Crew at Middletown High School
Blue Dragon Handbook for Rowers, Coxswains and Parents
Introduction Crew began at Middletown High School in 1971, started by Coach John K. “Jack” Smith. The team has a long and proud tradition of excellence, including alumni national team member Sue Tuttle and Olympic medalist, Phil Stekl. We have a boys’ and girls’ team as it pertains to practice and racing, but operate as one large team in all other aspects. Participating on an athletic team allows one to grow physically, mentally and socially. We are willing to provide this opportunity if you are willing to make the commitment to the team and do the work it requires to be successful.
Fall Crew Fall crew, designated a club, requires that each varsity athlete pay a fee to participate. This fee covers the cost of race registrations, travel, and boat transportation. If novice race during the season they will also be charged a fee. As a club, the fall program is totally team supported. We make every effort to keep this fee as low as possible. Sometimes we are able to have a fundraiser that defrays some of the expense. The fall rowing season is quite different than the spring in that the racing is all long distance (5k+) and it is also against a wider array of competitors, some international in a completely different race format, a head race format, where each boat races against the clock.
Crew Winter Training MHS Crew offers winter training sessions. This involves using the erg (rowing machine), periodic visits to rowing tanks, weight lifting, body circuit training, running and other cross-training opportunities. We highly recommend that athletes choose to do another sport in the crew off season as cross-training is best for the proper development of a young athlete’s body. However, if there is not a sport that you are interested in then we offer the winter training sessions. The schedule is dictated by the level of interest and details will be forthcoming.
Spring Crew The spring season is the varsity season for crew. This means that participation in this season can earn an athlete a varsity letter and that the school recognizes crew as a fully supported sport during this season. The racing is sprint style with crews racing one another directly off the starting line for a distance of 1500 meters. Our schedule is filled primarily with other public schools in Connecticut, of which there are 12. We also strive to qualify for New England Regionals which includes private and public high schools. We are not governed by the CIAC, however we choose to adhere to their rules that can apply to our sport and to the essence of that the governing body as it pertains to interscholastic athletes. There will be more info regarding the spring season at our annual potluck spring kickoff meeting in mid-March. 1
Team Goals - To compete with respectability, confidence and good sportsmanship - To develop a sense of community amongst athletes, coaches, parents and other teams - To improve each individual athlete’s performance over last season - To increase roster total for both boys and girls - To develop the necessary skills of new rowers and improve their individual performance - To have a winning record - To improve results at fall regattas - To race in the Head of the Charles (fall) - To make it to the Finals and Medal in our State Championships (spring) - To qualify for NEIRA Regional Championships (spring) - To have fun - To …(fill in your own personal goal)
Eligibility - There will be no cuts since the sport is brand new to most student-athletes, but at any time the coaching staff feels that an athlete is a danger to him/herself or others we reserve the right to dismiss him/her from the team. - All rowers must pass a swim test that consists of swimming 8 laps in the pool, floating for 10 mins., treading water for 10 mins., and putting on a lifejacket while floating in deep water. - All athletes must view a rowing safety video and demonstrate an understanding of safety procedures - All athletes must meet all other requirements as outlined in the Middletown High School Parent-Student Handbook
Expectations - Athletes maintain good academic standing o In lieu of study halls, students will have biweekly progress reports completed by their teachers if deemed necessary o Students are encouraged to seek extra help with academics in order to maintain good academic standing o Student-athletes are expected to manage their time between responsibilities, including sport participation, in such a way as to maintain 2
the highest possible academic standing they are capable of achieving. Student first, Athlete second. Rowers will be on time and dressed appropriately for all practices and competitions o All members of the team should wear appropriate athletic wear: close fitting shorts, t-shirts, socks, running shoes, sweatshirt, sweatpants, rain gear, etc. Highly recommended to have extra socks and extra footwear. We get wet! This is a water sport, after all. Hats and sunglasses are highly recommended. o We sometimes practice when it is still very cold – prepare by bringing clothing that can be layered but still allow movement, have a set of extra clothes to put on after practice in case they get wet, have a couple pairs of socks, have shoes that can get wet, dirty. We rarely cancel practice. o A healthy snack – you will need energy in order to exercise to your full potential. Recommendations: yogurt, granola bars, peanut butter crackers, nuts and seeds. o Inhalers or any other medical needs o Water bottle – every athlete should have his/her own water bottle – try to have a reusable one rather than bringing plastic water bottles every day (think green ). Water is always the preferred beverage. Rowers will be present at all practices unless it is excused o An excused absence from practice = an absence from school the same day or the athlete has received approval for the absence from the coach prior to that day’s practice All athletes will be cooperative by helping out teammates and/or coaches with whatever needs to get done All athletes will work hard every day – pushing themselves