Question of the Day

Hi! Do you have any resources (or can point to any resources) for practicing how to spot problems that rowers are having/how to identify what corrections to call for while coxing? In my head, I’m imagining videos from the coxswain’s point of view (in an 8) and you have a clip during which you take some time to try to notice what needs to be fixed on your own, and then can look up the “answers” after to see what you missed or if you misinterpreted what was going on and got it wrong. So for example if there’s a clip that demonstrates late catches from bow pair and rowing it in from 5 and 6 seats, someone could watch the clip and write down what they see and then after can look at what a more experienced coxswain would say the problems are and compare them, i.e. see if you saw the catch and rowing it in issues yourself.

Does this kind of thing exist somewhere (and did my description make any sense at all)? It would just be nice to get a visual of what the different issues look like from the coxswain’s seat and be able to practice recognizing them, especially because I cox very good rowers and sometimes the issues are nuanced and I just don’t have the experience to notice them yet.

I definitely get what you’re saying. An exact resource like the one you described doesn’t exist as far as I know but there are plenty of ways to achieve the same effect.  I usually try to do something similar with the coxswains during the winter when we’re bored and there’s nothing else to do while the guys are doing steady state. We’ll pull up a race, listen/watch, slow a few clips down to watch it in slow-mo, and just talk through it. What we’re seeing, what we’re hearing, stuff like that and usually we’ll end up doing the same thing that you described.

This was actually a big part of what I did with the coxswains at the camps I coached at last year too (as well as with a few coxswains I’ve worked one-on-one with) – we’d watch a race, they’d take notes, and then afterwards point out what they saw, ask questions on it, etc. and I’d answer them while also pointing out anything they might have missed, interpreted incorrectly, or weren’t sure of a fix (or appropriate call) for.

Point being I guess is that what you described is a good idea but the benefit (in my opinion) from doing something like that comes in talking through it with other people, whether it’s another coxswain, your coach, etc. Every coach I’ve ever had or worked with has taken tons of video of their crews and they’ll usually spend a couple minutes going over it with the team or individual boats, again basically doing close to what you described. It’s up to you in that instance to take the opportunity to pay close attention to what you’re seeing and then compare that to whatever your coach points out.

I always did that whenever we’d go over video at MIT and every time there was something I’d miss that I’d not realize until one of the other coaches pointed it out. This helped me help the coxswains too because I took notes on whatever we’d go over during video review and then make a point to pay attention to that stuff when we were on the water. From there I could spot the nuances more clearly and give the coxswains further details or clarifications on calls that might help fix the problem, reiterate a particular point, etc.

This is also why I encourage coxswains to use GoPros. I get that they’re not the cheapest things but they’re such an invaluable tool in your development because it lets you re-watch your own rowers again and again rather than someone else’s crew who might not have the same problems that yours does (or the same problems in the same way). At the very least, have your coach get video of the crew and then spend a couple minutes going over it with them after practice once or twice a week. A good app to do this with and one I like to use  is called “Coach’s Eye” but you could of course always just use your phone’s camera and play it back like that.

Question of the Day

Hello! First thing I just wanted to say is you have helped me so much with coxing and thank you for that. I am in 8th grade and I am on the Freshman crew on our team. I cox the Fresh 8 and it has been said that I am competition for varsity coxswains. My boat just won sweep states and I had an amazing race. I steered perfectly straight the whole way through and I called great calls, in my boats opinion. So you could say I’m pretty good.

I have a bad problem though. I have no confidence. No matter how good I am I still seem to think I am doing something wrong. I don’t know if it is because I don’t get much compliments from the coaches, even though the rowers get a bucket load, or if I feel I am too young, or anything else. I was coxing the 2V today and I got really nervous and started doubting myself more than usual and I got really self conscious about my abilities. I don’t know why but whenever I am not racing, I overthink things and get nervous about everything I say. When I am racing, I feel like it is just me and my boat who I know and trust and feel like they won’t “judge me”. When I am out on the water during practice, I just keep thinking in my mind I am going to do or say something wrong. What I am really asking is … how do I boost my confidence?

I (and I’m sure a lot of other coxswains) relate to this hard. One of the things you learn (and have to accept) early on is that you’re most likely not going to get a lot of external validation from your coach(es). It doesn’t mean they think you suck or anything else, it’s just the way it is. If you’re doing your job right, you frankly shouldn’t even be a blip on their radar during practice anyways because the majority of what you’re doing isn’t going to be that blatantly obvious. If you screw something up though (steering being the obvious thing) then it’s super obvious to everyone, even the casual observer (think of the Snowflake Regatta shitshow), and you’re more likely to get an annoyed and probably deserved call-out thrown your way.

