Do you have a question about rowing or coxing? Are you a coxswain looking for someone to listen to, critique, and/or give you feedback on your recordings?Β If so, send me an email at I answer every email and always try to reply within a couple days, thought sometimes it takes a little longer depending on what’s going on … be patient though, you will hear back from me!

If you leave a comment down below, make sure you subscribe to it or check back to see my reply. Sometimes a similar question has already been asked so I’ll post the link to that one in my response instead of posting a new question on the main page. Questions are posted on alternating days each week – i.e. if they were posted on Tuesday the previous week then they’ll be posted on Thursday of the current week – so if you want to see when your question will go up check to see when the last round was posted.

661 thoughts on “Questions?

  1. Penelope says:

    I was talking to my coach about what boats I was in consideration for going into the following year, and I got some really great news, he’s looking at me for our V8+ (top boat at my club)! The only bad thing is what came after that. Basically he said, “you could be coxing the V8+… if you get your anxiety under control.” At first, I thought that was way out of line, but honestly, the havoc my anxiety wreaks on my overall mental health and well being is debilitating, and there’s really no way improving that could hurt in any capacity, so I’m realizing he’s probably got a point. How do you suggest dealing with overall rational requests of a coach when they entail changing something a bit more personal than technique like this?

  2. Caitlin says:

    Hi! I am a recently graduated high school senior that, due to my birth year, has to race u23 this summer. Do you have any tips on how to make the transition from junior to intermediate rowing easier? I will be competing at some major races this summer (IDR, Henley) so any info on how to get into a u23 training mentality would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!

  3. Yoko says:

    Hi! I’m a coxswain who just finished my second season (as in I’ll be varsity next season). My novice 8 did very well, placing at Midwest Youth Championships! I’m so proud of them, and I really love coxing, but as the season goes out, I’m wondering, is it the best thing for me? I feel a lot of pressure to be at the 110-pound minimum, and so when the Tuesday before the race I weighed in at 116, I was devastated. I spent the Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of that week living only of multivitamins and one bottle of water a day. The Saturday and Sunday of racing, it was virtually the same, except I ate one clementine each day as well. I did meet minimum as I hoped I would, and was actually under, being sandbagged for 0.8 pounds, but I recognize this is incredibly unhealthy, and unfortunately, it falls in line with other unhealthy behaviors I’ve had a tendency to engage in for a few years now. I truly love coxing, but I’m not so sure my mental health would do at all well if I continue. Thoughts/advice?

  4. E says:

    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.

  5. PT says:

    Hi There,

    I’ve just come out of my first racing season and after talking to my crew and coaches, my weakness still lies within steering; more specifically oversteering.

    My racing season consisted of Sykes bow-loaded fours (so steering is done with the rod). The steering system is an AEROWFIN. From the other fours I’ve coxed with the traditional square fin, this one is obviously more touchy and responsive (which has its pros and cons). The problem is that at the tip of the fin, (the point on the rudder that is furthest away from the hull) there is a small crease/slight bend in the rudder. I’m not sure whether this may contribute to some of the steering issues I’ve had.

    In the eight that I’ve raced once, we have stuck an oversized fin for the Head of the Yarra we do every year and left it on for the whole season ( The rudder does not, however line up dead straight with the fin, it is 1-2mm wide of it

    At the beginning of the season, I tried lining up the rudder to be dead straight but moving the rod (while on slings) and looking from the stern down towards the bow at the rudder in order to gauge its “straightness”. I’d then mark the point in my seat to which the position of the rod/string corresponds to a straight rudder. However, I struggle to think of a time when leaving the rudder at that point does not stop the bow ball drifting to either side.

    The possible factors I see which might be the cause of my oversteering.
    – Power Imbalance
    – Current/Wind (Although I’ve steered in near flat conditions and it still occurs)
    – Rudder Defect(s)

    Often when we train, I’m autopiloting the steering aspect because the river is very simple with gradual turns. But come race day on a buoyed course, it becomes pretty awful. Talking to my stroke, he said that it wasn’t like I was changing the direction of the rudder every three strokes, but it was more of a gradual snaking which was costing us metres.

    The four I cox have spent a lot of time in the 4- and tbh can steer straighter than I can (although this is an example of a different occasion, with different conditions and a different body of water).

    The fact is that I’d like to rectify my steering issues, the next few months will be primarily Winter Training or Head Racing.

    How do I do it? Do I start from scratch and focus all my attention on steering?

    What is a good way to know that you’re steering straight (because it seems like I’m steering straight on home territory however as soon as we hit the buoyed course it becomes awful). Some coxes have the liberty of training on rivers/lakes with buoys all year around whereas the river we row on doesnt have this, how can I practise?

