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The Essence of Coaching: Lessons from a Young Coach

We’re kicking off the first episode of the CrewLAB Coach's Corner hosted by co-founder and COO of CrewLAB, David Kerns with none other than Colin Lee, an incredibly talented coach for the Harvard University Men's Heavyweight Rowing team and Community Rowing Inc. Throughout the conversation, Lee offers a fresh perspective as a young, passionate coach that goes beyond the technical aspects of coaching. Kerns and Lee share insights, shedding light on the future of coaching, the importance of building relationships, and the hidden joys within the sport.

Prepare to be captivated by Lee’s refreshing take on coaching filled with valuable lessons for both aspiring and experienced coaches. To catch the full interview, watch the video below or keep reading as we break down the top takeaways from this conversation. Let's dive in!


Discovering the True Essence of Coaching

Coaching goes beyond teaching technical skills. It encompasses team management and fostering a positive team culture. According to Lee, coaching is an umbrella term that encompasses numerous components. Aspiring coaches often focus solely on technical aspects, but it is crucial also to nurture relationships and create an environment where athletes can enjoy the process and find fulfillment.

The Power of Joy & Relationships

Lee highlights that the key to keeping athletes engaged and invested in the sport lies in making training enjoyable and fostering strong relationships within the team. By prioritizing the fun aspects of training and celebrating everyday victories, coaches can create an environment that motivates athletes to strive for their best performance. Moreover, coaches can inspire their athletes to find fulfillment in their training by rediscovering what initially sparked their passion for the sport and tapping into moments of joy. Longevity in the sport often stems from the social aspect and the joy of being part of a team that pushes each other to excel.

Lessons From Under-Resourced Environments

Coaches don’t need to be dependent on fancy equipment and should instead focus on the essentials. In his experience coaching at a program with limited resources, Lee emphasizes that the success of a team is rooted in the flexibility of the coaching staff and the determination of the athletes. Lee reminded coaches that they don't need every tool or gadget to thrive; instead, they should build strong connections and harness the team's potential.


In this insightful conversation, Lee and Kerns shared valuable lessons for coaches at all levels. By focusing on the joy of training, building strong relationships, and prioritizing the team's well-being, coaches can create an environment that cultivates long-lasting engagement and success. Whether coaching in a resource-rich setting or a humble boathouse, the principles of effective coaching remain the same. Embrace the process, find joy in the sport, and remember that coaching is ultimately about the people and the connections built along the way.

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