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Achievement Addiction

Empty straight road surrounded by tall Redwoods.

I spent the last week on the road trailering equipment from Florida to New Jersey, then New York, then back to New Jersey, then to Virginia before finally getting back to Florida. 

Yes, there was some coaching sprinkled in there, but the majority of my time was spent pulling the trailer from race to race.  I would much rather drive across the eastern region of the country than fly with the team.  Thankfully, I’ve positioned myself to be able to choose the lesser of two evils.

I do some of my best thinking while I’m driving.  I also listen to a lot of podcasts while I’m in the truck.  A lot. 

Each boat of our women’s team was able to put together their best race of the spring on their final trip down the racecourse.  That’s what every coach wants, and that’s exactly what I told them.  Every coach also wants to win; to cross the finish line before the other boats; to have a medal and a trophy and for the season to continue.  On my way back from our women’s conference championship, I listened to a podcast about achievement addiction

We are in a profession, in an industry, that relies on results. 

This weekend was conference championship weekend.  11 Division I teams earned automatic qualification to the NCAA National Championship.  11 more teams will earn at-large bids.  22 teams will be represented of the 91 that currently compete in DI.  That puts almost 70 jobs at stake for not performing to the expectations of the administration.  There was at least one announcement that’s already been made about a head coach being replaced.  With no explanation, one can only guess that race results are part of the reason for that coaching change.

As coaches, we want our teams to win because we want our athletes to have that joy and that payoff for the hard work and effort they’ve put in for the year(s) of training they’ve done.  That joy comes from the training process, not the race results.

It’s the process of preparation that creates the dopamine that fuels joy, not the win.

This has been a long year and for me it isn’t over yet as the men’s team will race in June.  After enjoying some downtime, I will begin to prepare for next year.  The goal will be to produce better results than we did this year, but I will put more energy into creating a process that creates joy and try to let the results take care of themselves.  I will try.

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Jamie Francis

As a coach, I believe that my sport is not the end result of my role. Rowing is a tool used to teach the students about themselves through adversity and accomplishment, both physically and mentally.

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