Director of Strength and Conditioning for the Seattle Mariners (1983-1994)
  • Conditioning Coach for the Pacific Northwest Ballet (1992-1997)
  • University of Oregon Athletic Hall of Fame member
  • Founder of the top fitness center in the Pacific Northwest
  • Lifelong surfer
  • Published author and speaker
  • 30+ years successful fitness and conditioning innovator

Peter’s has been fortunate to work with some of the most talented and influential leaders in the fitness industry:

  • University of Oregon track coach, and founder of Nike, Bill Bowerman
  • T’ai chi Master, Gao Li Ting
  • Gifted teacher of awareness and meditation, Ken Lloyd Russell (The Way of Seeing)
  • Former Mr. America, Ralph Kroger
  • World champion power-lifter, Don Cundy

His mentor at the University of Oregon, Bill Bowerman, was a legendary track coach who also invented the “waffle shoe” and went on to found Nike. Bowerman is famous for saying, “If you have a body, you are an athlete.” Why not be the best athlete you can be—and for life?

Keynote: A New Paradigm for Attaining and Sustaining Athletic Excellence.

Exploring how the use of forgotten age old physical understandings, modern day philosophies , and the teaching of wise academics and coaches can lead us to an evolved paradigm for athletic performance.

The culmination of this  knowledge points us in direction discovering a way to achieve higher levels of athletic performance which is easier, more efficient, more practical and sustainable.

Seeking the highest results for the least amount of effort is at the heart of this paradigm.

Accessing the Power of the Center of the Body. How to use breath and an organized skeletal alignment to create more energy and power in rowing.

There is a deep relationship between the breath and the skeletal system which, if understood and practiced can lead to greater power, with fewer injuries, in rowing.

This talk will blend a discussion of how to access and use these tools for increased  power with an actual hands on experience of how this this can be achieved.

Bill Tytus

CEO of Pocock Racing Shells

Bill Tytus took over the helm of Pocock Racing Shells in 1985.

His introduction to rowing came as a young boy riding his bicycle past the Pocock shop, which was down the road from his house. Intrigued by the sights and sounds of what he could see from the outside, the desire to pop his head inside was irresistible. After that fateful day, Bill became a frequent visitor and forged a lifelong friendship with the Pocock family.

Bill first picked up an oar in 1964 with Green Lake Crew in Seattle. His rowing career included a second place finish in the Diamond Sculls event at Henley in 1969, and he represented the USA on the National Team from 1969-1971. Today, he continues to coach sculling for the Lake Washington Rowing Club.

The Connibear/Pocock Stroke
What the old boys said, and what I think they meant.

Bryan Volpenhein

USRowing, Men’s National Team Coach
A three-time Olympian and 2004 gold medalist in the men’s eight, Bryan Volpenhein was named a men’s coach for the U.S. team in November 2012 after coaching the lightweight men’s four and the pair at the London Olympic Games. He is responsible for the men’s high performance sweep squad and works to develop, select and prepare the team for international competition. In 2015, Volpenhein coached the men’s four to seventh place finish at the World Rowing Championships, qualifying the boat class for 2016. In 2014, he coached the men’s four to a silver medal at the world championships and in 2013 Volpenhein coached the men’s four to a bronze medal at the world championships.

Lessons from a Post-Olympic Year
Discuss the lessons learned from the experience in Rio and the attempts to find solutions to correct mistakes made and rebuild the culture of the training center the following year.

Less, but Better
Avoiding distractions and focusing on the necessities that make the boat faster.


Red Lion Hotel & Conference Center Seattle-Renton
Address: 1 South Grady Way, Renton, WA 98057
Tel: 425-226-7700

Rooms are $109 per night. Please inform the hotel that you are attending the Rowing Conference to secure this rate.

Please make your reservation prior to January 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: $280
December 1 – December 31: $300
January 1 – February 4: $320

No Refunds after January 10, 2018.
No registrations after February 4, 2018.


Friday, February 9, 2018

5-5:45 p.m. – Registration at the Red Lion

6-7:15 p.m. – Keynote: A New Paradigm for Attaining and Sustaining Athletic Excellence.

7:15-8:45 p.m. – Workshop #1

  • Draper – Optimizing Boat Run – Where to Start?
  • Haley – The Key Elements of the Stroke
  • Maglischo – Heart Rate Variability (HRV)
  • Volpenheim – Less, but Better

8:50-9:30 p.m. – George Pocock Foundation Wine and Cheese Reception

Saturday, February 10, 2018

8:30-10 a.m. – Workshop #2

  • Haley – How to Coach Coxswains
  • Lopez – Developing Youth Leaders
  • Maglischo – Molecular Biology
  • Ray – Building an Empowering Culture for Young Girls

10-10:20 a.m. – Coffee Break

10:25-11:55 a.m. – Workshop #3

  • Armstrong – The Marin System: How I Run the Club, How I Coach my Team
  • Joy – Two Wholes: A Different Coaching Approach
  • McCleary – The Core Practices of Expert Coaches
  • Volpenheim – Less, but Better

12-1:45 p.m. – A Wonderful Lunch (included for all attendees)

1:45-3:15 p.m. – Workshop #4

  • Draper – Does ‘Ergo-power’ Always Equal a Faster Boat?
  • Lopez – Developing Youth Leaders: More Than Naming Team Captains
  • Maglischo – Heart Rate Variability (HRV)
  • Ray – Building an Empowering Culture for Young Girls

3:15-3:30 p.m. – Coffee Break

3:30-5 p.m. – Workshop #5

  • Callahan – History and Adaption
  • McCleary – The Core Practices of Expert Coaches
  • Meggysey – Action Follows Thought: What the Hell does that Mean
  • Tytus – The Connibear/Pocock Stroke

5-6 p.m. – Beer Social

Sunday, February 11, 2018

8:30-10 a.m. – Workshop #6

  • Draper – Optimizing boat run – where to start?
  • Haley – The Key Elements of the Stroke
  • Shmock – Accessing the Power of the Center of the Body
  • Volpenheim – Lessons from a Post-Olympic Year

10-10:45 a.m. – Panel on Masters Sculling/Rowing – Matt Lacey, moderator


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

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

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