Question of the Day

Hi! I’ve been a novice at my local rowing club for about two months now. I’m a coxswain but I’m not sure if I’m cut out for it. I enjoy it but I have so much trouble making calls and being motivational and speaking throughout a whole piece. Is this just because I’m new to this? Or are most coxswains good from the very beginning? I guess I’m wondering if it’s possible to improve or if I’m just not cut out. If you have any tips that would be great. Thanks!

It’s always possible to improve if you’re willing to put the effort in but to answer your question, yes, it probably just feels like that because you’re still new to this. If you’re still feeling the same way at the end of the spring season or next year or whatever then yea, it might be time to revisit that question.

Related: Advice from a former novice

I don’t think that’s a bad thing either – to be honest, more coxswains should ask themselves that. I don’t think you’ve gotta be “the best” at something in order to keep doing it , especially if it’s something you like doing, but coxswains kinda need to have the self-awareness to know when that’s a necessary conversation to have with themselves.

Related: Some things to know as a novice coxswain

I wouldn’t say most coxswains are good from the very beginning. Some are but in most cases it’s like any other sport – most people suck and make a lot of mistakes but at some point they buckle down and make the decision to do and be better. It all comes down to self-discipline and what you’re willing to invest to get where you wanna be.

Related: Five things to do as a novice coxswain

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you start out because there’s so much you have to learn and do, which is why I equate it to trial by fire so often. Just focus on getting the basics down, starting with steering. Forget motivation. Seriously. It’s not important at this stage and shouldn’t be a priority right now.

Related: What do coaches look for in a coxswain?

Same with trying to talk through a whole piece. Eventually yea, you should be able to do that but right now you (most likely) don’t have a good enough grasp on the technical aspects of the stroke to be able to do that. That’ll come in time but you can expedite it by putting in the time off the water to read up on technique, talk to your coach about the purpose and goals of the drills you do during practice, etc.

Related: Do you think it’s possible that rowing isn’t “my” sport ? I started late summer but I have been erging for a few months with a friend who is a rower too. Anyway, I feel like everyone is getting better (even the fall novices are almost better than I am and they have been rowing not even 2 months. I feel like my technique/strength/endurance is on a plateau and I feel shitty. I won’t even talk about the 3 awful races I had in the last weeks. IDK, i feel hopeless. How do i know if I’m a bad rower?

Don’t assume you’re not cut out just because it’s still hard after two months. I’ve been coxing for 14 years and I still think it’s hard. Stuff like this doesn’t get easier, you just become better equipped to deal with whatever challenges you face. Lower your tolerance for asking for help so that you can soak up as much information, advice, and feedback as possible and find ways to apply what you learn to what you’re doing on the water. That’s the fastest and easiest way to get better.

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