My boat qualified for Nationals! Yay! Now what? I’ve never coxed in such a big event. Any tips?
One thing that I learned from gong to nationals that I also learned with HOCR (probably more so with HOCR…) is that there is no such thing as a “big race”. A race is a race is a race. The regatta is “big” because there are tons of people there and people build up the hype around it but in the end, the racing is the same. The goal isn’t to do anything differently – you’ve reached this point because you’ve been doing the same stuff all season only you’ve been doing it better week after week.
Keep doing what you’ve been doing. Clearly it’s working.
Keep your nerves to a minimum. Don’t be any more nervous for this race than you are for a scrimmage against a local team.
Research the location and course ahead of time. Ask other teammates, people on Twitter/Tumblr, etc. if they’ve raced here before and get as much information as you can.
Start coming up with your race plan as early as possible.
Practice said race plan at least two or three times before you leave for Nationals. (Remember, the race plan is not just what you do between the starting and finish lines. The race plan begins when you call hands on, your warm-up, backing into stake boats, the actual race, and your cool down.)
Don’t pack the night before. Do it at least two days ahead of time so you have the day before to grab anything you missed the first time around.
Don’t forget the charger to your cox box.
Make sure your cox box and it’s case are labeled with your name, your team’s name, and the event you’re racing in.
Go to the coaches and coxswains meeting and ask questions. Any question you have I guarantee five other people have as well. Just ask it. Make sure you understand everything the regatta officials go over and don’t leave until you do.
Most importantly though, have fun. It’s a good experience and you don’t want to miss out on it by being hyper-focused on unimportant stuff.