Measuring TapeMike Davenport explores many interesting rowing topics on his blog: Coaching Sports Today. As we read through his blog we found that he uses the metaphor of a vehicle dashboard to describe the things we should check about the performance of coaches.

“Similar to the dashboard in your car a coaching-dashboard has instruments, or metrics, that give you feedback. Feedback that can tell you whether you’re on track, getting better or not, or if there’s anything that you need to pay attention to (like running out of gas).”

How does Mike measure the performance of a coach?

Most people would focus mainly on athlete performance to measure the success of a coach. Interestingly, Davenport’s list of metrics doesn’t mention those measurements….

These are Mike’s measures:

  •  Graduation rate
  •  Number of recruits
  •  Retention rate
  •  Fundraising amount
  •  Effective practices
  •  Athletes personal bests
  •  School records broken
  •  Dinners with family
  •  Weight

Many of them are unconventional but all lead to the same truth: athletes vary in ability and motivation, whereas the coach is there to push them to their athletic peak and help improve many aspects of their lives.

The story of a successful coach

Duncan Holland recalls a story where he and a local rowing coach where at a little rowing club when a car full of young men came driving by. They came to a stop and it became apparent that they were one of last year’s crews.  The coach was pleased to see them and after they drove on she told me that she was so proud of them.  They had rowed competently last year, achieved the goals they set but, much more importantly they had grown up, matured into fine young people and, for two of them, moved away from a social scene that was heading towards trouble with local authorities.

No races were won, but something of real worth was achieved. The lives of those young rowers was changed in an incredibly positive way. People often miss it but the success of a coach can very much be assessed based on how they have enriched the lives of their athletes.

So maybe we can use the smile of a happy rower as a way to measure our success as coaches?

Athletic prowess comes from training, and training is something all athletes do. It’s the motivation and drive to go further for harder and longer that really makes an athlete. Where do they find this? Very often, they get it from the motivation and drive from their COACH!