Question of the Day

Help! I was told by our head coach that I was head coxswain because I was most experienced and all of the others were novices. But he’s kicked me out of the position for some girl who coxed for two months at a ‘top rowing school’ at the end of last year and had never even coxed a regatta before last weekend! She also has no idea how to race cox and never makes the right calls in a boat and almost all of her boats performed badly at the regatta. What do I do?

I don’t think you should do anything. Keep doing what you’re doing while still doing all the usual stuff you would do to ensure that you’re actively making improvements. Unless you’ve been specifically told to “do this differently/better/more effectively”, change nothing. Sometimes coaches make really … interesting … decisions for absolutely no reason whatsoever and they only realize how bad of an idea it was when it blows up in their face.

The one thing you shouldn’t do is give up or slack off. Act like nothing has changed so that when your coach sees you coxing pieces on the water and hears from other coaches that your practice went great, he’ll question his decision and if two months at a “top rowing school” (with less than favorable results thus far) was really enough to warrant kicking an experienced coxswain out of the boat.

Related: This is probably going to sound really stuck up but I promise you I am not intending it to be that way. I’m the only coxswain my team has. I’ve coxed them through every race and I love coxing so much and I love my team, but one of my rowers now says she wants to be a coxswain and there’s only enough girls for one boat. I’m honestly terrified she’s going to try and take my spot and I want it way more than she does, to be quite honest. I’m just really worried and idk what to do.

This whole situation really has less to do with you (and to an extent, the other coxswain) and more to do with the coach. Any coach that puts a coxswain in because of superficial reasons like “she coxed at a top rowing school for two months”, “he weighs 120lbs, the other guy weighs 126lbs”, etc. deserves to suffer through the inevitable consequences of such a dumb decision.

Regardless of what happens, don’t shun the coxswain. Try to at least help her out, give her some pointers, etc. so that she can begin making the necessary improvements. Yea it sucks that she took your spot but it wasn’t her fault or decision so there’s no reason to let her keep doing poorly when there’s clearly info you could share with her, being the most experienced coxswain and all, that can help her get better. You don’t have to give up all your secrets but if you hear or see her doing something blatantly incorrect, talk to her after practice and explain how it should be done.

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3 thoughts on “Question of the Day

  1. Kim Degutis says:

    Helping new cox may also garner some respect among the rowers on your team, as you are a team player in helping to develop your teammates skills, etc etc. But yeah, don’t give up your superhero coxing calls and techniques to the new guy / girl – they will learn. Keep your chin up – my experience has been that more often than not, the rowers talk to the coach to get the coxing switches. *shrug* Good luck and steer straight!

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