Posted by .

We are very happy to announce that Mike Purcer will be our full time Executive Director of High Performance and Coaching Development. Matthew Wortley was able to sit with Mike for a quick interview about his roles as Technical Director what he has in store for rowing in Ontario. Take a look below!


Matt: First, congratulations on the new full time position with ROWONTARIO. You have been working for ROWONTARIO as the Technical Director for almost two years, how do you see this job as different.

Mike: This position will provide me the additional time and resources to take programs like Club Elite, Canada Games and coaching development to the next level. I will have additional time to visit clubs and talk to coaches and club administrators about their needs and have direct links to programs and committees to address the concerns of our clubs. This new position will provide more direct connections to Rowing Canada related to coaching development as well as other programs.

Matt: How do you see your position as it relates to High Performance and when is an athlete considered as a HP athlete?

Mike: A very large portion of our club competitive athletes are training hard. Athletes that have achieved a high performance level have been training hard continuously for a number of years and are performing at the top of their class in racing and on the Ergometer. Athletes that submit RADAR scores are on the high performance pathway and when they achieve the ROWONTARIO Club Elite Standards on the erg we consider them at the high performance level. In my position I want to help clubs identify their HP athletes and support these athletes that are in need of the best equipment, best coaches and a race schedule that will challenge them to the next level of boat speed.

Matt: you seem to emphasize the rowing ergometer and RADAR, is this your only measure of high performance?

Mike: The rowing ergometer is the best way to evaluate strength and endurance in the rowing movement. Scores provide an evaluation of effective training and RADAR submissions demonstrate the athlete’s commitment to high performance rowing. Given two athletes with the same technical skill level the stronger, fitter athlete will always win. You cannot be a high performance athlete without good training.

Matt: Coaching development is a complex topic, what are your plans to help coaches get their certification?

Mike: It’s much more than coaching certification and I see coaching development as a three part challenge: coach recruitment, coach retention and coach education. I think there are a limited number of coaches currently available at clubs and I want to address how ROWONTARIO can help Clubs recruit more coaches. Second I want to look at ways to help clubs retain our existing coaches. What are our coach’s needs and how can we keep them in our sport. Coaching education is the major focus will consume a substantial amount of my time. I will be working with Rowing Canada to help move coach certification forward. Additionally, I believe that a ROWONTARIO Coach Mentor program could help structure and improve the existing learning that happened every day at our clubs. I will also be proposing a ROWONTARIO Coaching Development Committee to address the three challenges I have outlined.

Matt: is there anything else you would like to pass on to our readers?

Mike: Thanks Matt, I would like to continue to work closely with our clubs. Last year I initiated a program of Club Visits. I traveled around the province and had the opportunity to get on the water with coaches and share information about ROWONTARIO programs. I would like to continue with Club Visits and would suggest that club administrators could email me at to schedule a visit.

We are very happy to have Mike Purcer join our team full time, welcome Mike!