Question of the Day

I’m currently a novice high school rower but I haven’t been feeling really into rowing lately. I’ve wanted to cox since I started in September, but I’m too big to cox for the women. I’m 120ish and really want to cox for the men next season. However, I’m really nervous to talk to my coach about it because she considers me one of her better lightweight rowers. I know I still have a while to think about it since the season doesn’t end for a few months but how should I talk to her about this?

If you’re leaning more towards coxing than rowing, just tell your coach that. Explain to her why you feel like that and just say that even though you know she considers you an asset to the lightweight boat, you think you’d be more effective to the team as a coxswain. Then explain why, of course. Always have reasons that you can explain and/or back up. It makes for a much more effective argument. Don’t be nervous to talk to her – coaches are there for a reason and one of them is to help their athletes when they’re having problems. If you think she’s going to react poorly or punish you in some way, you’ve got bigger problems on your hands. Ask to talk to her privately and then just have an honest discussion about where you are mentally with crew. If your heart isn’t in rowing but something about coxing excites you, tell her that. I’d rather have an enthusiastic rower-turned-coxswain than a rower with a perpetual “meh” attitude.

Related: Is it unusual to change from rowing to coxing? I’m nearing the end of my novice season and feel like I could be a good cox in the future. I love rowing and am getting decent results but at 5’4 (shorter than one of my coxswains) and 120lbs (female) I have to work crazy hard to keep up with all the bigger girls. I’ll be sticking with the sport either way but it just seems like such a cool component of the boat to be.

I’d also think about why you’re not feeling into rowing lately and ask yourself if coxing is going to make you feel any differently if you’re able to make the switch. I’ve had friends try and do this before and I always end up equating it to people who are really unhappy about things and think that losing 20lbs will suddenly make all their problems go away. For the short term, maybe, but in the long term there’s a good chance you’re probably still going to be unhappy because you never dealt with the root issue. Before you make any decisions, figure out why rowing isn’t doing anything for you right now and what you could do to fix that. If whatever you try doesn’t seem to make things better, then try coxing. Don’t look at coxing as the be all, end all solution though.

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