Hi Kayleigh! Last week, I lost my voice after one of our fall head races. I was talking to my coaches and they said that your “coxing voice” shouldn’t come directly from the throat or something like that – it should come from deep breaths from your stomach or the bottom part of your throat. I am now officially confused and don’t know who else to ask! Help please? Thanks!
They’re right that the deeper voice you want to use when you’re coxing shouldn’t come from your throat, it should come from your diaphragm. Instead of yelling, you want to project your voice, which means using your core and diaphragm to “push” the sound up out of you instead of trying to just use the muscles in your throat to be loud.
Related: I’ve only been coxing for three years but I feel like it has changed my voice…do you feel like that? Like, I feel like I cant hit as many high notes when I sing in the car (haha) or is there something I’m doing wrong?? I lose my voice easily in races now, especially during the spring when we have like 3 races in a day. What can I do about this? Should I change the way I cox?
Sometimes this can be hard to visualize or understand but think about horror movies and stuff – what does every person do right before they scream? They take a huge breath and then sort of contract their torso as they yell, which always makes their voice way louder than if they’d just screamed from their throat (which always sounds really high pitched and not convincing at all). It’s the same way with coxing. You’ll know if you’re doing it “right” if you get out of the boat after a race and your abs are just on fire. (I’m convinced that’s at least half the reason why I had a semi-six pack in high school.) It’s also good motivation for you (and other coxswains) to do the core workouts with the rowers, especially during winter training. The stronger your core is, the less “work” you’ll have to do when it comes to projecting your voice.
Related: How to protect your voice
As far as losing your voice goes, check out the post linked above. Doing all of that combined with trying to project more than you yell will go a long way in preventing you from losing your voice again.