The course had participants from throughout Asia including Olympians from Iran, Singapore and Thailand. India’s representative, Surani Mitra Ghosh, came as one of the only professional female rowing coaches in India.  Sri Lanka, Myanmar, China, Japan, Uzbekistan were also part of the 14 countries taking part.  Some of the attendees were established coaches, while others were former athletes making the transition to coaching. Canadian Olympian and coach, Laryssa Biesenthal shared her experiences of transitioning from athlete to coach.

Organised in conjunction with the Asian Rowing Federation (ARF) and the FISA development programme the camp worked with Dr Donna de Haan from the University of Applied Sciences in Amsterdam, the Netherlands who looked at how to best coach female athletes. FISA development coordinator Yihuan Chang notes that from recent research it has been concluded that coaching female athletes does need a specific approach compared to the traditional way of coaching. This led to the course including female coaching alongside technical aspects of coaching.

Thailand was chosen as the course location as it worked in with the Asian Junior Rowing Championships in Pattaya, Thailand which also included the Asian Rowing Federation junior training camp and the Olympic Council of Asia training camp. The coach participants were able to gain practical experience by working with the junior rowers in their preparation for the Asian Junior Rowing Championships.

“The experienced scullers amongst them did a fantastic job of taking out young junior rowers including some from Nepal, Bahrain, Laos who had never rowed before,” said FISA development consultant and chair of the ARF competitive committee, Chris Perry.

A 2000m rowing course and facilities is being developed in Thailand. It will become Thailand’s rowing training base by 2017 and is part of a growth in rowing in the nation. The country currently has three rowing clubs spread over the north, middle and east and Perry says there has been an influx of young rowers inspired by four-time Olympian Phuttharaksa Neegree who competed at the Rio Olympics at the age of 42.

At the conclusion of the course Perry emphasised that this was not the end of the programme. “The intention is to continue to keep close contact with the participants and to try to encourage and mentor them to further develop in their rowing and future careers - whatever they ultimately choose to do,” said Perry. “ARF will also look into extending the programme further with additional participants in the future.”

This is the first time that there has been an all-female coaches course in rowing.

And the four C’s of coaching; confidence, clarity, communication and confirmation (feedback).