    Thank You Very Much!

    • Graycen Arias says:

      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?

      Thank you for your time.

  6. James says:

    Hi! So I’m a collegiate coxswain with about 8 years of experience and I’ve been struggling with fours for a while now. I’m pretty good in eights and have great boat feel, but as soon as I hop in a four everything goes south. I struggle to diagnose problems, stumble over my words, become repetitive, steer poorly, etc. etc. It also doesn’t help that I’m in eights most of the time, so it’s near impossible to fix problems for next practice as the next fours practice might be 8-10 practices away. Do you have any advice?

  7. CJ says:

    Hi! Do you have any suggestions for what my boat can do about our struggles coming out of a start? We’ll usually do a start 6 and a high 20/25, but when we need to lengthen out to get to race pace (because we can’t hold a 42 SR for the whole 2000m) we seem to loose a lot of energy and ground on other boats. What can we do to come out of a start more smoothly? My boat is fairly strong and it’s not that we’re dropping from a 1:35 to a 1:50 because we can’t hold a lower split, but we just don’t know how to lengthen out/get a ratio shift that’s more smooth and even. Calling a lengthen 10 doesn’t help.Thanks!

  8. Emma says:

    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.

  9. Emma says:

    Hi! How would you recommend handling other coxswains that believe in “dictatorship”? I’m in my 3rd year of coxing and have always had the thought process that I am not a dictator or boss, or that the rowers work for me, but that I work for the rowers so that they can perform to the best of their abilities. As long as we are working hard and accomplishing our goals, I see no reason as to why we can’t have fun. My boat last year had this mindset and we always did extremely well and had good attitudes most of the time. However, this year the coxswains who have been with our team for a shorter time than myself (I am the oldest cox) believe that they can be dictators and that it’s alright for them to force the rowers to perform workouts the way that they want them done, rather than what works best for the rowers. How can I handle this? I’ve already talked to the other coxes but they don’t care

  10. Melissa Bonvissuto says:

    Hey! I am a high school senior interested in rowing in college. I have committed to attending a school, but I did not go through the recruiting process. Before committing to the school, I was in contact with one of the assistant coaches, and met with and spoke with him. How do I go about getting in contact with the coach again about joining the team in the fall? Thanks!

  11. Elena says:

    I am a freshman in high school cox, and I am friends with an 8th grade cox. She isnt done growing but is worried that she will be over the weight limit (aka minimum) when she is so she is trying to lose weight. She claims to jsut want to eat healthier, but she does not eat lunch, has mentioned cutting sodium and fat signifigantly, and is tracking her calories. I think she has an eating disorder, which I have had before and dont want her to go through. What should I do? I want her to be safe 😦

  12. Kira says:

    How do you avoid being repetitive if your boat keeps falling off the goal stroke rate? The boat I cox sometimes struggles to keep it up and I don’t want to constantly be calling “up two in two,” as I feel like it’s either not working (which is why we keep coming back down) or it gets annoying. Once we get up to rate I try to sometimes call for a “focus 5” to really focus on what the rate feels like and maybe help with building muscle memory of what the slide speed and drive speed should feel like and I think it helps a bit, but sometimes we fall back down anyway.

    Also, how do you call a double pause drill (e.g., pause at arms over and at half slide)? Do you say “row” after the first pause, even though they’re not actually rowing but rather moving to a second pause? Or do you not call the pauses/”row”s at all and just let stroke seat take control? (I’m in a bowloader, if that makes a difference)


      • Kira says:

        Thank you so, so much!

        I also have one more question – I see that it’s often recommended to use some “catch…send”-type calls to help with the ratio and setting the rhythm. How do you learn to do this properly? I’m a relatively new coxswain and, especially with being in a bowloader, don’t always know if I’m hitting the right timing. I’ve been a rower and I know first-hand how annoying it is when a coxswain’s “catch…send” is out of sync with what stroke seat is actually doing, as it ends up being confusing rather than helpful. Because of this, I’m really nervous about making those kinds of calls properly.

        Any suggestions?

        • beantownkmd says:

          You just have to get comfortable feeling the boat ( It’s pretty obvious when the blades go in the water but you can/should also use your peripheral vision to watch your bow seat’s blade go in, which will give you a visual cue that you can match your calls up to. Let the rowers know too that this is something you’re working on so if your timing is off, they should feel free to tell you if you’re making the call too early, too late, etc.

          You’ve also gotta just get over the fear of doing it wrong. You ARE gonna do it wrong because you’re not that experienced yet. Make mistakes, learn from it, do it better the next time.

