Question of the Day

This kind of sounds weird, but I’m a novice coxswain, how do I get my boat to respect me? I feel like (with the exception of calls related to steering and drills) they don’t listen to anything I say in the boat. They talk a lot and I tell them not to but they continue to. They point stuff out to me on the water that I can clearly see and I just feel like they are always yelling at me and telling me what to do. Sometimes I just need to make a decision but I can’t if everyone is yelling at me. I don’t know what to do. I’m learning but the coaches don’t really help me out. Most of the things I’ve learned about coxing I’ve learned from other coxswains on the team or your blog. Do you know how to fix this and get the rowers to listen to me?

You guys should just start telling me who you row for so I can send your team a personalized ass kicking. It’s so irritating when I see/hear this happening. Like, not only is it rude and disrespectful but its also not safe. It seems like I’m the only person that gets that. And the fact that coaches just let it happen?! Come on.

Related: How do I get my boat to respect me?? I’m a novice coxswain on the B boat. I do all the workouts and I asked a few people for advice in what they want to hear etc but some still don’t respect me! I’m nice but firm when needed to be. I was a rower for 3 months in a a single and 2 months in an 8 and 4. I was good, they wanted me to go to varsity singles this year so I kinda get rowing better than most coxswains so I do what I wanted my coxswain to do but still no respect from half my boat!!

This is one of those things where there’s nothing I can say other than to just tell them to stop doing what they’re doing. Meet privately with your coaches and tell them explicitly the problems you’re having with the rowers. Tell them that you repeatedly ask them to stop talking so that you can do what you need to do but they don’t listen or respond. Explain that you’re trying to build a rapport with them but it’s hard to do when they aren’t putting forth the effort or showing you any respect.

You have to be confident when you’re on the water too, even and most especially as novice. A lot of the times when coxswains say their boat does what yours is doing it’s because the rowers don’t trust the coxswain because the coxswain doesn’t trust themselves. This causes the rowers to think they’ve got to do the coxswain’s job for them and of course everyone has an opinion on how it should be done so it just turns into one big clusterfuck. Instead of saying “guys, be quiet” call the rowers that are talking out by name. There’s no shame in doing that at all.

One way that I got my boat to stop doing that really fast was by saying their names every. single. time. they’d start talking or screwing around. Eventually everyone got so pissed off that they kept of getting called out that they shut up and just rowed. Plus, the rowers that weren’t getting sucked into the antics got really frustrated because they just wanted to row so the pressure of having their teammates turn around and say “Be quiet” in addition to knowing I was going to call them out put an end to the unnecessary stuff that was happening.


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