Hi, can I get a coach’s perspective? Every time our two 8+s do race pieces together and my boat’s a little behind, our head coach is always shouting through her loudspeaker for me, as the cox, to do/say something to get us even and pass. It doesn’t help that I’m in the “faster” boat. It gets me frustrated because it’s not like I’m not trying. What do I do? I’m definitely putting in 110% effort into my coxing but I’m just not sure anymore … what would you do in this situation? Thanks!
First, I would talk to your coach. If she’s constantly yelling at you to do something (which get’s irritating – been there, experienced that), there’s clearly something she wants to see and she thinks that eventually you’ll figure out what that is and do it. Talk to her and tell her what you’re doing, what you’re saying, etc. and then ask her for her thoughts. What does she think you should be saying that you’re not? Is she seeing something with the technique from the launch that is putting your crew at a disadvantage that you can make a call for? If she can’t give you answers to those questions, she’s just yelling to yell for no reason. I hesitate to say “ignore her when she does that” but if she can’t at least give you a reason for why she’s on your ass all the time, I’m not sure what else to suggest. If you’ve recorded yourself, give the clip to your coach and have her listen/critique it.
Related: My girls really like when I cox off of other boats, even if we’re just doing steady state. I’m in the 2V boat so they all want to beat the 1V at ALL times. I find it easy to cox when we’re next to another boat/in front of it. However, I never quite know what to say without being negative and annoying when we’re CLEARLY behind another boat. Yesterday afternoon we were practically three lengths behind the v1, and we STILL didn’t catch up even when they added a pause. What do I say at times like these? I always end up getting rather quiet since the overall attitude of my boat is pretty down. I feel like whenever I call a 10 or get into the piece at this point it does absolutely nothing, since my rowers have practically given up.
Secondly, talk to your rowers. When they get down like that, what are they thinking? What do they want to hear? What can you do to help them? Write everything down and then make an effort the next time you do pieces to incorporate some of what they said. Record yourself so you can hear what calls worked and what didn’t. Keep the ones that work and tweak or discard the others.
Don’t let your coach throw you off. I know it can be frustrating and distracting, but you’ve just got to find some way to tune her out and focus on your boat. There’s nothing wrong either with telling her that it throws you off when she’s yelling at you to do something to make the boat move. Coaches, especially ones that are/were rowers, tend to forget that there is no magic call or switch that we flip to make the boat go faster. We aren’t generating any power so if she wants to see the boat even up and pass the other crew, maybe she should focus her efforts on telling the rowers what to improve on instead of thinking that all of the changes have to come from the one person without an oar in their hand.