Coxswain Recordings, pt. 18

Part 1 || Part 2 || Part 3 || Part 4 || Part 5 || Part 6 || Part 7 || Part 8 || Part 9 || Part 10 || Part 11 || Part 12 || Part 13 || Part 14 || Part 15 || Part 16 || Part 17

Here’s some HOCR recordings for you guys to listen to as you finish prepping for this weekend.

University of Wisconsin Champ 8+ 2013
That audio is slightly out of sync with the strokes so just FYI…don’t let that throw you off as you’re watching.

Right off the bat, I like how she calls the pressure up and perfectly times “half, three-quarter, full pressure, you’re on” with when their bow crosses the starting line. Something that caught my eye too that I wish she would have made a call for what 6-seat coming out early every stroke. Make sure you don’t get so focused on executing your race plan that you forget to check the blades and make little reminder calls when necessary. Obviously this is harder (verging on impossible) to do in a four but in an eight there’s no excuse.

2:16, “we’re right on the buoy line, starboard side…” This is something I talked about with all of our coxswains when we went through their evaluations last week. Use your steering as quick little bursts of motivation for the rowers. If you’ve got a good line, your riding the buoy line, etc. tell them. Let them know that you’re nailing the course right now so let’s capitalize on that and focus on XYZ. If they know you’re taking care of your responsibilities as far as steering a good course goes, that’s one less thing they have to worry about and more focus they can give to just rowing their asses off. If I’ve learned anything from my own coxing experience and coaching coxswains for the last two and a half years, few things matter more to rowers than their coxswain’s ability to steer a good course. If you’re doing that, don’t be afraid to say so and use that to keep your rowers engaged and on their game.

2:27, “we’ve got a 1:58, we’re gonna push it to a 1:55…” If you’ve got a SpeedCoach with you this is a great way to work the splits into your calls.

Throughout the rest of this section here before Magazine Beach she does an awesome job of telling her crew where they are on the other crew (“we’re walking”, “two lengths of open behind and closing”, etc.) and how they’re doing (“right on rate”, etc.). Keep an eye on her course throughout the whole race too – she nails it.

If you notice them starting to row it in a bit, just make a quick call like she did around 6:57ish (“blades in on this one, GO“) to sharpen things back up. Don’t waste 5-7 strokes by calling for 5 to get the blades in or something like that when you can sharpen it up on this one, particularly if you’re an experienced crew. If you’re a high school crew then go ahead and take a couple strokes to get that focus and sharpness back but college crews … you guys can get that on one stroke. I also liked her call at 7:12ish – “hold your fucking blades in now” or something like that. A coxswain after my own heart… πŸ˜‰

At 7:31 she tells them that whoever is in front of them is “moving away” and she follows up with “…and we’re responding right now“. THAT is how you get your crew going. Telling them another crew is walking away from them isn’t a bad thing – you should do that – but THIS is how you follow it up so you can get competitive with that other boat again. She immediately calls for a five for something (I couldn’t hear what) and then finishes it off with “1:49, that’s what I’m talking about!”. Perfect perfect perfect.

Her line coming into Weeks is gooorrrgeousss. I also like how she preps her starboard side (“alright starboards, get ready…”) and then counts it down (“here we go…that’s 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…on this one“) before bringing it around. She started her turn about three strokes too early, which is why she said she needed “even” for a couple but it didn’t hurt them at all – the overall execution and calls to the starboard side throughout the turn were pretty much flawless.

18:05, “bigger fucking puddles…” Love it.

College coxswains, this is the A-standard. Hands down one of the best college HOCR races I’ve listened to.

FIT Champ 8+ 2011
I’m fairly sure this is FIT but if it’s not, let me know and I’ll change it.

So this coxswain is a little calmer (initially, at least) than the Wisconsin coxswain but still sharp (so sharp) and intense with her calls. At 2:51 she does a good job of telling her crew that they’re about to pass MIT and she’s moving to the outside. It might seem insignificant but that’s a good thing to tell your crew (see what I said about using your steering as motivation up above), despite her move here being a little early considering they were still behind them through the Powerhouse. Remember though, you don’t have to pass on the outside. If you want the inside line, the coxswain of the crew you’re passing has to give it up.

7:14, “it’s time to go through them…” I like this call to let them know you’re both sitting on each other and it’s time for us to make a move.

7:56, “I’m taking Weeks Bride before them…” If my coxswain said that to me while I’m rowing as confidently as this coxswain did I’d be thinking “fuck yea you are…” and then I’d be laying into that drive to help her out.