  13. Carter says:

    Hi! I’m in my third year of coxing in college. I coxed the 2V my first two years, but this fall I was moved up to the 1V. There are a few other coxswains on our team but, honestly, most of them don’t know what they’re doing and won’t put in effort to improve. I’ve noticed that when I’m occasionally put back into the 2V (which is mainly made up of the same rowers as last year’s 2V) for practice, the rowers have lost a lot of technique. Stroke seat (who was my stroke in the 2V last year) has told me that the other coxswains don’t know how to correct technique, and will either ignore it or tell them to do the wrong thing. She has also said that the coxswains don’t know how to call pieces, and aren’t helping them get to the stroke rate or split they need to be at. I also found out that several of 2V rowers no longer trust coxswains because the other coxswains have constantly lied to them about stroke rate, split, distance, time, etc. What can I do for them? I love the 2V; it has a special place in my heart and I’ve had some of my best races and practices in that boat. I really want them to do well this spring, because we were amazing last year, but they don’t seem to be on that track now. Several rowers have talked to our coaches about how those coxswains are negatively affecting their boat, but our coaches don’t seem to be very concerned and haven’t done anything to help. They’ve also talked to these coxswains, but they get offended and defensive when the rowers ask them to change things.I really want to see the 2V do well this year, but I don’t know what to do at this point for them.

  14. Alex says:

    Any suggestions for how to handle differences in rower-coxswain experience levels? I.e., when the coxswain is more experienced than the rowers, or the rowers are much more experienced than the coxswain. I’m a rower in a boat in the latter situation currently, and want to be able to give the coxswain suggestions on what to do specifically, but because all the rowers are new to the team (and because I’ve never coxed), it’s a little hard.

  15. Phil says:

    What are the basics to over taking (and their exceptions)?

    If I am approaching a crew and they are in the way of my ideal line, do I have right of way? And can I boss ’em around and tell them to move to bow/stroke side etc?

    If I am being over taken, what is the time frame before I have to GTFO? And how do I do it in such a way where my boat isn’t being too negatively affected? (I’ve heard about coxswains who panic and slam on the rudder and end up costing the boat a few seconds).

  16. Phil says:

    G’day! Just an upfront thanks for the help this blog has been to me so far – it is really a god send!

    Recently our coach took us on a road trip to a ‘still’ body of water to do our time trials, however the weather was absolutely horrendous that day (strong winds and rain). This left us with quite the time trial.

    In regards to the steering, however, I found it very difficult. Generally in practice, I’d look over my shoulder (bow loaded quad) to try and see how the blade work was doing and on top of the glances at the SpeedCoach and calls, its generally a handful. When we were doing pieces that day, I’d made the mistake of not prioritising the steering (I just kept the rudder straight) ended up a good 5 or so meters to bow side after the 2K (~ish) piece. On the latter pieces, my line was much better, but required my to be on the rudder a lot of the time.

    My question is how do you deal with rough weather? Mainly in regards to cross winds, head winds, tail winds. Should I be constantly on the rudder to maintain my line? Or should I point my line in the direction of the wind in hopes that it pushes the boat back to a straight course?

    A fellow cox mentioned that they did something similar to this in Rio this year but I’m not a hundred percent sure.

    Thanks in advanced!

  17. Erin says:

    Hi Kaleigh! I’m getting pretty nostalgic as I’ve been following you since my high school days! But in a few weeks I begin my final season as a competitive rower. I started back in 2009 and instantly fell in love and haven’t looked back. I know that I can coach and row masters, but it’s just not the same. My heart is already breaking thinking about how this is the end of the line for me unless by some miracle I get accepted into a U23 program and can further delay said retirement. Do you have any tips on coming to terms with my impending retirement and coping with “post competition depression”? (I believe that’s what Google called it)

  18. Carter says:

    Hello! I’m a collegiate rower currently at a D3 school. Recently I’ve noticed that my team’s top coxswain has seemed to have lost a lot of weight in the past few months. By this, I mean she seems to have lost 10 to 15lbs, which is a lot considering she’s 5’4″ and wasn’t over the 110lb minimum by more than 7 or 8lbs last season. I don’t believe she eats very often, but when I do see her eat she doesn’t seem to have an eating disorder. I’m not sure whether or not I should be concerned about her weight loss, and if I should bring it up with someone?

  19. Gabby says:

    I really want to practice making small steering adjustments, but my team has the great misfortune of rowing on a river that is in the midst of extreme drought. When I say extreme, I mean we can’t have two boats next to each other because anything but a very specific course in the very middle of the river can break off a fin. Because of the drought, there’s debris everywhere, and coupled with the bridges, I’m basically on the rudder at all times. How can I practice minimal steering in this situation?

