Lessons learned from being in a boat

Last summer, I took part in a novice rowing course run by Oxford Academicals Rowing Club.  I was keen to discover more about a sport that is very popular in Oxford, and pleased to discover that I wasn’t rubbish at it.  I went on to join the club after the course, and the women’s novice VIII+ had our first taste of racing victory (against the novice men!) at the City of Oxford Royal Regatta in August 2010.

Why do I mention this here?  Because work and rowing have many lessons in common:

  • Rowing and working involve being part of a team.  You have to be aware of what others around you are doing, as well as your own actions
  • Good team performance relies heavily on individuals having prepared well on their own, knowing their particular role and how it fits with the rest of the group
  • The value of a training session is influenced by the coach or trainer, but also the attitude you bring with you and the effort you make
  • The importance of mental determination: telling yourself to keep going even when you are tired, or the task is boring or difficult
  • Gaining a sense of satisfaction from a job well done, whether it’s being friendly and helpful to a reader or completing a 5,000 m test on the erg

This week I am also rowing for my college in the Women’s First VIII+ in Torpids, the Hilary Term bumps race.

If you live in or near Oxford and would like to learn to row, Academicals are holding their next 4-week novice course from 29th March to 23rd April 2011.  More details here.

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