Aug 9 – The Notebook

The Notebook.

I am sure that you have one.  Everyone does.  Its really a question of what are you doing with your notebook.

A few years ago, I sat with coach after a practice.  The notebook was worn and tattered, and was filled, FILLED, with notes.  More notes than I had ever seen, so I had to ask.

“What do you put in that notebook?”

Eventually, they shared what was in their notebook.  I had figured that it was full of workouts and boat lineups, but to my surprise, there was a bunch more.  The way this coach used their notebook was so much more efficient and functional compared to what I was doing when I coached that I had to share.


Here is the way the notebook broke down:

First pages
There was a page for each athlete on the team.  Here is how it looked:
1. Name:
2. Year in school:
3. Height:
4. Weight:
5. Port/Starboard/ in the bow / in the stern
6. Spring 2k PR:
7. First fall 6k time:

Next couple lines were different and awesome.  It showed the level of commitment that this coach had to each athlete.

8. Goal for season:
9. How do we get to this goal?

Further down the page and onto the back of the page were updates from through out the season, check ins, updated goals.  It was pretty awesome to see the interest and passion this coach had for each athlete.

The next section of the notebook was dedicated to each day of the season, pretty simple layout:


  1. Date:
  2. Workout:
  3. Goal of workout:
  4. Boat lineups [if on water]:
  5. Weather [if on water]:
  6. What went well:
  7. What went poorly:
  8. From this practice remember:

We talked at length about the notes and the progress that a specific athletes had made.  This coach has years of these notebooks sitting under their desk.   When they ran into an issue or a question, they could pull out an old notebook and see how they had addressed the issue in the past.

I share all of this, because I really loved how engaged this coach was with the program, with each member of the team, and with each workout.  It was clean. Deliberate. Focused.

Every coach has had their notebook, but this coach was using their notebook more effectively than any other coach I had seen.