  20. Addie Jennings says:

    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.

  21. Alex says:

    What type of contact is permitted during the dead period? If I’m doing a 5k this week and want to send my time to a coach is that something that would be allowed?

  22. Erin says:

    Recently I’ve taken a bigger role on my team as a coxswain and have made some definite improvements with my confidence. But, I’m still struggling with how to handle frustration. When a boat feels really good and my rowers are being super responsive I feel as though I make really good calls, but when my rowers aren’t being as responsive to me or they’re tired, I feel like I never know how to motivate them without sounding mean. The other day I rower told me to work on saying more positive calls instead of negative calls, but I’m having trouble thinking of what would be considered a negative call. What do you think I should do to improve on this?

  23. Phil says:

    So far finding this blog a great resource, it has helped me so much already so thank you πŸ™‚

    Onto my question, as a novice cox for maybe a month, the only real thing I am really struggling with at the moment is maneuvering the boat – e.g. moving the boat from the middle of the river off to the side in order not to impede traffic, sorta like parking the boat.

    Say if I was in the middle of the river and i wanted to get to the bank and be ‘parked’ in the same position as if the boat had simply moved sideways, how would I go about doing this? My past attempts doing this have involved me steering while bow just rows, then I would just get stern pair to back it. It seems really slow and inefficient when I do it.

    Also if the current keeps pushing us towards the bank, to the point where there is barely enough room to take a stroke without hitting the bank what can I do to:

    1) Keep the boat off the bank in the first place
    2) Get out of a situation like this if it does arise again.

    I usually tell bow to tap it on bow side but then the stern just gets pushed in, then I tell stroke to tap on bow and same goes, bow just goes back into the bank. If i tell all 4 to tap in on bow side, the stern will just hit the bank.

    BTW This would primarily be for a 4x+ as I don’t cox 8s very often, but advice for 8s would also be nice πŸ™‚


    • beantownkmd says:

      Hey Phil! Great questions – hope this helps! I think I forgot to state it in there but this is applicable to both eights and quads since there’s not really anything you would do differently between the two boats to get out of the situations you listed. The only difference that might come up is who you tell to row in an eight based on how the boat is rigged … but that’s all SUPER self-explanatory as long as you know how telling a starboard vs. a port to row impacts your point.

  24. Kenny says:

    Do you have any recommendations for summer programs for collegiate coxswains (with 1-2 years of previous experience)? Can you provide several recommendations with varying competitiveness and schedule flexibility? I’d like to cox this summer, but I’m also looking at a full-time summer job.

  25. Kate says:

    Hi. I was hoping to get some explanation on how to call a power train. My guys said they like power trains but I’m not sure how to call them. Thanks

  26. ART says:

    Do you have any advice on how to deal with getting offers during official visits (particularly when you have more in the coming weeks/month)?

  27. Catie says:

    Hi Kayleigh! I’m a bit confused on filling out recruiting forms as a coxswain. A fair amount of the schools I’m looking at have men’s heavyweight, men’s lightweight, and women’s rowing; if I’m open to coxing all three, do I fill out all three even though it’s at the same school? Thanks so much!

  28. Erin says:

    Hi!! I have a plica in my knee, I got the okay from our AT to row but it hurts a lot when I do. We’re in an erging stint right now and I don’t want to be seen as a slacker but I also don’t know if I can effectively do the workouts on the erg. I have no clue how to go about handling the situation.

  29. Claire says:

    Hi Kayleigh, I’m entering my senior year of college and 8th year of rowing. Our team has 1.5 coaches, 3 coxswains, no academic advisor or AT and one our class graduates our team is going to be half the size it is now. Do you have any advice on how to make the best of a seemingly crappy situation?

  30. Kassidy says:

    I graduated college (men’s ACRA club) last spring and get asked regularly to cox competitive master’s boats. I always have fun coxing once I have been on the water for a few minutes, but am looking on advice for how to get comfortable with these crews faster.

    I started coxing in college (Your blog has been a huge help!) and was our top cox junior and senior year but I don’t have a ton of experience with jumping into a boat full of strangers. I don’t have the time to join/commit to a club right now (fulltime work and night school for masters) so I enjoy filling in but it is definetly different than having a boat of rowers that I know well and vice versa. After thinking about it, I realized my biggest two challenges are:

    1. Being comfortable “calling out” guys who are more than a few years older than me.
    2. Coxing boats where I know few/none of my rowers (IE. Was asked by a friend to cox an 8+ he was bowing, then was asked by the stroke to fill-in for his club. So in the first boat I felt okay because I knew one person well, the second offer is intimidating since I wouldn’t really know anyone.)

