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How Harry Parker Trained Harvard


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Crew is one of the most demanding of sports, and Harvard has been a perennial champion due to the late Harry Parker.

And he did it without words.

Harry relied less on verbal instruction than on creating an environment that exposed athletes to situations they could learn from. Two boats duking it out side by side taught everyone on board everything they needed to know about racing, teamwork, persistence, and themselves. This was experiential education in action. Athletes improved and gained greater understanding, of the sport and of themselves, by doing rather than by being told what to do. Words were often considered superfluous and thus seldom uttered. In Harry’s practices, motivated individuals would learn for themselves and learn from each other.

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