I just got picked to cox the four that we are sending to our regional championship regatta after only having two weeks practice (apparently my coach thinks I’m doing something right haha). Anyway, the guys in my boat always ask for more technical calls and I don’t know how to make them when I can’t watch them row. Any suggestions? Thanks!
I assume you’re in a bow loader? Record them! That’s my number one piece of advice for anyone coxing bow loaders. Have your coach or someone riding in the launch record them during practice one day (like, 30 seconds or so here and there throughout the row) and then give you the footage to (preferably) go over with your coach after you get off the water.
Even though you can’t directly see what they’re doing you can still get an idea of what their tendencies are by watching the video. Stroke’s thing might be squaring up late, 3 might need to get his hands matched to the boat speed a little quicker, etc. If you can spot those things on the video you can use them as calls during practice, even just as a reminder call when you’re not sure what else to say. The rowers will be forced to think about it for a stroke or two, which means they’ll either realize they’re doing it and then make the change or think about it and remind themselves to either keep doing or not do whatever specific thing you’re telling them about.
Another thing you can do on your own is really learn about each part of the stroke, the drills you do, etc. and learn what all of the technical intricacies are. During the stroke, what should the bodies look like at hands away, 1/2 slide, the catch, the finish, etc. When you do cut the cake, what’s the purpose, what’s it working on, how’s it done, what must the rowers do in order to execute it properly, etc. When the rowers are tired, what do they have to do with their bodies to stay supported throughout the stroke? ALL of those tiny, miniscule bits of information that you can pull out of each of those things is a technical call you can use.
And my other number one piece of advice when dealing with rowers – ask them what they want. If they’re asking you for technical calls there’s a good chance that there is something specific they want to hear, even if it’s something seemingly insignificant, like reminding them to keep their eyes and chins up. Talk to each rower individually and find out what calls they want to hear and then as a crew, what do they want to hear. They’re your best source of information so don’t hesitate to use them.