Question of the Day

Hi, I’m a beginner coxswain for a men’s novice 8 and my first regatta is coming up in two days. I’m super super nervous and I was wondering if you could give me some really good calls I can make in the middle of the race … I usually end up not really know what to say and repeat the same things over and over! Thank you so much!

Try and find different ways to say what you’re already saying, that way you can repeat yourself without actually repeating yourself. It keeps the rowers alert and tuned into what you’re saying if you can keep a running list of different ways to say the same things.

Calls for the middle of the race … this is where you’re going to start transitioning from more technique based calls to more motivational calls. You’ll be able to come up with some great stuff if you can find out what THEY want to hear. Remember, you’re guiding them down the river so you’ve got to, in a sense, tell them what they want to hear (and in some cases, what they don’t want to hear) in order to get them to do what you want. Don’t be to stringent though with your calls and try to script it out though (that never works).

Related: HOCR – Race plans and My race plan from HOCR

During my eight’s race two weeks ago we were just sitting on a crew for probably 20 strokes before I said that I was sick of looking at this other crew and that on this next 20 we were going to walk away from them. They responded really well to that and we walked by them with no problem. Another call my crew really likes is “Do not sit, do not quit”, which I borrowed from Pete Cipollone. I used it as we were coming into the last 500m or so to remind them to not sit for a single stroke and to stay focused and in the boat. They said it was one of the best calls they’d heard because it really got them fired up for the end of the race.

A great way to develop your calls is to listen to the calls of other coxswains. Listen to them and pull out/modify anything you think would be beneficial for your crew. Remember the number one rule of borrowing coxswain calls though: don’t take, use, borrow, or modify a call if you do not know why it was being used in the first place. Remember your tone of voice too throughout the race. I know there are posts either on here or on the blog somewhere where I talk about tone, inflection, volume, etc. They’re all very important in communicating well with your crew and making sure they stay alert and focused.

Related: Coxswain recordings

I know I didn’t give you any SPECIFIC calls in here but hopefully I’ve given some tools to help you come up with your own stuff.

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