Why I Coach: Nate Dolphin

What are your current coaching roles? TRRA AA Masters Head Coach, CMU Head Coach, Caretaker of the boathouse dog.


When did you first begin coaching?


19-20 years ago with swimming. But it’s surprising how much the philosophies translate between the sports. I started coaching rowing because I couldn’t find a job after graduating college.


What is your favorite thing about coaching?


I’ve stared at this question for a few hours. I don’t know. Another coach says I derive pleasure from making any crew better. So let’s go with that answer. It encompasses a lot.


Do you have a particularly favorite memory about coaching?


It should be something along the lines of having RMU come in 3rd in a championship race as the last coaching act with the team, or Brookline Highschool medaling in Mass States and racing at Junior Nats. Or any other example of crews doing well that support my massive and inflated ego. But sitting at a desk, two things come to mind.

The first, back in high school when I was coaching swimming, I had the opportunity of working with a kid who was afraid of the deep end. After a few sessions of building his confidence, he was diving into the deep end off the block and he loved swimming after that. The other, and it’s not really a memory, but it’s what the Pittsburgh rowing community has done for Sheik. After being rescued, Sheik wasn’t the most outgoing dog. But it was the rowing community's openness and acceptance that helped build her confidence and become the dog she is today. Whether it was the high school, juniors, collegiate, or masters -- the entire community helped give Sheik the life she deserves. And for that, I will be forever grateful.


What else would you like to share? Sometimes I wonder if the only reason I work a full-time job is to support my coaching habit which I use to support my car habit. Or that I suffer from an inferiority complex which I hide with a superiority complex, hence the ego, but the crews are able to support the ego so it's really not ego, just facts.


-Coach Nate




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