Maintaining Momentum For A Smooth Ride To Success
Feb 01, 2014Posted by james

We often don’t really know much about someone until they are gone. That’s when we hear the remembrance stories that explain a life of shortcomings followed by successes, commitment and innovation. Like me, you probably never heard about Allen Rosenberg. I only learned about him recently from his published obituary.

Allen started as a coxswain during the 1950s and then he became a coach. His innovations in rowing technique helped produce Olympic and world champions.

At five feet and one inch in height, Allen never weighed much more than 100 pounds. He was described by fans as a half-pint in a world dominated by gallon jugs. But, this did not stop him from mentoring athletes who were twice his size and, during a couple of decades, spurring them to victory in international competitions with his intellect and shrewd motivational skills.

“I can’t possibly explain the difference between the silver and the gold,’ he once said to his rowers, “but if you win the silver, you’ll wake up the next morning and know that someone rowed a better race than you, and I don’t want you to go through life thinking of that.”

By profession, Allen Rosenberg was a lawyer and pharmacist. He relied on his learning skills to help transform rowing from pure brute strength into a blend of science and sport. He actually studied the ways to make a boat move, learning that there was more to it than simply using an oar and frantically pushing the water. He spoke more about lightness of hands, plus relaxing and balancing in the recovery part of the stroke. He concentrated on a long pull in the water, quiet and even. The less water disturbed, he figured, the faster the boat will travel.

Allen’s successes are numerous, including a 1964 gold medal as a U.S. Olympic coach in Tokyo. He even developed a successful rowing style, teaching rowers to fire their muscle groups in a rotation rather than all at one time. The technique became known as the Rosenberg style, and he often compared it to a group of men who attempted to move a boulder.

Rather than exhorting a great heave, Allen contended it was better to use muscle groups in sequence—first legs, then shoulders, backs and then arms—because the solution was not to budge the boulder but to keep it rolling as smoothly as possible.

That’s how I see things in business. It’s not the heavy lifting that is important. It is the Rosenberg technique that maintains momentum and ensures the ride to success remains smooth.



  • By Daniel Jacoby, February 3, 2014 @ 3:56 am

    What a great article, I agree with the parallel to businesses .
    It is constant effort consistently day in and day out that will bring success. Persistence and working smart and keeping your life in balance will bring you all the success life has to offer.


  • By Susie, February 3, 2014 @ 6:34 am

    Enjoyed, as always.

  • By John McQueen, February 4, 2014 @ 2:39 am

    Great post. I enjoyed learning about Mr. Rosenberg and how you tied it back to business.

  • By Patricia Curtis, February 5, 2014 @ 9:28 am

    Very interesting. Some people have a gift. You seem to find them. Xoxo

  • By Brooke Bakker, March 7, 2014 @ 4:24 am

    Mr. Metzger, What advice do you give a team member when they are not communicating and giving information regarding important events; therefore, perhaps, not maintaining momentum to the best of their ability? BNBB

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