Question of the Day

As a novice coxswain, I find it hard to ask for more of the rowers. I feel like I can’t push them other than asking them to stay at their stroke rate. All I say is, “great job,” “beautiful” “catch them” and other things about proving ourselves. How can I remedy this?

This is one of those instances where you just have to do it. There’s nothing else I can say other than get over whatever is holding you back and cox them. Your rowers are expecting you to tell them what their individual technique looks like, what they’re doing well, what they need to fix, what the boat as a whole is doing, how it feels, what’s happening in race situations, giving them general reminders on body positions, catch/finish technique, slide control, etc. and if you’re not doing that, you’re hurting the boat and your chances of improving as a coxswain. “Great job” doesn’t mean much if they didn’t actually do a great job, “beautiful” doesn’t mean anything if their technique is all over the place, and “catch them” is ineffective unless you specifically tell them how to do it.

Related: So, what did you see?

If you don’t know what you should be looking for or what to say that’s fine, but you need to go talk to your coach immediately and figure out what you should be observing when you do your drills, warmups, steady states, etc. and then determine how to translate all of that into effective calls for your boat. If you’re overwhelmed by all the responsibilities, that’s fine to admit too, but you’ve got to know that that will probably mean the coach will take you out of the boat in favor of a coxswain who has it under control and can push the rowers to their full potential. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though – it’ll give you an opportunity to sit back in the launch and observe while talking to your coach and finding out what exactly he sees and wants.

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