Hello! I’m a huge fan of your blog and was wondering if you had any tips on this: my coach (who is also a coxswain) forces us to cox rowers during their erg pieces. She said that even if they say “don’t cox me” we should ignore them and keep coxing them. I’d ignore this except she watches us to make sure we do it. She told us (me and the other coxswains) that whether or not we cox the ergs will help determine what boat we’re put in. I really want to stay in the first eight (the boat I have currently) but I also feel bad when rowers tell me not to cox them and I have to. I’ve had multiple rower friends tell me they hate that they’re coxed for erg pieces. Thank you!!
I don’t normally say this so bluntly (or ever, really) but your coach is kind of awful. That’s unbelievable (to me, at least) that a coach who’s also a coxswain would say that. The number one rule of coxing rowers on the erg is respect those who don’t want you to cox them (and if that’s not the number one rule, it is now…) so to stand guard to make sure you do it under threat of potentially not being in the boat you deserve irritates me on a borderline irrational level.
I genuinely just don’t understand the thought process there. I guess if I tried really hard then maybe I could explain it as her wanting to see how you cox the rowers in high-pressure situations but that seems like it might be stretching it. Have you ever asked her one-on-one why she says to ignore the rowers and cox them anyways, even after they’ve said to you that they don’t like it, or asked her what she thinks is gained by doing it (either by you or the rowers)? If you haven’t I would do that, at the very least to see what her answer is. Maybe have one of the rowers go with you so she an hear their side as well.
If I was in your position, this is one of those situations where I’d choose my relationship with my friends/teammates over a spot in a boat. If I had the first eight you’re damn right I’d want to keep it but not at the expense of losing the respect of the people in that boat. I think in your case they probably understand the difficult position you all are in (or I would at least hope they do) but if I was one of the rowers I would want to see you stick up for us rather than make a decision based on personal gain … if that makes sense.
Basically I’m saying that as the coxswains and, presumably, some of the leaders on the team as well, the rowers want to know that you’re gonna stick up for them and have their backs and this is one of those situations where I think it’s important to stick up for the people saying “don’t cox me” even if that means you might get taken out of the boat you want to be in. It’s a trust thing if you want to give it a label. They want to know you’re not going to throw them under the bus just to get the boat you want. If that isn’t something that your coach can understand then … that’s pretty unfortunate.