Today my coach posted the line ups for our race this weekend. I am racing in the 2V8+. It is a pretty good boat, but we have a novice coxswain. She has coxed for us before, but she often crashes into other boats and in the last race she called a power 10 for the muffins at the food tent! We have tried to give her suggestions for what we want to hear, but she just doesn’t listen. Is there any respectful way to ask my coach if we can have another coxswain?
When you’ve given her suggestions in the past on things to say, how have you done it? Have you just kind of thrown out a bunch of ideas all at once or did you write them down and give her the piece of paper? Speaking from personal experience, I know it’s hard to remember what eight different people want you to say when they just word-vomit the ideas out at you. When I realized I wasn’t going to remember anything they said, I went around to each person and had them write down one or two calls that they want/needed to hear and then I’d take the paper out with me and try to incorporate them into practice. If that’s the reason it seems like she’s not listening, I’d try writing stuff down and giving it to her, then seeing where it goes. If she’s not listening just because she doesn’t want to or doesn’t care, that is an issue that you should talk to your coach about.
Being that your race is in two days, I think that, unfortunately, it’s probably too late for your coach to put another coxswain in the boat. I’m not sure how big the regatta is that you’re going to but most require lineups to be submitted a few days ahead of time and to change the lineup the day of requires a lot of work that no one really wants to waste time on. It’s also possible that your coach is putting her in the boat with you so that she can get experience with a crew that actually knows how to row, if that makes sense. Sometimes novice coxswains pick things up faster when they don’t have to also worry about coxing eight people who have no idea what end of the oar goes in the water.
That’s not to say that you still shouldn’t talk to him/her though and explain that when you’ve had her in the past, this is what’s happened, and it makes the boat feel uncomfortable when she’s coxing. Ask if today and tomorrow he can spend some time on and off the water working with her on whatever you/the boat thinks she needs help with. She is a novice, remember, so there are still going to be kinks that need to be worked out but hopefully your coach can get through to her the importance of steering straight, making good and effective calls, etc. I would also grab one of the varsity coxswains and ask them to work with her and give her some pointers.