Reply To: UAS Management – Case #1

  • Adam

    January 17, 2024 at 9:38 am

    1. Why did the varsity team lose to the JV team?

    The varsity team had little cohesion. There were too many strong personalities that approached the team event more as an individual endeavor. By the coach’s own admission there were no real leaders on the varsity team. A leader is typically a motivator, and responsive communicator. There are even two positions on the boat, the coxswain and seat 6 (team captain), meant specifically leaders. Without solid leadership or trust in the leader a team does not do well. There were ill-feelings among the team members and resentment for the performance of others. All varsity members were competitive to a fault, so much so that they were competing with the other members of their crew instead of solely competing against other boats to win races. Additionally, the varsity crew had many “disrupters” who made their grievances known and continually demoralized the team.

    2. What should the Coach P. have done differently earlier in the season to resolve this problem? Exactly what point should he have intervened differently?

    Perhaps making boat assignments on physical metrics alone was not the way to do it. Throughout the long fall trial season and the winter conditioning season Coach P. should have also been tracking individual personality traits and general affinities/social relationships among teammates. Starting earlier with the CEP training and teambuilding may have proved just as important or more so than solely focusing on the intense workout regimen with “Satan”.

    There was something inherently wrong with the psychological makeup of the varsity team. Those 8 people together were not going to be successful. When they were in smaller groups of 2,4, or 6 they did better, but could not pull it off as 8. When they switched members between the varsity and JV boats, the JV boat did even better. This illustrates the prevailing teamwork, attitude and motivation of the JV boat, but shows that it could also be improved with more power/stronger rowers. I would argue that what the coach should have done early in the season is switch out 2 or 3 of the rowers between the boats. Doing this would perhaps make the well-functioning JV boat faster and might also improve the cohesion of the varsity boat by providing it with leadership. After those new teams trained together and went head-to-head it could be determined which boats would actually be the varsity and JV boats. This would have needed to be done early in the season while in Atlanta and just after returning to New York before it felt like a demotion to either the varsity rower going down to the JV boat or a JV rower not wanting to leave his thriving boat.

    3. At the end of the case, what action should Coach P. take on Tuesday? Why do you recommend this action? How should he implement this action? Please be specific.

    As I see it, Coach P. has two options, and both include keeping the teams as they are:

    A. Let the teams and the varsity/JV designations stay as they are. The JV team is doing well and is ready to compete, the coach can be hopeful about their prospects at nationals and for the next season. The varsity team is going to need the ultimate motivational/inspirational speech from the coach and perhaps a trip to the ropes course or escape room to try a last-ditch effort at team-building and working together while having some sort of shared experience unrelated to rowing.

    B. Switch the varsity and JV boat designations making the JV team the varsity team and the varsity team the JV team. This option would be predicated on knowing the average times the teams achieve and how that compares to other teams that they would be competing against. If the JV team is good enough to have a chance of beating other varsity teams the coach should put them in. In this scenario the original varsity team may place higher in the tournament if they are competing against JV teams.