    I’m sure the more I do it, the more comfortable I will be but I was wondering if you had tips for any of these?

  31. Janey Matejka says:

    I’m trying out for New Trier Novice Rowing in a couple days (go NT! I was super excited to see New Trier in the 8+ Midwest Championships recording!) and wanted to know what the real rules are on swearing in a race. I heard that you can get DQ’d but it is super rare and most coxswains swear anyway. What are your thoughts?

  32. speakyellow says:

    Could you explain lunging a bit more? Such as what it looks like on an erg, and how I would be able to tell that say, four seat, is lunging? I know that rushing the top quarter of the slide and skying blades is a sign of lunging, but how do I know for sure that they’re lunging and not just rushing/not controlling their hands?

  33. Mark says:

    Hi, I just wanted to know how you think the style of coxing differs between the US and the UK. I’ve been coxing in the UK for a couple of years and the calls made during races seem to be made in a more rhythmic and fluid style (if that makes sense, probably not), whereas in the videos I’ve watched of US crews there seems to be a lot of counting with stuff thrown in between each number, which I think is a bit cluttered. Of course this is only based on a couple of videos I’ve watched but I might be going to the US for university, so would I have to adopt my style to the one I’ve seen? Thanks πŸ™‚

  34. Mia Atkins says:

    Hi. I’ve coxed girls for a year now and I’m changing to guys. I’m not sure how to cox guys as I’ve heard it’s quite different. Any tips? Also they want me to motivate them in the gym and I don’t know how to apply my coxing in the river to a gym session.

  35. Melissa says:

    Hey! I have a couple questions- 1. I’m not very good at taking criticism. Mentally I don’t mind it and I try to use it and everything, but for some reason emotionally I seem to take it as an attack and always feel close to crying. I’m not sure why this is, and I was wondering if you have any tips.
    2. We just got a new coach and he’s doing a summer rowing program, which is great, but he’s trying to completely change my style of coxing. I understand that repetitiveness is something I need to work on, but he’s telling me that while I was coxing the rowers on the ergs that I was “singing” to them. He expects me to be much louder (which I can be when I choose to be- I prefer to save it and use it as a “wake up” call kinda thing to change the pace of the race) and also be more direct and short (which I understand that part of and agree with). How should I deal with this? Should I try to explain my ways (I did a bit) or just go with what he says? And how do you work on being less repetitive ?

    Thanks!! (Sorry if the second one is kinda a loaded question. Today was the first day with the new coach, and tomorrow is the first day on the water)

  36. V says:

    Hi! I currently am a female rising junior in high school, and I am hoping to be recruited for college for coxing. My normal weight floats between 105-110lbs without me doing anything special or extra to hold it there (ex. dieting, working out, etc). However, I am very tall at 5’7″ and I am worried that coaches will overlook me because of how tall I am. Do you think that it is possible for me to cox in college knowing that I can healthily maintain sub the minimum weight, but am really tall for a coxswain, and that I don’t fit the short 5′ coxswain stereotype? I have been a girls’ coxswain for the past two years. This summer I am doing two coxswain camps and am coxing the men’s’ team (they do not have enough girls to fill a boat) for a club that practices in the same boathouse that my school does for about half of the summer.

  37. Catie says:

    Hi Kayleigh! This weekend our start pushed us to port and we ended up with our blades about 6-9 inches off the buoys, so I decided to stay along the buoy line and go straight there instead of adjusting to the middle and then going straight. Despite this, the guys who have been watching the GoPro have said that I should’ve gone to the middle of the lane and then gone straight. If you had been pushed to one side or the other off the start, would you have adjusted to put yourself in the middle of the lane or stayed just off the buoy line? Thanks so much!

  38. Erin says:

    Hi Kayleigh! I was just wondering in what universe does it make sense to increase work load a week before your championship race? We’ve been having one practice a day all year, then the Monday before our race we start going twice, by Wednesday we were all exhausted. The day before our race our coach has us do 14k of steady state rowing with some full pressure pieces thrown in. Then the day of the race our coach has us wake up early We can do another 4K steady state, before racing. How is this logical in anyway shape or form?? PS sorry if this Islan kind of turned into a rant :/

  39. Kalyn says:

    Hello! I’ve seen you mention before that coxswains are supposed to be completely silent during seat-races and that was a huge surprise to me because I’ve been a high school coxswain for three years now and we always talk during our seat-races. We race our boat against the other boats making calls like those that we’d make during races. My coach is a retired olympic rower so I figured he knew how to run seat-races but then I read what you said and it seems to make more sense to have a seat-race be all about the rower. I was just wondering what your thoughts were on this (having coxswains cox the seat-races). Thanks!

