Question of the Day

What would you say differently if this post was asked by a varsity coxswain?

I’d still bring it to the coach’s attention but as the more experienced coxswain (thus a team leader by default) I’d also take the coxswain(s) aside and ask/say something along these lines.

Why did you join crew? Did they actually want to do it or were they forced to find an extracurricular to partake in?

You lack of enthusiasm has become quite noticeable to the rowers in your boat – did you know that?

It’s been noted that you don’t enjoy going out on the water. It’s kind of a big part of coxing so if you don’t enjoy being out there, I’d say it’s time to start reevaluating if rowing is the sport for you.

Regardless of whether you enjoy it or not, if you’re going to be here you need to take it seriously because coxswains who are flippant about safety or not paying attention because they’re uninterested can quickly become some of the biggest hazards on the river.

Are you aware of the responsibilities of a coxswain? If yes, any particular reason why they’re not doing them? If no, explain what they are (general responsibilities and any specific ones that your club has).

Can you handle the responsibilities? If yes, good. Come back tomorrow prepared to do better. If not, again, time to start reevaluating things.

Explain the team dynamic to them – what’s the philosophy, what are the team’s goals for the season, why are the coxswains important in helping achieve those goals, etc.

Let them know that you and the other varsity coxswains (and rowers) are there to help (and that you want to help) but they can only help you if you’re willing to listen and learn. A blasé attitude is not going to be accepted by anyone who chooses to be a member of the team.

That is all assuming you’re talking to a novice. If you’re talking to a fellow varsity coxswain, this is what I’d say:

Seriously, you’ve been already been doing this for 2, 3, 4 years. Underclassmen look up to you  and you’re expected to set the example. Get your shit together.

Things are a little different when you’re a varsity coxswain because you’ve got more experience and an assumed leadership role on your side. You should however, like I said, alert the coach to the issue but let them know that you’ve talked to the person and this was what was said. This makes them aware of the situation and gives them an opportunity to quietly observe the person to see if any improvements can be seen.

Related: How do you deal with coxswains who just don’t really want to do what they’re supposed to do? I’m a very passionate novice cox but there are others who tend to slack off and don’t like going out on water and aren’t very helpful/motivating to the rowers. Some girls on their boats have come up to me and asked me to talk to the other coxswains.

If after a week or so things are starting to look better, let the issue rest for the time being. If not, then it’s time for the coach to step in and talk to the athlete and really lay down the law of shape up or get out.

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