Hello! I’m a novice coxswain and I’m still learning so I often ask my rowers exactly what they want to hear. When we erg often the varsity team helps cox them. I honestly feel like coxing ergs is kind of awkward and I am not the best at it (but I’m still learning). After asking one of my rowers what I can do to improve she told me that she didn’t like my coxing style and she preferred one of the varsity members. I am not able to cox like that – it doesn’t come naturally … what should I do?
It’s good that you ask your rowers what they want. Don’t be offended or take it personally if somebody says they don’t like your coxing style. Some rowers like to go into bubbles on the ergs and don’t want any coxing. Others prefer other people’s style. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad coxswain or anything. I would talk with the varsity coxswain that your rower likes and ask her for advice. Observe her (and the other coxswain’s) style when she’s with people on the ergs and take notes. It’s like putting together an outfit … everybody has their own style but we all draw inspiration from other people.
Don’t go into every erg piece thinking “this is awkward, I’m awkward, nobody likes my coxing … SHIT!”. Go into each piece and look at it as a new learning experience each time. Try and pick up some new tips when you watch the other coxswains and use that to help you come up with your own way of calling pieces. Practice on rowers (who don’t mind being coxed) and then get feedback from them when practice is over. Find out what worked, what didn’t, and what you can improve on, and then use all that information moving forward.