BACKSTORY: Roger Barrow
We question Roger Barrow, head coach at RMB National Rowing Squad
What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
Relationships are key when doing business. And the foundation of any relationship is honesty. So I would say if you’re honest, you’ll always get the best results.
What was your first job?
I was a bellboy/waiter/barman in a small hotel.
How much was your first pay cheque, and how did you spend it?
It was for not very many pounds. I spent it all on warm training kit to help me deal with the weather in England, which is where I had my first job.
What is the one thing you wish that somebody had told you when you were starting out?
I have a little "B" mantra that I recite to myself that always helps when things get tough: Breathe, Believe and Be Brave. This has helped me to keep my cool and focus on what’s important.
Do you think we need SAA?
Like anything in life, we only need things if they work. If SAA is broken and can’t be fixed, then we don’t need it and should get rid of it.
What is your biggest regret?
I wish I had picked up a mentor coach at a much younger age. There is so much to learn from those who have preceded us.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?
As a coach it’s important to be tough when it’s called for. Many people see me as a bit of a stickler, but they’re surprised when they learn that I actually carry a large amount of empathy.
What would you go back and tell your younger self that would impress him?
I would share the famous quote: "The harder you practise, the luckier you get."
How do you deal with stress?
Mentally, I focus on what needs to be done in the moment, never trying to think too far ahead. Physically, I find that long, brisk walks help me to get my thoughts in order.
What is the one investment you wish you had made, or made earlier?
As a coach I wish I had invested more time in training younger athletes with the right model of training.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Confidence. Having tons of confidence is pointless if you don’t have the ability to back it up.
How do you cope with load-shedding?
I can’t control it so I don’t let it bother me.
If you were President Cyril Ramaphosa, what would you change, or do, tomorrow?
I would place greater emphasis on education and schools. If we were able to get all kids into school and give them the best education possible, our future would be secure.