Coming through the turn, the angle definitely could have been sharper and that’s mostly on the ports to help the starboards out there by backing off so they can bring it around while the coxswain is on the rudder. Ports. I beg of you. When your coxswain says “ease off”, “back off”, etc. DO IT.

At 15:55, I like how she called the shift – the build into was calm and then the call for “we’re going for it” was a great way to start the final stretch. I also liked the “now we move” call a little bit later.

Well coxed, well steered.

Middlebury College Collegiate 8+ 2013
So the start was a little slopping in terms of telling them when to build, where they’re at on the build, etc. I also feel like I would have been confused as a rower because they did two builds…one way before the start and right right before the start. Their stroke rate was a little wonky too. I think the build was supposed to be to a 33 but they were at a 31 and then did a “build” under the bridge to get to a 33…but then a few strokes later she said “32, good…”. It was just kinda all over the place and not as “on point” as it should have been.

So through the first two and a half minutes I’m already tuning out because all I’m hearing is the coxswain embracing her inner cheerleader and making a lot of “you can do it!”, “let’s go!”, “show them what you’ve got!”, “here we go!”, etc. calls. There’s also a lot of “build in two” calls to get the rate back up to a 33 because it keeps falling down to a 31.

The turn at Weeks could have been sharper – she had room – but she started it about three strokes to late. If you wait until you’re under the bridge to tell your starboards to power it up, you’re going to end up taking the turn really wide and then having to snake back over to get a good line through Anderson (which ultimately adds unnecessary seconds and meters to your course).

9:45, when she says “don’t let them walk” … I mean, it’s going to happen. It is happening. Accept it and focus on rowing well, maintaining your rhythm, holding a solid line, etc. Stop talking so much about the other boat and focus on your own.

15:20, there’s definitely not under 500m to go (from the Belmont dock to the finish line). It’s more like a little over 800m. Also, that is not what half a length of open looks like. A length and a half maybe but not half a length.

16:28, “under 500m to go…” You said that a minute and 300ish meters ago.

So yea. This one wasn’t the best coxed and wasn’t the best steered. Overall I’d say it was mediocre. Of all the races you go to in the fall, HOCR is not the one you want to be a cheerleader at (unless you’re on land, in which case … cheer away). Have a plan, know you’re plan, and try not to make the same calls over and over throughout the race. Don’t spend so much time focusing on other crews either. Your head has to be on a swivel, obviously, but at the same time you’ve also gotta keep your head (and focus) in your own boat.

PNRA Senior Women’s Masters 8+ 2013
This is a pretty good example of how to cox masters crews. If I didn’t know this was a senior masters women’s 8+ I probably would have assumed it was a youth or club eight.

3:45, I like this “power train” thing they do where the coxswain calls a ten for each pair. It’s pretty much the same thing that the Marist coxswain did in the first recording from this post (scroll down to 5:15). How she draws out her numbers kinda annoys me a little but that’s more of a personal thing than anything else. Some people don’t mind it, others hate it. (I don’t like it as a coxswain because I feel like it translates to sloppy/soft catches.) Alternatively, you could do 3 or 5 strokes if ten seems too long.

10:27, when she’s telling Style Driven to yield it sounds like they’re not yielding so her telling her bowman (I assume it was bow…) to tell them to move is a good call on her part. Make sure you talk to your bow beforehand so they know you might ask them to do that and let them know that all they have to do is yell over at them “[Team name], yield!!”. Saying “yield or you’ll get a penalty” like this coxswain did can also be pretty effective since it’s like a 30 60 second penalty for not yielding to the faster crew.

At 11:39 when she tells them she’s going to make a tight turn she does the smart thing by telling her starboards to be prepared to lift their handles up to counterbalance the boat (since it will naturally tip the side she’s steering to, which is port). I definitely recommend doing this so that the boat stays stable throughout the turns.

Resilient Rowing Youth 8+ 2013
This is just a short clip of one of the men’s youth eights from last year. I’m mainly sharing it because none of the other videos showed a crash and the whole point of HOCR is to see which youth eight is going to have the best crash. (That is the point of the regatta … right?)

At 2:04 when he says “I can’t get through, coxswain, yield…” I guarantee you that no one past his like, 4-seat heard that. If you want another crew to yield you need to yell and yell loud. Don’t assume that just because you’re talking to a (relatively small) mic that anyone outside your boat can here you. I honestly think that if he’d just stayed directly behind Duxbury and then had the starboards hit it hard they would have been fine and not collided but youth eights = inexperience so there’s not much you can do. The “fuck you Duxbury” comment though from one of the rowers was pretty unnecessary and definitely would have earned a penalty if an official had heard it.

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