so that we will get stronger and be the best that we can be All athletes should be focused during practice o Putting in maximum effort for both land and water workouts (including warm-ups and cool down exercises) o Paying attention to the coach – not talking when the coach is speaking, for example. o Be focused, disciplined and serious about efforts to improve and to work towards team goals o Have fun in an appropriate way that supports what we as a team are trying to accomplish All athletes should check e-mail on a daily basis. o The team is very large and this is the most ideal and convenient form of communicating to the team and parents. We send out a fair amount of info, especially in season. Check your email daily. o The dissemination and receiving of information in an efficient and timely manner lends to the team’s success – reducing delays and easing logistics o E-mails are sent out regularly and all athletes are expected to respond to verify receipt and understanding of the communication 3
o Failure to respond to an e-mail in a timely manner will result in being uninformed and missed opportunities All athletes are expected to behave in a way that best represents the team at all times o All athletes should adhere to good sportsmanship – treating all members of the team, other MHS teams, competitors, coaches, administrators, parents, facilities, equipment and yourself with the utmost respect. o As a member of this team you are representing your school and your community. Therefore, you are expected to act as an ambassador for the sport and the team at all times, both in and out of school, while at crew events and everywhere else. We do a unique thing and have the opportunity to promote it in a positive way. This will only strengthen what we can do as a team. o The use of social media, as it relates to crew, will be limited to advertising team events such as races, fundraisers or other team related activities. Posts will only pertain to general announcements with no specific individuals named. The above listed expectations relative to behavior also pertain to the social media applications. o Social media will not be used to share team information such as what happens at practice or the activities of others on the team. There will be no commentary or opinions placed on social media as it relates to experiences as they pertain to crew. This includes during practice and outside of practice times, 24/7. There will be zero tolerance for any behavior/comments on social media that can be interpreted as bullying or anything of that nature. All athletes have the responsibility of keeping in shape year-round o We offer a fall rowing program, a winter training program and a spring rowing program – the expectation is that if you are not participating in another sport you are taking advantage of the programs we offer o A fit athlete is more productive, stronger and faster and less likely to be injured All athletes should adhere to a sensible diet o You should be eating food with high nutritional value – a nice mix of proteins, fruits, vegetables and carbohydrates o Stay away from sugary foods, soda and fast food o Make sure to drink plenty of water – exercise takes a lot of energy and fluids need to be replaced. If Gatorade is consumed dilute it by at least 50% All athletes are expected to be committed to this team o As a member of this team your priorities during the season should reflect that commitment. Assess your responsibilities and plan accordingly so that you may meet your commitments o Communication of any conflicts or issues is the athlete’s responsibility to share directly with their respective coach. o Your coaches and teammates are counting on you 4
Consequences for Not Meeting Expectations - Academic Standing o If a student does not meet academic requirements as outlined in the MHS Parent-Student Handbook they will either be placed on Academic Probation or dismissed from the team, based on Athletic Dept policies. o If a teacher indicates on a biweekly progress report that a student’s grades are slipping that student must stay after with that teacher until that situation is rectified – the student should still come to practice afterwards and the tardy would be excused. - Unexcused Tardy to Practice o Discipline will be at the coach’s discretion - Unexcused Absence from Practice o Athlete may not be put in the boat upon their return o Athlete will make every effort to make up for work missed o If absent the day before a race that athlete may not race unless there are extenuating circumstances. That decision will be left to the coaching staff. - Inappropriate Behavior o All athletes on this team serve as ambassadors of the team, of the school and of the community at all times, not just at athletic events. Any inappropriate behavior by any team member at any time will be dealt with at the discretion of the coaching staff, which can include suspension or expulsion from the team. If an offense is warranted serious enough by the coaches, and not already dictated by athletic department policy, there is a possibility of more serious consequences such as reporting to school administration or other entities. - Making Choices o At times athletes will need to make choices that will affect the team – for example, going on field trips, taking vacations, having things to do for other groups to which they belong. As coaches we support the student athlete’s right to make choices in their lives and encourage them to do so. The coaches also endorse the concept that there are natural, positive and/or negative consequences to all choices made in one’s life. With that understanding in place, the responsibility of the coaching staff is to prepare the team for competition and to make choices that allow the team/boats to be as competitive as possible. So although there will be no punitive action taken, an athlete that misses practice when others are not may experience the natural consequence of falling behind those 5
other athletes. It is at the coach’s discretion to determine the best boatings for overall team success, relative to these absences.