One thing that helped me was accepting the stuff I know I’m good at and not trying to find ways to discredit or undermine myself. I tend to write off my accomplishments by lessening them and focusing on what could have gone better, what I could have done instead to achieve an even better result, or by saying “it’s really not that big of a deal, literally no one else is gonna care about this, etc”. That’s a pretty shitty approach because all you’re doing is taking stuff that should be inherent confidence builders and not even giving them a chance to lay that foundation that the rest of your confidence is built on. And trust me, that’s a deep and unpleasant hole to try and dig yourself out of.

Related: Notebook “hacks”: Post-practice affirmations

The “too young” thing, I totally get that too because I feel the exact same way whenever I’m at a camp with other coaches and I’m one of, if not the, youngest one on staff. Sometimes it’s frustrating because you do feel so behind the curve but whenever I think I shouldn’t be there because I’m nowhere near as experienced as them, I remind myself that I have just as many years coxing (almost 15) as some of them have coaching. When you look at who we’re coaching (rowers vs. coxswains), we’re basically on a relatively level playing field. That might be completely bullshit logic but it’s how I justify it to myself and it lessens my anxiety about not being taken seriously because I’m 10+ years younger than almost everyone else and haven’t been coaching nearly as long. I know I’m good at communicating what I know and other people must think that too, otherwise why would I be there to begin with? That’s kind of what it comes back to – you are where you are because somebody believes you’ve got the necessary skills to own that role and succeed at it. If they didn’t think you could do it, they’d have already found someone better to replace you with.

Related: Do you have any tips for dealing with confidence? I’ve been coxing our team’s 1V since fall and I’ve been praised as being our team’s “best” coxswain for quite a while, I was even selected from 20+ others as one of the best two coxswains in our division last spring, but I still get very anxious/nervous because I think I’m not very good. I always strive to put in my very best effort and always look for ways to improve but I just feel that I’m not good enough and should quit. There are also some teammates who favor their friends who are coxswains over me, which impacts my confidence a bit as well, which I know is silly but it hurts to be seen as less by some of my teammates despite constantly working my ass off to make the entire team improve. What can I do? I feel like this issue is making me want to quit because I don’t believe I’m helping our team.

I and probably 95% of the other coxswains reading this overthink our calls, wonder if they’re are gonna be good enough, wonder if we’ll sound stupid when we say “cha” between strokes, get nervous before practice pieces, etc. It’s fine as long as you remember that even though people might have feedback on what you say or do, you care a lot more about the minutiae of your coxing than anyone else in your boat. Once you get past that and accept that regardless of whether they like it or don’t like it they’ll tell you, that self-conscious barrier kinda goes away and you’re more open to just going with the flow of practice and seeing what works and what doesn’t. The more stuff you find that works, the more confident you’ll be because you’ll feel more in charge and less overwhelmed by uncertainty and anxiety.

Related: Making Mistakes

You’ve also gotta accept that mistakes are gonna happen and then own them when they do. Making mistakes is one of the best learning tools you’ll come across as a coxswain so you shouldn’t let them be confidence-killers. If you spend your entire practice being scared to mess up or nervous that you might say or do something wrong, you’re not even giving yourself the chance to do it right. You’ve got a 50-50 shot regardless so you might as well do it with the assumption you’re gonna do it right and then see what happens. I’m sure others can attest to this, it is the best feeling when it actually does go right because you get the biggest surge of confidence and you just feel good. There’s no magic formula to building confidence but riding that high and building on it each day at practice is definitely part of the process.

Flashback Friday: April 23rd – May 6th

Hi guys – two quick things. First, if you haven’t checked out Wednesday’s post yet, go check it out. I talked about some new things I want to do with the blog and how you can help support that. If you could fill out the Google Form that’s linked in there, I’d appreciate it. Thanks to everyone that’s filled it out already!

Secondly, Columbia’s heading to California for the two weeks prior to IRAs to train before the regatta. (We fly out on May 18th.) We’re rowing out of River City and are currently on the hunt for some launches (preferably wakeless) to rent while we’re there. I’m not super familiar with all the teams in that area (or the Bay area in general) but if you row or cox for one of them, could you email me your coach’s contact info so I can get in touch with them? Or if anybody knows of any sailing or community boating centers that might have launches too, that’d be helpful. The only one I know of is Sac State Aquatic Center. Thanks guys!

