Coxswain Recordings, pt. 19

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 || Part 18

I’ve been getting a lot of requests for practice recordings lately so that’s what today’s post includes. There are way fewer of these posted online compared to the number of race recordings but I’ve got a good amount bookmarked so I’ll try to include these in the next couple of recordings posts. I have some that I want to upload too but YouTube has been being an absolute pain lately so if/when it ever stops being finicky I’ll put up the ones I have.

Erg Room Coxing Clips Montage
This is some audio from inside the erg room where the rowers were doing 500m pieces. As you can hear she gets pretty technical while coxing them. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – all her calls were pretty good – but just make sure that what you’re saying fits the purpose of the workout. You obviously don’t want to be coxing their technique while they’re doing race pieces or vice versa. And as always, make sure you’re adhering to the golden rule of coxing rowers on the erg: don’t cox those who don’t want to be coxed.

What I liked about what Kat was doing is that she coxed them on land just like (I assume) she would in the boat. Just because you’re inside doesn’t mean you have to do anything different and that’s where I think a lot of coxswains feel like they fall short in the winter. This is a great opportunity for you to practice your calls, test some new ones (specifically as they relate to individual technique issues/tendencies), and play with your volume and tone. On top of that, maintaining that consistency from the water to the ergs is really great for helping the rowers become used to your style and calls.

8 minute progression + docking
So this video is of an eight minute steady-state progression starting at rate 20 and finishing at a 26. At the start of the piece it takes a few strokes to find that long 20spm (during the 5+10) so going forward what I would do in that situation is try to hit the rates just like I would during a race, which means calling it the same, giving the same instructions, etc. (albeit minus the intensity of a race – her tone here was perfect for what they were doing), that way if you have to do something similar during an actual piece you’ll already know what to say to get them to respond (and in turn, they’ll know what they need to do). That means telling them to hit it the rate “on this one”, making rate-specific calls such as “lengthen out a beat here”, etc. If you’re doing 5 to build or something similar then you’ve gotta communicate with your stroke beforehand and say “we’re at an 16 right now and we’re doing a long build into a 20, all you’ve gotta do is hit half a beat each stroke and we’ll be good”. From there, as long as you’re in the 19.5 – 20.5spm range, you’re fine. Particularly at the junior level it’s unlikely that you’re going to be right on your desired rate every single stroke so going with a tight range like this gives you some wiggle room and prevents you from having to say the stroke rate every stroke to try to get it exactly on a 20.

This applies to all the other transitions too. Instead of saying “OK let’s take it to a 24 … 22.5, 22.5, 22.5, 22.5, 23.5, 23.5, 23.5, 24…” just say “OK we’re at a 22, let’s hit that 24 in one stroke with the legs … on this one, leeegs, good 24…”. Or, if you’re doing a long build again (which I think they did going from the 22 to a 24), instead of saying the rate on every stroke and nothing else, say something like “OK we’re gonna take another long build into this 24, let’s make sure we’re staying controlled, finding our length, and moving right with stern pair. Ready to go … on this one, that’s 1 through the water, 2 23, 3 controool here, 4 let’s hit that 24 … on this one, boom send…good, right on rate.”.

One of the things I think she did well was build her tone/intensity across the duration of the piece. It drives me crazy to hear one-note coxswains cox pieces like this because they never do anything different with their voice. If the rate and pressure is going up, by default so should your tone/intensity.

I love how she docked too. Good job giving them instructions and telling them what to do every step of the way. Novices in particular, take note – this was a pretty good example of how to bring it in at the end of practice.

Chris Ten Eyck practice audio
This is just a good clip of the coxswain and coach interacting with the crew. I like the coach’s style at the beginning and I like how the coxswain keeps things simple with his calls. The only thing I’d suggest is to not cox at the same time as the coach is talking unless you’re making a switch … and even then, if the people you’re switching are the people your coach is talking to then let them row for a couple extra strokes until the coach is finished. Another thing I’d suggest is to not be afraid of silence. This seems like a fairly relaxed steady state piece so don’t think you need to say something every stroke. Give the rowers five or six strokes every now and then to just internalize what’s being said, what the boat feels like, etc. All that can be tough to do when there’s someone constantly talking in your ear. Also, make sure that you make an effort to incorporate the things the coach is saying into your calls. The audio on this is a bit low so it’s hard to tell if he does that but just keep that in mind because not only does it show the coach that you are listening to what they’re saying but it also helps to reinforce the coach’s message to the rowers. I did like how at the end he told them “remember that eyes drill” when he’s telling them to keep their heads straight and in line. Reminding your crew of any specific drills you’ve done that day or that week is a great way to help reinforce the technical focus for the day and/or to just get them to think back to how the boat felt when you did XYZ and then try to recreate that feeling through small adjustments in their bodies, technique, etc.

USA Men’s 8+ with Steve Young
Steve Young (an MIT grad!) has coxed a few boats on the national team and the one in this video, I think, is the lightweight eight. Right off the bat I love the “find that confident finish” call and how he immediately responds to the coach telling them to go to 3/4 pressure. How he builds into that 18 is pretty much exactly what I was referring to up in the second recording. The other call I like is the “long arm stretch” call near the end. I think that’s a good basic call to make to remind the rowers to get the arms out first before swinging over with the bodies.

UBC Whistler Training Camp
I will pay people to stop uploading cox-cam videos and overlaying music over the coxswain talking…

Anyways, this video is of some intervals that UBC was doing during their training camp. There’s not too much to write home about but I did like the “lengthen and strengthen” call at the beginning as they built into their rate. The best part of this recording (and pretty much the only part you can hear) is the last 15-20 seconds. I just like how his calls are sharp and succinct.

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