Question of the Day

Hi! Your blog has been so helpful to me and my team – thank you so so much! I am approaching my 6th year of coxing. I did 4 years in high school for my men’s team plus I began coxing my college’s men’s team. Next year, we have a new cox stepping up to varsity. He rowed for 4 year in high school and he is coxing now and I feel he is LIGHTYEARS better than me, only because he has had the rower perspective that I haven’t had. I also feel that I’ve been in a funk – using the same calls for years and they get me results – I just feel on autopilot. I’ve gone to coxing camps and everything, I just wanted to know if you have any suggestions to help me get my groove back? Thanks!

I think people put way too much importance on rowing before coxing, to be honest. Sure it can help but it’s not the be all, end all to what makes a coxswain good. Regardless of his experience as a rower, you’ve still got at least five years on him with coxing – he’s got a lot to learn and all the skills he’s gotta pick up are not trumped by the fact that he’s rowed. Just because he knows what that feels like and has listened to coxswains for the last four years doesn’t mean that he has any idea what it’s like to actually cox. (It’s the same way for coxswains who are switching to rowing – just because you tell the rowers how to row and what to do and everything else doesn’t mean you have the faintest idea how to do it when the oar is in your hands).

As far as being in a funk, been there, felt that. I’ve kinda felt like that since August actually since I haven’t been coxing as actively as I was in Boston. I take some of the boats out here once in awhile but there are definitely times when I get in there and just say what works instead of actually coxing them. Other times I’ll cox them during a piece or something and my brain will totally blank on what to say so I end up just saying really “vanilla” stuff. It’s very frustrating. Usually I come home and listen to a couple recordings (either mine or other people’s…), jot down some of the things I like, and then incorporate those calls into my usual ones the next time I go out.

Another thing I liked to do when I was in school was go out on the launch every once in awhile to get some new perspective on the boat and the rowers. You see things completely different from out there, plus you can talk to your coach too and get some ideas from him/her on ways to up your coxing game. Don’t forget to take your notebook out with you too. Taking a few days or weeks off from coxing/crew in general can also really help. It’s possible that the “autopilot” feeling is just the faint signs of burnout peeking through, so taking some time off could be a good thing for you. With summer almost here, this is pretty much the perfect time too.

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