  40. Madi says:

    Hi! I have my last race coming up in a couple of weeks, and I’m coxing four boats at it. The first boat is our Varsity 4A who I am very used to and have been coxing all year. The second boat is a LWT Novice 4 that was kind of thrown together last minute because we needed to boat everyone. The other two are masters boats for my club team that I’m obviously not a part of because I’m in high school, but they needed an extra coxswain and their coach is my old coach, so he asked me. Do you have any tips for coxing races generally and not super person-specifically, but still well? The two masters boats have real shots at medalling, so I want to make sure I do my best with them, even though I’ve never met or worked with any of them before. The LWT4 doesn’t really have much of a shot just because who we’re competing against, but I still want them to feel like they had a good end-of-season race. What do you think?

    Thank you so much!!

    PS: The two masters boats will be bowloaders, and since I won’t have very good boat sense with them because they’re not my teammates, I don’t know how well I’ll do with technical calls.

  41. elizabeth says:

    i’ve been having some trouble for some time now that when im rowing at high rates and focusing on just being faster and tapping down and getting my blade in is that..i’m burying the entire shaft of the oar pretty much. Not all the time but I would say 65% of the time. When the boat is set and we can all square up on time and have a direct catch then my blade just goes in but I’ve been told “Not the whole shaft, just the bury the blade” countless times. I’ve been focusing mad hard on trying to fix it but I really don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I wouldn’t mind seeing video of me rowing to nail it down and that might happen today but I just want to fix it already. My hands might be too low at the catch or too high (mostly depending on the boat being unset). When I was in a better set boat, my technique was a lot better and less of the shaft of the oar went in and I got the blade in. I can get the blade in on the drive and have a lot of power but it seems that I enjoy making things harder for myself by putting the shaft in the water. Any help or tips would be extremely amazing. I also seem to just do this on port side and when i rowed starboard it worked a little bit better but I was having a hard time transitioning from righty to lefty.
    Thanks again

  42. Claire says:

    Hi Kayleigh, I’m coming and asking you because at this point because my team is desperate. I don’t want to give much away other than we are a college team with a head coach who is boarder line abusive with an assistant coach who doesn’t coach and knows way to much about our personal lives beyond way what we post on social media. Some people have gone to compliance and they didn’t do anything and when some went to the title 9 office that ended badly for us. Do you have any advice on dealing with a bad coaching situation?

    • beantownkmd says:

      I haven’t heard anything about it so I’m not sure. I’d actually completely forgotten that was a thing until you mentioned it so maybe USRowing forgot too? I donno…

  43. elizabeth says:

    hi!! so what should you do if you think a teammate doesn’t like you? All i’ve been getting is bad vibes, and whenever I try to be nice and talkative she just like doesn’t even listen. I really don’t wanna start something, but all i have been is nice to her! I can deal if she doesn’t like me, but man I don’t want that to affect the boat you know? And it hasn’t except for sorta today maybe? Not exactly sure but just wanted tips on how to deal/work your way around if someone may not like you for no reason at all. I might be viewed as competition but I have NEVER said anything hateful, rude, or bad to her at all. I keep my mouth shut at the right times and I am a very laughable, comfortable, relaxed person to talk too. In the conversations we have had (only a few), shes barely said anything and I just end up not getting an answer. And she gives off really, really dirty looks to me.She seems like thats her face, but she likes some other girls on the team real well so i’m not sure… I don’t wanna push it because I got bigger, better problems to attend too but just kinda putting this out there.

    • Sandra Gemini says:

      HIii! πŸ™‚ 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 cant 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!

  44. Catie says:

    Hi Kayleigh! Obviously rowers need to adjust their foot stretchers, spacers, shoe height, etc. but I never know when the right time to let them do that is. If the dock is pretty empty then I will let them do it before we shove off, but when it’s busy and a lot of them need to adjust, I just don’t know when to let them adjust. How have you usually done this in the past? Thanks!

  45. Catie says:

    Hi Kayleigh!
    I was wondering if you could do a comparison of the NK cox box to the Cox Orb? I saw that you had them on your Instagram and I was wondering how much better they really are – thank you!!

    • beantownkmd says:

      Hey Catie! I’m gonna do a post on the CoxOrb soon! I used it throughout the fall but wanted our coxswains to get a chance to use it as well so I held off on posting something over the winter so they could have some time with it. Suffice it to say though, everyone loves it. There’s something to be said for the simplicity of NK’s but the CoxOrb does so much that the time it takes to figure out how to work it is well worth it. Keep an eye out for a post on it though, hopefully sometime within the next week. πŸ™‚

  46. Julia says:

    Hey Kayleigh! I love your blog so much and wanted your input on three different issues I’ve been navigating for the past year. I am a freshman and still adjusting to college rowing, so any advice you have is much appreciated.

