Stop Worrying As A Coach Part 1: Mike Davenport

Professional rowing coach Mike Davenport returned to coaching after a 5 year break.  Find out why the job stress caused him to quit and then re-consider coaching again.  If your club has trouble retaining coaching staff, this article is important for you to read.

In this post we hope to outline how rowing coaches deal with the stress of coaching and keeping a club going.

For this first blog post we spoke with professional rowing coach, Mike Davenport. His techniques to deal with coaching stress and worries managed to get him back into coaching and up to form again after a 5 year hiatus. So something’s gotta be working!

Body control and support from your loved ones

Mike exclaimed “stress drove me away from coaching in year 5, and I ran away to New Zealand, living in Mangaweka and working as a whitewater raft guide.

Since then I’ve been coaching for another 28 years, so I probably figured something out.

A combo of meditation, exercise, and social support really make a difference. Also the willingness to give up some control (to delegate) is a helpful tool.”


Simple, while aiding your physical as well as your mental health, meditation is a relaxation technique harnessing a calm environment and focusing on breathing. It involves resting in a relaxed pose while uttering soothing sounds best induced in silence and privacy.

Best of all it’s low cost (if not free) to get involved with and easy to learn to do.


This is another simple solution, and sometimes is considered a form of meditation. Exercise does so much to relieve stress: it pumps up your endorphins, provides a meditative motion, and can often increase serotonin which betters your mood.

Regular exercise doesn’t have to be overly exerting to relieve stress and it’s one of the most recommended forms of stress control by medical professionals.

Social support

You’re reading this and laughing aren’t you? Well look twice because there’s no shame in support and actually, some consider it the best way to relieve stress and (get this) leave you with the capability to do more and go further!

Numerous studies reflect on this and all determine that social support is a necessary activity to engage in if you want to overcome stress and anxiety. Also, if you’re not so adept and creating a group for social support, there’s loads of help out there.

So paraphrasing Mike’s approach to dealing with coaching anxiety:

  • Set apart some time each day to meditate

  • Get in some regular exercise

  • and start building yourself a network of supportive people

Get those down and you could end up going better, harder, faster and stronger!

Keep your eyes peeled here over the next few months to see what other coaches are saying on reducing coaching anxiety and stress.

By |2017-10-12T21:53:14+00:00July 11th, 2014|Coaching|1 Comment

About the Author:

One Comment

  1. […] Mike and Jim’s articles in this series discuss strategies for coping with stress (learning how to relax, exercising, establishing support networks, strategies for tackling the issues you’re avoiding etc.), while Jimmy’s deals with a strategy for stopping situations from becoming stressful in the first place (i.e. planning them carefully so that you can avoid being overwhelmed before it is too late). But when should you take action?  What are the triggers that move a situation from the ‘high pressure’ that excites you to the stress that damages your health? […]

Leave A Comment

Boathouse news and advice direct to your inbox
We'd love to keep in touch
We respect your privacy and will never sell or share your email with third parties.