Awards In order to be eligible for a varsity letter the athlete must participate in at least 50% of the races in a varsity boat. The team also awards, annually, the Beth Shapiro Award for the boy and girl novice rower that shows the most enthusiasm and commitment towards crew. The team also bestows on both the boys and girls teams awards for most consistent and sportsmanship.
Race Days For those of you new to this sport let us explain what happens on race days. - The day before the race we must derig and load all the boats and necessary equipment on the trailer. That means that practices may run a little longer. No one can be dismissed until all the work is done. - The day of the race all athletes must report to the boathouse at the designated time. They should have their uniforms, extra clothes and the food assigned to them for the common food table. (This assignment is given to them a few days before the race and will also be e-mailed.) - At most races all team members compete– boys and girls Varsity, JV and novice. This means a very long day. Once we get to the racing venue we have to rig the boats, we race and all team members are expected to help each other out and then we derig and load the trailer again. All members will take the bus home and once we get back we must take the boats off the trailer before anyone is dismissed. It is very difficult to give an exact time of when we will be done but athletes are encouraged to call you once we reach the boathouse. - Fall races are about 3 miles in length and take about 20 minutes, on average and spring races are about 1500 meters in length and take about 5 - 8 minutes. Boats usually go out a good 40-45 minutes before their race to warm up and practice. In the fall the races are against the clock and all teams cross the starting line one at a time. There are many boats in each race. The spring races are usually 3-6 boats of the same class, i.e. varsity or novice, that start all at the same time and whomever crosses the finish line first wins. In the fall crew is a club and in the spring it is a varsity sport. Parents only get to see a small segment of the race, spring or fall, but with the help of binoculars it really is an enjoyable 6
experience. The kids really love to have you there cheering them on! And the coaches do, too!
Parent Help We really rely on your help and support to make this experience as positive as possible for your children. There are many opportunities for parents to become involved in this organization. If you can find someway to volunteer, we would really appreciate it. Food Tent – During races athletes are assigned to bring food and it is given to the Food Tent parents. In order for our kids to eat all day long we need you to staff it. The coaching staff is very busy on race day and so we cannot oversee this. The Jobs: 1. Someone to assign the foods – you are given a roster and you simply assign each kid going to the race something to bring. You can get as creative as you’d like. Think of it as planning for a big party with each guest bringing something to help out. 2. Parents to man the tent – You ensure that everyone gets to eat and assist in the setup, preparation and cleanup of the food. If you are planning on attending races anyway this is a great job for you. You get to see the races and interact with the kids. It is also the social center of the team and a great way to get to know everyone. You will find many experienced parents here and they are happy to share their experience with you. 3. Parents to cook – especially on long days we like to grill. The team owns a grill but we need parents to actually do the cooking. Booster Club Representatives – The first Wednesday of every month there is a booster club meeting. Parent representatives attend and report back to the coaching staff and parents any important information. We generally encourage an upper class parent and a freshman or sophomore parent to volunteer. Friends of MHS Crew Board – We would like to have in place a group of parents that work as a board to come up with and implement fundraising activities, marketing concepts and general support of the advancement of MHS crew. We are looking for creative parents who are willing to commit some time to come up with new and profitable ideas and would be willing to get those ideas off the ground.
Parent Liaison Contact TBD
Team Web Site http://www.middletownschools.org/page.cfm?p=8564 This handbook, race schedules, results, directions, current information, pictures and tips for enjoying crew are located on our web site
Coach Contact Information Email is the preferred method of communication. Wendy Sheil – Head Coach Cell – 860-918-4067 Email – [email protected]
Kyle Breton – Assistant Coach Cell – 860-316-8132 Email – [email protected]
Kristina DeAngulo – Assistant Coach Cell – 860-221-5665 Email – [email protected]
Assistant Coach – TBD Assistant Coach - TBD
Twitter - @MiddletownCrew Please follow us.
Important Info via Text Service called “Remind”: Please sign up to receive important and timely team information. Send this message @mhscrew1 to 81010 to sign up.
MHS BOYS’ AND GIRLS’ CREW HANDBOOK ACKNOWLEDGEMENT PAGE
This handbook guides the behavior of students-athletes that are members of crew throughout the school year. It answers many questions about expectations and policies about many issues and should help team members take responsibility for contributing to a safe and productive environment while participating in crew. Thank you for taking the time to read this. The team member and their respective parent(s) or guardian(s) shall please sign on the lines available. Return the completed form to the head coach. If you have further questions, please contact the head coach.
I have read the procedures and rules set forth in this handbook..
________________________________________________________________________ Student/Athlete (Print) Signature (Date