Question of the Day

So I’m a novice coxswain and I am very self conscious. I am constantly asking my rowers what they want to hear and asking others for advice. In a race we did well at, I was really proud of myself but then one of the girls in the boat told me that they did all the work and I didn’t really do anything. And then when we do bad in a race, I feel like its all my fault. I don’t really know what to do…

That is so rude of that girl. I really can’t stand rowers that have that attitude towards coxswains. If you think that they are such unimportant additions to the boat, go scull or row a pair. They’re there for a reason whether you like it or not.

Related: I started rowing about a year and a half ago, but I’m 4’11 so my coach had me cox 4-5 months after I had started rowing and instantly fell in love. I’m a varsity coxswain, but I always have trouble finding my voice during races. I’m not terribly confident because some of the girls in my boat criticize me, but it’s never constructive it’s really rude, but I stumble over my words and end up repeating myself. Do you have any tips on how I could improve my calls?

If you do poorly in a race, it’s never one person’s fault. Yea, if you’re steering all over the place that’s probably going to make a significant difference and you deserve to have the rowers pissed at you for that. Otherwise, there isn’t much you can do to effect the outcome of the race other than call a good piece. Know your strategy and how to execute it. When you do execute it, do it confidently so that the rowers will feel your commitment and respond in kind.

Related: I’ve always been that insecure person but according to my rowers and coach, I’m a “good coxswain.” Problem is that I always find fault in whatever I’m doing. I’m positive towards my rowers but negative towards myself. Any tips on how to be more self confident?

Like I said to the person in the post linked above, sometimes you have to remove yourself from the situation and look at it from a neutral perspective. What actually happened in your race? What could you have done differently in terms of calling the race or where you made a certain call? How well did the rowers respond to your calls? What worked, what didn’t? What was the competition like? Are they known for being an insanely fast team who wins everything or are they a team you should have easily beaten? What were the weather conditions? How did that effect the water? How prepared was your crew for the race? Were they excited for it or was it “just another race”? All of those things have an effect on how well you do in a race, outside of the actual rowing. It’s never “all your fault”.

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