Letting the athlete think for themself

29 May 2021

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When I think about the coaches I’d had before Harry, I think they came from a more directive approach. They had an idea of what I should look like, and what rowing should look like. And I was working towards that picture.

With Harry, it was very different, in that he looked at what I was doing, and then thought, how could you make the best of what I was doing?

So what would be Greg at Greg’s best, rather than what does some East German guy look like? That would roughly be the kind of difference in terms of the way I started to think about it.

And I felt like I wasn’t really doing anything wrong; I could just do things better.

And to me Harry’s style of asking me questions, getting me thinking for myself, was a complete revelation, compared to the style I’d experienced in the past. And it gave a load of control and power back to me.

I guess particularly as a younger brother, who’d always rowed with my older brother, and someone who’d been coached by my schoolteacher, I didn’t think I was meant to think for myself. And then Harry came along and let me think for myself, and let me figure things out for myself.

And that took me as a rower to a different level, and as a person to a different level.

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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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