ONE YEAR AGO
Words. Wise words as we come into Sprints, IRAs, NCAAs, etc.

Race skills: Coxing from behind

Getting off the line with world-class speed Lots of good info from Bryan Volpenhein.

QOTD: Hi!:) So, I have been quite “upset” with my boat. You see, I’m a very competitive coxswain but half of my boat is … not, you could say. Anyways, I want to share my feelings and tell them that I leave practice feeling pissy because of their lack of motivation and the fact that it was such a horrible practice. But I also don’t want to add drama and tension in the boat. I’m that always nice, sometimes getting pushed over, type of coxswain but I have been learning to stand up and put them back in line but it always makes me feel guilty and thus kind of “sucking up” (hugging them, compliments) to the rowers. I want to be feared AND loved but I just can’t balance it out. There’s also a few girls who always WHINE and COMPLAIN every single time we do workouts. I just want to shut her up and tell her to suck it up. But my mind tells me no and just ignore it. Any advice? I so need it! Thanks!

TWO YEARS AGO
VOTW: How to make minor shell repairs

QOTD: How can I get back my passion for rowing? It used to be my life and there was nothing else I wanted to do. At 15/16 I wanted nothing more than to be in the position I’m in now. Recently though I’ve been finding myself falling out of love with it, I even thought the other day I can’t wait for the season to be over. I don’t know if it’s the negativity on my team becoming contagious or what but I hate myself for it.

QOTD: Hi! First off, your blog is so helpful! I’m finishing off my novice year as a rower this spring, but I am switching to coxing full time for the fall season. Do I get another novice year as a coxswain too? Second, my coach told me to only touch the rudder when the blades are in the water, and I understand that. But does that mean that I touch it for the drive, put it to straight on the recovery, and then touch it again on the drive? Or should I only touch it once on the drive and that should be enough? Thanks!

Words.

THREE YEARS AGO
QOTD: So, I have been coxing for two years, and really enjoy races. However as it’s regatta season coming up, I need a bit of advice on race. How much do you want to be talking in races? My rowers said they want me talking constantly, but my coach advised not to because the rowers usually end up blocking it out. Also, do you have any calls you find really motivate your crew? I don’t want to just be reciting calls without them meaning anything but then I don’t know what to fill the gaps with. We have had loads of really successful coxes from our club so I’m under lots of pressure to be good! :/ Also, sorry I know this is a lot, but I am 5’3″ and weigh 105lbs, is this too big or heavy for a junior 14s coxie? Thanks a bunch, love this blog!

VOTW: Why losing matters

QOTD: I’m a HS varsity men’s coxswain, but our club spends a lot of time sculling in quads and rowing small boats. As a result, I spend a lot of time sitting on the launch. However, I don’t exactly know what the best way to make use of that time is. Usually I just watch the rowers quietly and mention the occasional technique mistake if I don’t think my coach sees it, but I’m not really sure what the protocol is. Should I tell the rowers directly if I’m seeing something off? Should I try to talk to my coach about what lineups I think are working and what aren’t (he very occasionally asks my opinion on who should get seat raced and stuff like that)? Or is it better to just watch and note what’s going on so I can use it when we do row coxed boats?

FOUR YEARS AGO
QOTD: As a novice coxswain, I find it hard to ask for more of the rowers. I feel like I can’t push them other than asking them to stay at their stroke rate. All I say is, “great job,” “beautiful” “catch them” and other things about proving ourselves. How can I remedy this?

QOTD: Should I make corrections to my point (using bow pair) while the coach is speaking? I always feel rude but the boat sometimes drifts off!

QOTD: How do coxswains come up with a “signature call?” Any tips? Do you have one?

Blood in the Water

Words.

“Ready all, row…” 2.0

This is something I’ve been wanting to write for awhile now but the time never really felt right. I decided the other day that it’s now or never so with this post I’m hoping to get some feedback from you guys on some ideas I’ve been tossing around lately. Here’s a link to a Google Form that I’d appreciate if you could fill out (it should take no more than 5 minutes) and a longer explanation below on what I’m looking to do (and how you can help).

