How do you stay calm during races? I freak out when our boat is down after the first 500 and my coxing goes downhill.
It’s hard to explain – it’s one of those things I just do. I know that my job is to think for the rowers when they’re too tired to think for themselves and I tend to focus so hard on the race and what we’re trying to accomplish that I don’t even have time to freak out once we’ve started. Plus, I can’t think for nine people if I let my nerves consume me. It’s just not possible. My time to “freak out” (internally) before we launch or at the latest, on the way to the starting line and while I’m getting locked on to the stake boat. As soon as the official starts the countdown, I’m focused on racing. When he says “go” all the nerves immediately convert to adrenaline which just makes my coxing that much more intense.
If you get down early that’s when you have to really have to maintain your composure and push your rowers to stay in it. If they sense that you’re falling apart, they will too. I don’t cox any differently when we’re down vs. when we’re up. I might push them harder if they’re down but my tone of voice, what I’m saying, etc. doesn’t change. The easiest solution would be to not get down after the first 500. The second easiest solution is to simply focus on you, your boat, and your race. You have to be aware of the other boats but at the same time you have to ignore them and focus on what you’re doing. It’s like driving…you aren’t actually paying attention to the other cars on the road but you’re aware of when they speed up or slow down.