Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Project Coach Crew

           On Tuesday, January 8th a number of our coaches, the graduate students, and Kayleigh, our program director, received our first official crew training at the Pioneer Valley Riverfront Club (PVRC, http://pvrowing.org/index.html) located in the North End of Springfield.  The PVRC is a rowing facility operating under the mission to promote river-based sporting activities, to develop river access, and encourage recreation in the Greater Springfield metropolitan area.  Project Coach is thrilled to have developed a partnership with the PVRC in order to aid them in their mission to expose Springfield residents to the wonderful, yet widely untapped resource that is the Connecticut River by exposing our own coaches and elementary-age program participants. Project Coach is always looking for ways to expand, in order to offer our participants as many unique and quality experiences as possible.  An opportunity to introduce not only a new sport, but also a wonderful new public facility to our kids was too good to pass up.

Learning some of the rowing fundamentals.

For the entire month of January a group of our coaches will be going to training sessions twice a week in order to learn about the sport of rowing and how to teach it to their elementary students.  Erin Sprong, PVRC executive director and “jack of all trades”, is leading the sessions with the Project Coach crew (no pun intended) and has some help thanks to Barbara Blank, a smith undergrad from the crew team whom also tutors with PC and was kind enough to come along.  The first session went over well with the coaches eager to learn about the new sport being added to the PC repertoire.  In the first tuesday we learned basic rowing terms, the fundamental rowing positions, the proper order of movements, and how to properly use the ergs (rowing machines).  It was a lot to take in, but by the second session the following thursday, the coaches had the basics down pretty well.  The group enjoyed completing an activity geared towards communication (a cornerstone in the PC program curriculum) in which one person had to lead their blindfolded partner through an obstacle course by nothing but verbal communication.  The activity not only stressed the importance of being an effective communicator in order to teach and lead, but also provided a few laughs for the group watching the blindfolded volunteer complete some silly tasks.  Overall the first few training sessions have gone well and the coaches will look to improve their knowledge of the sport and creative ways to teach it over the remaining sessions.  By the end of the month we expect that they will be ready to act as excellent ambassadors to the sport, to the PVRC, and the Connecticut River for their elementary students who look up to them so much.  So do not be surprised if you see a boat full of PCers out on the water in late spring once things have started to warm up!

Wasting no time getting in a bit of a workout on the first day of the January trainings!

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