Question of the Day

Hi today was my first day coxing and my coach told me I had to talk the whole time. I tried but I felt really silly and I had nothing to say. I would really appreciate just some things to say! Thanks!

You really shouldn’t be talking that much on your first day out, let alone the entire time on your first day out. You should be more focused on learning to steer and getting a feel for the boat. You haven’t even learned that much (or anything, potentially) about the stroke, what’s right, wrong, etc. so I don’t understand why he’d be telling you to talk the whole time. I’d talk to him and ask what he wants/expects you to be telling the rowers, just to get an idea of what he’s looking for. If you’re comfortable calling the warmup on your own, counting them in, etc. then by all means, go for it, but I don’t think there’s any way he can expect you to be saying anything about the bodies, technique, etc. yet. I’m hesitant to tell you anything specific to say because a pet peeve of mine (and most rowers) is when coxswains call things because they think it’s what they’re supposed to say instead of saying it because they have an actual reason to. You can look through the calls tag to get an idea of some stuff but about 95% of it most likely won’t apply to a true novice.

Related: So, what did you see?

Feeling silly doesn’t have to do with the calls, it’s more of a confidence thing. You’ve got to be confident and sure of yourself when you tell the eight other people in the boat what you want them to do. For some people that comes naturally but for others it comes over time as they get more comfortable with their crew.

Related: Hi! I’m a novice cox and I don’t think I talk enough during practice. I call the drills and I call people out when they are digging their blades. I try to keep them together and I let them know if they are rushing the recovery but that’s about it. Most of the time I really don’t know what to say and I don’t want to undermine or talk over the coaches.

Talk to your coach. Find out what he expects you to say and then ask him to go over all that stuff with you so you can understand what he wants. I really disagree with having you talk the entire time on the first day but he’s your coach, not me, so you just gotta roll with it. If you get too overwhelmed though and are having a hard time grasping everything, definitely speak up and say something. Ask to focus on just one thing at a time to start (starting with steering) and then after a couple practices of hearing what he’s saying, how the drills are called etc. then you can start easing into talking to the crew.

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