no CUtting CornerS
when 2007 world Rowing Coach of the Year for paul Thompson looks for a top
athlete, he looks at the whole picture.
Thompson believes physiology is only one
aspect that makes a good rower. “They must
be reasonably well balanced, dedicated, have
determination. They need to be able to take
knocks and dust themselves off and get back
up again. Of course I look at physiology - they
need to be strong and fit.”
by putting his top women athletes into it.
The gamble seems to have paid off.
© 2004 Getty Images / Jamie McDonald
Working on the full package is Thompson’s
philosophy behind making top athletes. “I
like to see athletes with a mixture of physical
and technical attributes.” Thompson sees the
winning in the detail. “If you cut corners you
go in circles.”
Thompson started his coaching career in
his home country Australia where, he says,
his time at the Australian Institute of Sport
introduced him to top rowing coaches like
Peter Shakespeare and Rheinhold Batschi
and also coaches from other disciplines.
“The skills may be different but the issues
are similar,” says Thompson who says he
especially called on swimming and cycling
because of their closeness to rowing.
Along the way Thompson has found time to
pen a book, “Sculling: training technique and
performance” (2005) and he is behind a DVD
for rowing and sculling technique.*
This is the philosophy that has helped
Thompson come up with Great Britain’s top
women’s boat, the women’s quad. World
Champions for three years straight, the
quad could be the first Olympic gold medal
in rowing for British women. Thompson
decided to make this boat the flagship crew
Thompson left coaching in Australia to take
up a position in Great Britain. He has been
there seven years and is the chief coach for
women and lightweights. Under Thompson
are some of the best coaches in British rowing,
nine in total, including men’s lightweight
coach Robin Williams.
Thompson’s longevity in the sport is evident
in his passion. “To be able to work with
motivated people,” says Thompson. “I look
forward to going to work every day.” This, he
says, is the enjoyable part. On the flip side
Thompson says the stressful part of the job is,
“convincing people that your way of thinking
is the right way of thinking.” ■ M.S.B.
* DVD available from World Rowing official
merchandiser New Wave on
www.worldrowing.com -> Products ->