So my coach (who rowed but was a coxswain for a short bit of time) has been telling me to only steer when the rower’s blades are in the water… I’m kind of confused by this and I’ve never heard of only steering when the blades are in. Any help please? Thank you so much. 🙂
When I first started coxing my coach told me this as well. It basically has to do with the stability of the boat. When the oars are in the water, that’s when the boat is at it’s most stable, so steering has the least amount of effect on the set when you use the rudder then vs. when the rowers are on the feather out of the water. As I got more experienced I tended to do it less and less (because sometimes it doesn’t make sense to only steer when the blades are in the water) but when you’re just starting out and your rowers don’t totally have the hang of setting the boat, it’s a good habit to have.
This is another reason why coaches tell you to tell the rowers when you’re on the rudder, especially during head races, because if you have to go around a hard corner and can’t afford to steer just when the oars are in the water, it throws off the set. Alerting them to the fact that you’re on it can allow them to compensate with their handles on the next stroke.