Shaping Future Leaders: Guy Monseair on Rowing’s Impact

Shaping Future Leaders Guy Monseair on Rowing's Impact

Guy Monseair is the esteemed Head Coach and Executive Director at City Island Rowing in Bronx, NY. His diverse background includes entrepreneurship in art galleries and horticulture, ultimately leading him to his true passion: coaching. At City Island Rowing, Guy not only fosters athletic excellence but also emphasizes the holistic development of young athletes, preparing them for success both on and off the water.

What inspired you to transition from entrepreneurship to coaching rowing? 

My journey into coaching was somewhat serendipitous but deeply fulfilling. I originally invested my time and energy into art and horticulture, areas I’m passionate about. However, I found that my volunteer work as a rowing coach, initially just a side interest, was incredibly rewarding. Seeing young athletes grow, not just in skill but in confidence and character, really resonated with me. It made me realize that coaching could have a profound impact, so I decided to dedicate myself fully to it.

How do you integrate your previous business experience into your coaching methods? 

The skills I honed in business, particularly in organization, strategic planning, and people management, have been invaluable in coaching. I approach each training session with a clear plan and goals, much like I would tackle a business project. Managing a team, whether in a company or on the water, requires understanding individual strengths and how they can ideally contribute to the group’s success. My business experience has definitely shaped a more structured and effective coaching style.

What is one key challenge you’ve faced in coaching, and how did you overcome it? 

One of the biggest challenges was shifting the team culture towards a more holistic approach to athlete development. Initially, there was a strong focus solely on physical performance. I introduced programs that included mental health workshops, leadership training, and community service. It took time for the team to see the value in these additions, but through consistent results and open communication, the athletes began to appreciate how these elements significantly improved their performance and teamwork.

In what ways do you think rowing helps in developing future leaders?

Rowing is unique in that it combines physical prowess with intense teamwork and mental strategy. Every member in the boat must synchronize perfectly, which teaches responsibility, communication, and mutual support. These are all critical leadership skills. Additionally, I place a strong emphasis on setting personal and team goals, handling setbacks positively, and leading by example. Rowers learn to lead not just within their sport but in their broader community interactions, which is essential for real-world leadership.

How do you ensure that your athletes maintain balance between their sport and academics? 

Balancing academics and sports is crucial. City Island Rowing is unique among competitive programs as we give our Varsity athletes a day off in the middle of the week, and have one early morning session, giving our athletes 2 afternoons per week free. This allows our athletes time to make sure they can thrive academically as well as get rest. I also work closely with parents and educational advisors to monitor the athletes’ academic performance. If an athlete struggles, we adjust their training regimen and provide additional support where necessary. It’s about teaching them to manage their time effectively, a skill that benefits their academics now and their professional life later on.

What’s your perspective on the role of nutrition and physical recovery in rowing? 

Nutrition and recovery are as critical as physical training in rowing. I educate the team on the importance of proper nutrition and incorporate recovery practices into our routine, including stressing the need for adequate sleep, hydration, and active recovery days. Understanding how to care for their bodies maximizes athletes’ performance and reduces the risk of injuries.

Can you share a memorable moment from your coaching career? 

One of the memorable moments was watching our team clinch a national championship after seasons of intense preparation and dedication. The sheer joy and pride evident on the athletes’ faces, and knowing the hard work they put in, was profoundly rewarding. It wasn’t just about winning; it was about seeing them come together and perform as a cohesive unit under pressure, embodying all the values we’d worked on throughout the season.

What advice would you give to someone aspiring to become a rowing coach? 

My advice would be to focus on continuous learning and genuinely caring for your athletes’ development in all aspects of their lives. Coaching is not just about training athletes to win races; it’s about mentoring them to become the ideal versions of themselves. Be patient, be willing to adapt, and always lead by example. The impact you can have as a coach extends far beyond the boat.

Are there any new initiatives or programs you’re excited about introducing at City Island Rowing? 

We are currently planning to expand our community outreach programs and establish more partnerships with local schools to introduce rowing to younger students. We’re also looking at enhancing our training facilities with more environmentally sustainable technologies and practices, reinforcing our commitment to not only developing great athletes but also responsible citizens.


Published by: Khy Talara

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