Question of the Day

“Fake it till you make it.” Do you believe in that for coxswains? Because of today’s terrible practice I wouldn’t have been able to fake anything for the life of me.

I do to an extent. If you’re at the point where you can’t even fake like you have an idea of what’s happening, speak up and say something. I really only say “fake it til you make it” (and I’m not even sure that’s the right term to use) as a way to get coxswains to act confident even when they’re not sure of something … like, they’re 85% sure but there’s that 15% of doubt. I don’t want to hear the 15% of doubt in your voice. Even if you’re only 85% sure, I want to hear 100% confidence when you talk. I’ll trust you a lot more if you at least sound like you know what you want vs. someone who is like “ummm, yea…I think that’s right”. If you genuinely do not understand how to do something or the coach says something that makes NO sense, just raise your hand and say “Coach, I don’t understand, can you go over that again?” After practice, if you still don’t understand, talk to them privately or ask one of the experienced coxswains. They might be able to explain whatever it is a little better than your coach can.

Faking it should never be a substitute for actually knowing how to do something. Safety is a huge issue when you’re on the water, so I would never want a coxswain to fake knowing a skill just to avoid asking for clarification or to avoid slowing down the speed of practice. $40,000 boat + 8 other people = your responsibility (no pressure). Not knowing how to do something and not inquiring as to how to do it puts you and your crew at risk for an accident. I think that you should approach every situation confidently and not let anyone question that what you’re saying is exactly what you want, but at the same time if you don’t know how to do something, don’t understand something, have a question, etc. you should always ask. I say this all the time and it holds true here…there are MANY stupid questions out there but a question for clarification is never stupid. Be confident but not cocky to the point that you don’t know when to ask for help.

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