Question of the Day

I’m doing a rowing camp at Yale and my coach there told us coxes to count at the finish rather than at the catch. It’s hard to find time to make calls to bring intensity to the drive as such, and I feel like the rowers have weaker drives when I talk calmly to them during the recovery about slide control and “easy catches”. Do you have any suggestions concerning counting at the finish, or possibly any recordings?

I’d talk to the coach and say that you’re used to calling them a different way and you’re curious as to why they like for them to be called at the finish vs. the catch. Do not be that person that says “well, that’s now how we do it on my team” – I swear, that type of rower/coxswain is at the top of most coaches shit list and once you’re there it is hard to get off it. Tell them that it’s a little awkward for you because you’re not sure how to make certain calls and do they have any advice that might help you out. Also tell them what you’ve noticed about the weaker drives, etc.

If you can, talk to the rowers you’ve been with before you talk to your coach and ask them what they think. How are they used to having things called, in their experience do they think one works better than the other, have they noticed anything (either good or bad) from calls being made at the finish instead of the catch when you guys have been out, etc. Take all that info and talk about it with your coach. It’ll be good for them to know too because it’ll help them know what to focus on during practice.

Related: Hey there, I have a question about coxing. I’ve been coxing for a couple years now and just realized that I call my calls on different times. I mean, for power 10’s I’ll call the numbers when they are half way through the drive to the finish. But for starts, I will call the numbers at the catch such as (1/2, 1/2, 3/4, full, full) as well as 10 highs at the catch. I don’t know if I’m doing this right, but I’ve always done it this way and my crew goes with it. How do you personally do it?

These camps are meant to teach you something and this is a great learning opportunity that you should definitely take advantage of. Asking questions is part of your job and something you should be doing anyways if something comes up that you don’t understand. Don’t be nervous to talk to the coach about it either. They’ll most likely appreciate the initiative and willingness to understand and learn how to do something that you’re not used to doing.

It’s hard to know what recordings I have where the coxswain calls things at the finish. I don’t think it’s anything I’ve really paid attention to. If there’s video with the recording it’s always easy to see where they’re called but it’s obviously tougher with just the audio. Plus, calling things at the finish is rare, at least in my experience. Like I said in the question I linked to up above, I only do it when I really want the focus to be on something at the front end of the stroke.

My suggestion again is to talk to your coach and get some advice from him/her and then try to apply what you talked about with them in the boat. It’s definitely going to require going out of your comfort zone a bit but you should be in the habit of doing that regularly anyways. Talk to the rowers and say that it’s something you’re going to try so they know why things might be weird for a bit and then get some feedback from them after practice. Keep talking about it with your coach(es) and ask them on the water after you’ve called a power 10 or something what they thought, how was that, etc.

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