Coaching the whole person

30 May 2021

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Well, certainly at the stage, when Harry coached me, we had a very good relationship between the two of us. And I think he wanted to be happy in as many aspects of his life as he could be.

And he recognised [that] for me to be fast on the water, I had to be happy in as many aspects of my life as possible. So he coached me as a whole person.

So he didn’t just influence me on the water; he influenced me off the water as well.

So what did that look like? Well, I remember he would ask me how my evening had been, how my wife was, if my friends wanted to come down. And some of my friends came down and ended up rowing with us; they would come down and we would all enjoy a training session or even…

One particular trip, I remember we all went out to Piediluco in Italy, and he took myself and he took a pair, and we took all of our wives and girlfriends with us. And we just enjoyed going on a trip together and going away and being young men, with our partners, and going out and enjoying the sport of rowing.

When it came to training camps, I remember I was racing in the single and we had a training camp and we started off in one location, I think we were down in Varese, and then we went to the World Championships, so we were in Aiguebelette. And in between the training camps, he let Jenny, my wife, fly out, join us on the training camp. We had a few days when the boats were being transported and, in that time, she and I went off to Verona, went to the theater, or the amphitheater, the opera. And then we drove ourselves into France, and we met up with him at the World Championships.

He was very interested in everything, being on song, everything working together. And when everything worked together, then he knew I’d be a happy person; as a happy person, I’d then be able to perform and deliver on the water.

And I think I realised that, and it helped me grow as a person because I took responsibility for all the aspects of my life and I knew they all needed to join up. And when everything was working in all the aspects, then I was at my best.

Harry and I would go on training camps. We went down to South Africa, and we wanted to experience South African life. There was no way we were going to get driven around in taxis. We got given an old car, we drove that car around and we drove and we stopped anywhere we wanted to, and we bought food anywhere we wanted to, and I remember we went off and watched the cricket together. We went and had a great evening watching cricket together. And, yeah, we just…

Harry helped me to appreciate the broader world. And whether that was the physical environment or the relationships, the emotional environment, and everything else that went with it.

So yeah, he had a massive influence on me growing up as a person.

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About the
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Greg Searle

British rower Greg Searle was already an Olympic Champion in sweep rowing when he was first coached by Harry Mahon in the single scull.

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