What psychology makes a top rower?

I’ve often wondered whether all top athletes in rowing are just hard-assed bastards or if there’s something very special about their brain make-up that which enables them to succeed in top sport.

Today my questions were answered.

I read a presentation from the FISA Coaches Conference by Annaelen Colletz from the German Rowing Federation in which she assessed athetes and also coach psychological profiles.

Take a read of two of her slides.

  • The first one showing four personality types and their varying attributes (commitment, discipline, social skills, co-operation, dominance and stability).
  • The second shows where the strengths and weaknesses of each type is across the attributes.

We all know that a “mad single sculler type” won’t be good in a crew boat – and that a team captain sometimes isn’t the best athlete and I think these graphs really bear that out.  If you are an individualist with low social skills, why would you want to hang out in a group?  And the ‘unstable type’ is very high in discipline – so although they have a wobbly personality they are demons for training and never miss a session.

What do you think?  Recognise anyone with these traits?

Four personality types for elite rowers
Strengths and weaknesses of elite rower personalities
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