CLICK HERE TO ACCESS THE GOOGLE FORM

I started the blog in October 2012, not for any reason other than I felt like I needed a more contained spot to post all the questions I’d been getting on social media about coxing. I’d always felt like there was a need for something like this but when I started Ready all, row… becoming that thing wasn’t my initial intention. I had all these really big ideas of what it could become but I stopped myself from putting them out there because the blog had only been around for a short period of time and I didn’t think anyone would take them seriously because of that (and amongst other things, like being “just another millennial with a blog”).

As the blog continued to grow, I started to get a lot of questions asking how I planned to make money off of it. (The “why haven’t you monetized yet?” question was actually one I got during my interview for my job at Columbia.) People offered donations, I got asked about advertising, etc. but I turned it down because I wasn’t doing this for the money … it was just something I did for fun and as a way to give back to a sport that I really love. (Love to hate … but still love.) At the end of the day, it just didn’t seem appropriate to capitalize off of something that I felt was so badly needed in our community. I didn’t want there to be any barriers to access (which was why there was never any content behind a paywall) and I didn’t want it to look like I was “selling out”, whatever that means nowadays, if I started posting ads that may have only been loosely related to coxing or rowing.

Last fall I was working for a startup that was part of an accelerator program in Boston. While I was there I started seeing a lot of parallels between the blog and the startups I was working alongside, the first and most obvious being “identify and solve a problem”.  At one point one of the other founders asked me why I didn’t have a pitch deck for the blog considering all I’ve done with it and the ideas I had because even though it was “just a blog”, it really wasn’t that different from anything they were doing. I laughed if off because what I would use a pitch deck for – it’s just a blog. Then last week I came across this article on Medium titled “Nothing will change until you start building” and finally decided to put the wheels in motion.

Define your goal. Done. Be a resource for coxswains to learn everything they’re not taught but are expected to know and answer the questions they have, the ones they didn’t know they had, and the ones they’re afraid to ask.

Stay on track. Done. The last two years I’ve made a serious attempt to have a regular and consistent posting schedule and to try to line up the content to match the season we were currently in. Year-long editorial calendars were made and the limits of Google Drive have been tested by the number of post ideas, drafts, and articles that I’ve collected and written over the years.

Solve a problem. Done. I mean, I don’t know if Ready all, row… is “solving” the problem of limited coaching and educational resources for coxswains but I do think it’s making a serious dent. That’s confirmed whenever I get an email from a coxswain who says “you have no idea how much your blog has helped me” or from a rower who says “I never knew what it was like to be a coxswain but now I get it and I’ve tried to be a better teammate as a result”.

Ditch the “good idea / bad idea” mindset. To quote the article I linked, “The only way to know for sure if your idea will work is to formulate a product hypothesis and run an experiment to test it. Talk to people and ask if they are interested in your solution.” So here we are.

Ask for help. Ironically one of the things I’m worst at is the point of this entire post.

So, what’s the idea/plan?

“Side-hustle” income. That term is way overused these days but it is what it is. This has been my side-hustle for the past 4 years and 7 months (some of you were novices in high school when you started reading and now you’re in college … that blows my mind) and I’ve finally come around to the idea of embracing getting “paid” for what I love doing. It’s not a motivating factor by any means (if it was I wouldn’t have done it for free in the first place) but there’s no point in denying or sugarcoating that a little bit of extra money every month would be a huge help. I don’t however want to just take your money without having something tangible to give back in return, which leads me to the actual idea that I’ve been mulling over for the past several months.

One-on-one coxswain coaching. I want to earmark a portion of the donations to go towards offering a limited number of free 30 minute one-on-one coaching sessions each month to coxswains. It would be free in the sense that the coxswains that sign up for a session would not have to directly pay for it because it would be “crowdfunded” through the donations from this – our – community. I’ve done one-on-one Skype things in the past and it was pretty successful but I don’t want not being able to afford something like that to be a deterrent or barrier.

OK but … why? And why now?

Solid questions and both ones I’ve asked myself (a lot). The “why” is easy and also two-fold. “Why”, because coxswains need/deserve to be coached and for as much as I try to do on the blog, sometimes talking in person is just better. Face-to-face communication is huge and something that I think is validating, empowering, and necessary when you’re trying to discuss some of the complexities of coxing. I inject a lot of myself personality-wise into my writing so that when you read my emails or posts it feels like we’re just having a normal conversation after practice. I want to take that to the next level though and actually have a conversation with you.

