I believe that Richard Parr is a fantastic coach, with a knack for training athletes very well and getting results. I thoroughly enjoyed my years with him and hold his contribution in my early years of rowing as an important part of my successful career so far.
My husband and I (masters rowers and relative newbies to sculling) took some private lessons from Richard this past August. In a nutshell, Richard helped us make changes to our stroke within a few hours that showed us he was more effective than was an entire week at two rowing camps I went to, and one my husband went to. Surely, this was partly due to his being with us alone but undoubtedly moreso (as we looked back on it) due to his amazing skill at ‘fixing’ things. That is, he saw not only what was holding us back, but could backtrack the mistakes to what led to them. Then he communicated this to us clearly, firmly, and compassionately and this enabled us to change the underlying issues in our stroke with the downstream effect of significant overall improvement. We decided then that we weren’t going to spend money on on-the-water coaching anywhere else. If only we lived on Vashon Island... But we plan to make regular trips there. In summary, we felt as if with Richard’s help we could reach our best performance. And Sarah’s hospitality and quick communication was like the cream on top of it all.
Richard’s capability as a coach helped me to develop from a novice rower to a recruitable athlete at the Division I level within a year. The principles that he teaches not only translate to success on the water, but also help athletes — of any age — to evolve into better people, who are geared toward excellence. Not only did my time with Richard help prepare me to make a successful transition into university athletics and academics, but time and time again, these principles have continued to provide me with opportunities for success in other areas of my athletic, academic, and personal life.
Richard’s knowledge and trusted training plan allowed me to not only stay in top performance condition, but also gain speed and make the technical changes that well prepared me for the summer Junior World Rowing Championships (2014) as well as sending me in ready to row at a top D1 rowing university in the United States.
My time spent rowing for Richard Parr has meant more to my development as a young adult than as an athlete. Richard’s coaching provides a high performance athletics experience, but perhaps more importantly, a high performance life experience. Richard uses the sport of rowing as a foundation to build the structure of teamwork and leadership that are crucial for professional and athletic development. This emphasis on character development has set Richard’s athletes up to become successful adults and has manifested itself in the form of scholarships to some of the top universities in the country. I think that any young athlete who buys in to Richard’s coaching is set up for athletic, academic, and professional success.
Richard set up an on- and off-the-water training regimen that helped me to be in top condition, and enabled me to win six races at the 2017 NW Masters Regional regatta.
With Richard’s patient, kind but firm, fun but focused coaching style, my daughter went from being a not-so-athletic teen lacking confidence to a Junior Nationals medalist to a recruited D1 athlete. Richard remains in close contact with her today, and she often looks to him for advice and recommendations. This is true with so many of his former rowers, a testament to his positive coaching style and deep connection with his athletes.
The years I spent rowing under Richard taught me a lot about the sport of rowing, but it was not until I began rowing at the collegiate level that I realized how well he had prepared me for the intensity I would face every day at practice. You get out of it what you put in, and I believe that this mindset has helped me to be a competitive and successful Division I student-athlete. Richard’s principles as a coach have a lasting impact on his athletes, preparing them for success on- and off-water as well for after their rowing careers.