Hey, thanks for answering everyone’s questions on your blog! It is a really nice thing to do for the younger generation of rowers. Anyway, I’m a varsity coxswain on a student-run college club team and I’m getting to be fairly concerned about my 7-seat, who is the Team President. He handles almost all the administrative work for both the men’s and women’s side and in addition, he has to liaison with the university’s Rec Sports department, organize all the outside workouts, make the regatta travel plans, et cetera, et cetera. He spends hours and hours on the team every day, and this is on top of a really tough biology major too.
Although he puts on a brave face in public I feel like he’s starting to crack under the pressure. He’s a really nice person but his patience is just becoming shorter, he seems exhausted, and apparently his classes aren’t going well – he’s already to the point where he’s sure he’s failed one and is going to have to retake it next semester. I’m just a freshman, new to the team, and he’s a senior so I don’t want to step out of line. At the same time, however, I don’t want to watch a teammate become overwhelmed as a result of rowing and not do anything. If I talk to the coaches or directly confront him about delegating some of the workload I feel like it might be embarrassing or come off like I’m questioning his leadership. I don’t want to start any drama this early in my college rowing career but I don’t really see any other options to help the situation. What should I do?
I’d probably talk with him one-on-one and say that you really want to start taking a more vested interest in the behind the scenes stuff that goes along with running the team and wanted to know what little things you could take off his plate. In theory it should be the other board members that should be helping him out with this stuff so I wouldn’t try to take on any of the major responsibilities but little things that are email, paperwork, etc. related could be helpful.
I don’t think offering to help is out of line or anything but if he’s already stressed then I can definitely see how it might come off like you think he’s failing at his responsibilities or something. If he says no thanks or is weird about it then just say “OK no problem but if you do need help with stuff in the future, just let me know and I’m happy to do whatever”. Sometimes just making it known that you’re there if they need something can be beneficial, particularly for people that don’t like asking for help in the first place. I’m like that and I would much rather people just say they’re there if I need something, feel free to reach out, etc. rather than butting in and offering help when I haven’t asked for it or trying to solve the problem for me.