The second part of the “why” is something I assume a lot of you are thinking. “Why would I donate money if part of it is going to help make my competition – people I might not even know – better?” For the same exact reason that I tell you competition amongst the coxswains on your own team is a good and necessary thing – it’s up to us to make each other better. You’re not going to get better if the people on your team aren’t pushing you but you’re also not going to get better if your counterpart in the 2V from Oakland Strokes or Phillips Andover or Long Beach or Belen Jesuit isn’t also getting better and pushing you to do the same. If we collectively can make each other better, our boats are going to be better, our teams are going to be better, and *pipe dream*, maybe the coaching we get will be better. The initiative has to start with us though.

The “why now” is a little more personal but it’s also pretty straightforward and obvious. I just started a new job and moved to New York, which is expensive AF. Initially my plan was to get a summer job so I could recoup some of the moving costs but that would cut into my availability to do camps and the stuff I actually want to be doing, which is this … not to mention my actual job. If I’m already putting regular part-time hours into the blog (between emails (where a lot of the time goes), writing, and a long, long list of other things, it’s usually at least 20 hours a week during the off-season; in-season it goes up to about 30), why not make the most of those hours?

Another “why now” is based off of something else I read last week. Ryan Hoover, founder of Product Hunt, wrote a thread on Twitter about building your audience first before trying to scale your startup. He cited the “1000 true fans” example and while that number isn’t an absolute by any means … we’ve definitely got that. As of 1:27pm, the blog has 927 email subscribers alone. Between people who have bookmarked but not subscribed to the blog and those who follow me on Instagram and YouTube … we’ve definitely got at least 1000 unique followers.

Casey Neistat said something in one of his vlogs awhile ago about how he didn’t define success as the amount of time he spent doing what he loves but by the amount of time that he doesn’t have to spend doing stuff he hates. I really took that to heart and it’s become the main motivation behind trying to pursue what I’ve described above, as well as a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff I’ve been doing over the last year (hint: new website). All of that takes time though and if time was limitless and bills, gas, food, insurance, and rent weren’t a thing, I’d keep on with the way things are now. The blunt reality is though that those are things and I don’t want to spend time on something I don’t enjoy (i.e. a second or third job) while sacrificing the stuff that I do just to be able to afford to live.

So … that’s where I’m at. I really welcome  your guys’ feedback on this (here’s the link to that Google Form again if you haven’t filled it out yet) and would love to hear if this is something you’d be willing to support. “This” being “Ready all, row…” as a whole and in turn, providing coxswains an opportunity to take their education, self-improvement, whatever you want to call it to the next level. By no means is this a “sure thing” yet either … I’m just trying to get a sense of interest before actually launching anything. The timeline though if there was enough interest would probably be sometime mid-summer.

CLICK HERE TO ACCESS THE GOOGLE FORM

There’s a lot of minutiae that I’ve left out of this post for brevity’s sake but if you have questions or are interested in more details (or just wanna know how much I’ve really thought this through), you’re always welcome to email me. Thanks for reading and for all your support up to this point. I value all of it immensely and with that ongoing support, hope to continue doing my part to ensure every coxswain is armed with the skills and knowledge they need to be confident, assertive, proud members of their team.

Words.

There’s a common saying in rowing that goes like this: “Coxswains lose races, they don’t win them.” A coxswain’s mistake, the expression suggests, can cost the boat a victory, but it is rare that a coxswain’s skilled handling of a shell is singled out as what decides a close race.  Nevertheless, it appears that, whether or not a coxswain can contribute to a win, the fault for a loss is often placed on their shoulders. It’s easier to blame the coxswain. It’s not necessarily fair, but that’s the way it is. If a coxswain does what they’re supposed to do, the win will still go to the crew.

Top 5 Most Important Things to Know on Race Day

Got a great question from a novice coxswain the other day that asked what the most important things were to know/remember on race day (excluding your race plan and lineup). Pretty simple question overall but what I liked about it was the PS at the end: “I asked my coach and he said (completely seriously) the only important thing I need to remember is to finish ahead of [a rival team]. I didn’t want to be annoying and ask again but he didn’t really answer my question so … help?”.

C’mon coaches. Do better.

Related: Race skills: Race warmups

Excluding your race plan and lineup, which you should know well in advance, here are the most important things you need to know or find out on race day.

Traffic pattern

The worst time to find out that there’s a left hand traffic pattern instead of a right hand pattern is when you’re on the water warming up. (Saw that happen in Philly a couple years ago … it almost didn’t end well.) Make sure you’re familiar with the traffic pattern and any nuances, like shallow spots, pinch points, bridge arches you can’t go through, etc. before you launch so you’re not spending your warmup time hyperfocused on trying to figure out where to go.

