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IRL Alumni Spotlight

by Hugo Gulliver | Dec 14, 2015
The Institute for Rowing Leadership at Community Rowing Inc. offers the only sport specific graduate level coaching education program in the USA. The IRL provides an intensive yearlong Advanced Certificate in Rowing Leadership fellowship program for future leaders through a curriculum based on both academic and experiential learning methodologies.
‘Now boarding London Heathrow to Boston Logan…’

Hugo 1Those words echoed in the terminal in July 2014 as I took time out from my coaching career path to make the jump across the Atlantic Ocean from my home in London to Boston to join the Institute For Rowing Leadership (IRL). My undergraduate degree was in 'History and International Relations' and so most of my scientific knowledge for rowing, like most coaches, was either self-taught, gained from experience, or picked up at coaching conferences and workshops. This was due mainly to a lack of significant depth in the coaching education available in the UK, Europe or anywhere else in USA besides the IRL.
 
The chance to take the time to fully learn from experts, in great detail over a year, the science behind topics like lactate levels and testing, energy transfers in the body, the causes and prevalence of rib stress fractures or tissue mechanics, and then apply all this knowledge to training program design is invaluable to the profession of rowing coaching. Just as instrumental to my learning was coaching at Harvard University with the heavyweight men’s program while concurrently studying at the IRL, so all classroom learnings could be applied instantly to my coaching. When I sit up and look around at how few of the coaches that I compete against have had this formal education and experience, I suddenly realized that I am in position to produce far faster crews.
 
Hugo 2Having now returned to the UK after graduation, I am Senior Coach at the University of London Boat Club. It's an environment slightly different to any college rowing program in the USA, as the option to row here as a graduate student also exists. We have many athletes combining training with heavy academic work loads, such as medical or business school students. The result is quite often athletes have to train in smaller groups and at differing times of day. This means it’s very much a case of building the best training program, which these highly driven athletes can then complete around their studies. With the depth of knowledge I now have into the physiology of rowing combined with the experience of all the coaching staff here, we believe we have written one of the best training programs out there to allow our athletes to achieve high performance.
 
Taking the time to fully immerse myself in studying rowing at the IRL was an invaluable experience. In a day to day coaching role it can often be hard to find the time to study rowing to the depths the IRL allows, and if someone is very serious about the profession of rowing coach then the IRL has to be a pre-requisite before they step much further. Where I am today and where I’m heading along my career path has been positively altered by boarding that plane and going to the IRL.

IRL.Logo186.BlkEdgeThe Institute for Rowing Leadership at Community Rowing Inc. offers the only sport specific graduate level coaching education program in the USA. The IRL provides an intensive yearlong Advanced Certificate in Rowing Leadership fellowship program for future leaders through a curriculum based on both academic and experiential learning methodologies. IRL fellows spend 16-20 hours a week in the classroom learning from Boston-area professors, coaches, and professionals as well as 16-20 hours a week on-the-water coaching implementing the lessons learned in the classroom. The IRL Fellowship Program accepts applications twice annually with an early admission deadline on January 4th, 2016 and a regular admission deadline on March 14th, 2016. For more information on the program and details on how to apply, please visit www.IRLatCRI.org.

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