    1. I do a good job steering when we’re just doing steady state or drills, but when we do pieces (especially at higher rates) I totally fall apart. I’m not sure if I freak out because I’m thinking too hard about what to say and then forget to steer, or if I’m just bad at steering off of other boats, or if I psych myself out and try to not touch the rudder at all but end up pretty far away from the other boats–it seems like all of these things happen to me sometimes. What can I do to improve my steering on pieces?

    2. Thoughts on coxswain-rower relationships?

    3. Advice for balancing rowing, school, and social life?

    Thank you!!!

  47. Cate says:

    Hi Kayleigh!
    So the pressure today in my boat was pretty off – 2 seat got sick so another guy had to come in for him. The bow seat was noticeably stronger than 2 seat, and I didn’t really notice until I started turning (we were doing side by side pieces – if it were just us it probably wouldn’t have been as big of a deal but since it was a straight shot it was). I obviously made an effort to adapt for it, but I was really having trouble holding a point because of it and one coach was getting frustrated by that. After practice the other coach who was out with us came up to me and said that he noticed it and I need to let the coaches know when stuff like that happens. So, I get that I have to let them know but can I really say that without making it seem like a big deal? I feel like it makes it seem as if I don’t know what I’m doing (I’m new to the boys team so I’m also trying to earn my spot). Thanks!

  48. Cate says:

    Hi – we were doing 6×5′ race pieces today at 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, open. Obviously the coaches were being sticklers on the rate, but my cox box was not giving me the right stroke rate – it said I was at a 22 the entire time when I knew that we weren’t and the boat really likes to know what rate they’re at. When I felt the rate coming up I would call to bring it down, but the coaches kept saying “you’re above rate, bring it down! It’s your responsibility!” I know that it’s my responsibility, but how do you deal with these kinds of situations? We don’t have speed coaches to use either. Thanks!

  49. Meriah says:

    Hi, I’m currently an sophomore high school girls coxswain, and this question doesn’t really have to do with coxsing or rowing, but I hope you can help me out. Both the junior and senior classes of my crew are very small, two people each. However, the sophomore class is quite big, around 15. Now that the spring season is starting, only about 5 novices have joined, so our coach, who was a rower back when the varsity team had 90 girls total, is mad at us and constantly pressing us to go out and recruit. Our school has about 600 people per grade, so it shouldn’t seem too hard, but I am not very good at talking to new people, so I have a hard time going up to people to recruit. I am wondering if you have any tips on how to recruit and things to say to the person to get them interested in the sport.

  50. elizabeth says:

    Hi! So I contacted you back in November, and I just wanted to say thank you for replying it helped quite a lot. Spring season started today (March 7th), but I’ve been out for 3 weeks with sinusitis which I still have. I came back to practice last week, but I’m only slowly improving day by day. I’ve tried the workouts but I cannot breathe at all if I’m sprinting or putting a lot of work into the piece. My coach is super okay, with me feeling 100% better but it might take another full week. I’m coughing and cannot run either. I missed all of the 2k work, but I know that I might not get out on the water until I do a 2k…but that might be a little while. I’m a junior as well, so I know worrying about getting back into this won’t help, but I just really wanna get better. Maybe I’m just asking you to let me know that I’m on the recovery and improving each day? Or maybe I’m asking you for help? I’m not really sure, but it feels good to type this up. It seems as if I am allergic to winter.
    Thanks for listening,

  51. Hannah says:

    Hi! I was wondering whether it would be viable to cox for a competitive crew at varsity level at college but also occasionally go out on the water yourself? I am considering coxing at university but I’m not sure if it is something I want to try if it means giving up sculling completely!

    Thank you!

  52. Melissa says:

    Hi! I’ve asked you plenty of questions before, and your blog is so helpful for me to be a better rower and coxswain.

    Recently, my team voted for women’s varsity captain. The girl who won is in her third season on the team, and her second season coxing. I love her as a person, but I am not a fan of her coxing- I’ve raced with her before. (Just for some background)

    I personally don’t agree with many of the decisions she makes. For example: on our team, if the rowers aren’t cooperating, the coxswains have the authority to assign pushups. If ONE rower in her boat is unable to roll their oar up, then she gives her entire boat pushups, and one day, she was coxing my boat (a mixed NOVICE eight) who has just recently been learning how to roll-up, and she gave them pushups for not being able to do something that they haven’t learned.