If you get out on the water though and don’t know where you need to be or get confused by something, ask. There are officials, coaches, etc. in launches on the water who will answer whatever questions you have but they can’t help you if they don’t know there’s a problem. They’re not going to be annoyed or think you’re stupid for saying something but I can promise you that they will be super pissed if you don’t ask and then they have to chase you down to tell you to get off the course, you’re on the wrong side, etc. because at that point, not only are you potentially interfering with a race in progress, you’re putting yourself, your crew, and the other crews in danger.

When in doubt, speak up and ask for clarification.

Warm up pattern

This is in a similar vein to the traffic pattern. I’ve been on courses where you launch at the finish line and warm up parallel to the course as you row to the starting line and I’ve been on courses where you launch above the starting line, row down parallel to the course, do a short loop below the finish line, and then row back up the same side you came down to get back to the start. Knowing the traffic pattern doesn’t necessarily equate to knowing the warmup pattern so this is another thing to make sure you are 100% clear on before you launch.

If you’re able to practice the day before your race, use that time to familiarize yourself with the water, landmarks, etc. so that when you’re going out for your race, again, you’re not wasting your warmup time by trying to figure out where to go.

Official race (and weigh-in) time

99.9% of the time these days, race time = cell phone time (because unlike watches, your cell phone’s not going to slow down time as the battery dies). At the earliest you can probably ask your coach what time your race is on Thursday of that week. At the latest, particularly if there’s concerns about weather, you should find out by Friday afternoon. It’s on you though to go directly to your coach and ask for this information – don’t wait for them to give it to you. Even if they say “I’ll find out and let you know”, you’ve still gotta be the one to follow up. There’s a lot to do on race day and it’s easy for something like this to slip their mind.

This also applies to weigh-ins, particularly and especially if racing has been delayed and as a result, so have weigh-ins. I think USRowing altered the rule as a result of that fiasco at Youth Nats a few years ago but regardless, if you’re getting weighed in or you’re coxing lightweights who need to weigh in, you need to know when the weigh-ins are happening, where they’re at, how many chances they’ll get to weigh in (sometimes there’s a limit of two times before you’re ineligible to race), and what the time frame is (i.e. no later than 2hrs before race time).

Lane and Bow Number

One time when I was doing stake boats a crew rowed up to the start without a bow number but pretty confidently spun into my lane so I just assumed they were in the right place. A minute or so later another crew rowed up and said “you’re in our lane”. The coxswain was like “oh sorry, I wasn’t sure what lane we were in so I just decided to go here” (as if that’s a practical solution) before turning around to ask me what lane she was in. I had no idea and it took a few minutes for the officials to figure out too, which ended up delaying the start of the race.

When you get your race time from your coach, make sure you also get the lane number and grab your bow number, if you’re using them (most big regattas do, sometimes smaller races or duels don’t). Most duel races (especially in college) will do the lane draw at the coaches and coxswains meeting so there’s no excuse for not knowing where to go.

The kicker with that coxswain, and the reason it took awhile for the officials to figure out where they were supposed to be, was that their race was the one before the one they were trying to line up for. Know your race time, know your lane number.

Launch time

There’s a fine balance in knowing when to launch. Too soon and you’ll end up sitting on the water for awhile (which at best, means your muscles cool down and at worst, you’ll be stuck in the elements, which means excess time in the blistering sun or freezing ass cold) or too late and you’ll have to rush up to the start and sacrifice getting a proper warm up in. I talked about determining when to launch in the “race warmups” post linked at the top so check it out for more info on that.

My personal preference is to be shoving off the dock about 40 minutes before race time – I think that tends to give me enough time to run through our warmup, get a quick drink, and then get locked on to the stake boats with 2-3 minutes to spare so the crew can have some quiet time before the race starts.

All of these things are discussed in the coaches and coxswains meeting but if you miss it or there isn’t one, find an official and ask them the specifics for each of these. They’re there to answer your questions so don’t be shy about talking to them. If you don’t have USRowing officials (who wear blue shirts, navy jackets, and khaki pants at every race), look for “regatta headquarters” and ask someone in there. If they don’t know, they’ll be the best people to point you towards someone who does.

Related: What happens at a coaches and coxswains meeting?

Also, for the novices in particular, if you haven’t yet, check out the two posts linked above and at the start of the post. There’s a ton of information in there that, if you haven’t figured most of it out by this point in the season, will definitely help you out as we enter the last few weeks of racing.