This is my second season coxing and I have realized that last season I did not focus that much on the technical aspect throughout practice except for the occasional timing calls. In efforts to improve myself as a coxswain, I’ve been researching on reading puddles and technical calls to make, however it is hard for me to relate to my rowers on the boat. This is especially due to myself never rowing before yesterday. After being placed in sixth seat for a mere ten minutes for the remainder of practice, I learned so much more than I had learned the past few weeks – especially actually understanding the calls I make. I would love to do this again, however I do not know how to express this to my coaches. A lot of emphasis is placed on the rowers, not the coxswains, and I’m worried that the coaches will see it as a waste of a seat in the boat, especially since our water days are limited if I were to row one day. Any tips on how to approach my coaches with this?
Oh, and thanks so much for taking the time to write this blog! It’s helped me a lot, especially as a novice coxswain.
I’d tell them that you got a lot out of being switched into 6-seat and it really helped you to understand the calls you’re making since you were able to actually process and execute the action(s) the calls ask for, which in turn helped you with XYZ (whatever that may be). Ask them if it’s possible for the coxswains to go out in a four together once a week for 15-20 minutes at the end of practice (my coaches did this with us and it was great) or if you could switch spots again with one of the rowers on the way back to the dock. Neither of those would interfere with your actual practice since it’d be after the fact or at the end of the day when the rowers are just paddling it in anyways.
I think if you phrase it in a way that makes it evident that you took something away from the experience and want to continue doing it for that reason they’ll be more open to the idea. I can understand why coaches are hesitant to take coxswains out, especially if they don’t come off that serious about coxing in the first place, but if you feel like it helped you and would be beneficial to do again or on a regular basis, tell them that and see if they can make it happen.