    Also, there have been several instances where a boat has needed to be put away, and one more person was needed to carry it. I offer to help, and then she tells me that the rowers need to be the ones carrying the boats. I don’t agree with this because the rowers bring their boat down and up, they bring oars down and up, and they help other boats. If each boat was carrying their own boat on their own, I’d agree with her. But if you just need someone else to put it in the racks, what is the problem if it is a coxswain (formerly a rower; perfectly able to lift a boat) versus a rower?

    Thirdly, there are many cases where she has to ask me what we’re supposed to be doing, who’s going out first, etc., and that just seems very backwards to me. This along with the fact that the novices (who didn’t get to vote) wish that I were captain and believe that I am a better coxswain than her, handle myself better under pressure, etc.

    I obviously cannot change the fact that she’s captain, and I am happy for her. My question is, how do I respect her even though I have more experience and frankly more leadership skills than she does?

    (I don’t know if this sounds totally jerky or not… I really do like her as a person, I just feel that she isn’t fit to be captain- at least, not yet)

  53. Erin says:

    Hi Kayleigh! I am a junior in college and due to a combination of good and bad experiences with coaches as well as a love for the sport, I’m seriously considering coaching once I graduate and just had a few questions. Would you say you need a specific degree to coach, or is the saying “A degree is worth the paper it’s printed on” true? Do I have any chance of getting the opportunity be a grad assistant if I’m not studying exercise science, sports management or something else related? In general what advice would you give to someone who wants to coach? Thank you!

  54. Julia says:

    Hi! I am a freshman walk-on coxswain at a competitive D1 Ivy League program on the men’s lightweight team. We currently have 4 boats and I am the 5th coxswain, so in the coaches’ eyes I am obviously the worst although the rowers tell me they prefer me to the 4th coxswain (also a freshman walk-on) and the third is over the weight minimum by 10 pounds. The thing is, I am always messing up, always going to be behind because I never coxed in high school and never really learned (they put me in a boat the first day and told me to go) and I feel like I’m just never going to be good enough. I also feel like, no matter what I do, the coaches will never see me as better than the 5th coxswain even though I feel like I’m better than that and I’ve worked harder than the other coxswains and improved so much.

    I love this sport and the team, but it has become such a negative thing for me. I often feel like shit after practice and I don’t feel valued or needed by the team or coaches. At this point the frustration is exhausting. I’m considering quitting, but I know that I would be ostracized by the team if I did, and I have become really good friends with some of them and don’t want to lose those relationships. Do you have any advice or have you ever been in a similar situation?

    PS I can’t really talk to anyone about this because no one on my team understands, and I don’t feel comfortable addressing my concerns with my coaches because I feel like if they know I’m apprehensive, they’ll permanently “bench” (put me on the launch/kick me off the team) me–it has happened before.

    Please help! Also I love your blog so thank you.

  55. S says:

    OK, so I will preface this saying that I know this was not my best winter, but I have not been working out nearly as much as I should. I’ve had various injuries to work through, but I’m fully cleared now and probably could have been working out more through it. Anyway, I’m pretty nervous with the season coming up that I’m not going to be up to par, so do you have any workout (or other) suggestions to be in better shape for the season? Thanks so much!

  56. Melissa says:

    Hi! So I am in my fourth season of crew, and my second season of coxing. Our season started Monday, and the novices were already on the water. I was not with either of the novice boats that day, but I coxed one today. I found it really difficult to teach them everything. Do you have any advice on how to teach the novices?

    Also, our first race is in 4 or 5 weeks, so the novices need to get the hang of it as soon as possible so that we can get “normal” boats put together. MY boat today was able to row all 8 (6 novices and a 2nd season now and stroke) fairly well. Any and all advice would be super helpful.

    Thanks so much!!! I love your blog- I’ve used it since I started rowing.

  57. May says:

    Hey! I’m a freshman first year varsity female rower at a high school club team. All fall we’ve really only have done 2 land workouts that we do on a weekly basis. Workout #1 is a longer workout that involves running and erging for about an hour and I almost always throw up on this workout no matter how I try to change what I eat/how much fluids I consume. Our practice starts at 3:30 so its not like im working out right after a meal. Workout #2 is a shorter interval/SS workout on the erg and I usually don’t throw up or feel that bad on these workouts. I haven’t actually done that many land workouts since I was part of a boat training for HOCR but since, I always feel really nauseous during/after the workout. Recently, I started feeling sick on the shorter workout #2 and we just did a new 1min sprint interval workout and I felt so bad after. My stomach/throat just felt really acidic and I ended up doing really bad. I never really thought my vomiting was something too serious since it was usually just some water/air and I never threw up last year when we did harder workouts. But now I think it might be something more since it occurs so often. I know that stomach acid is really bad for the throat and I was wondering what foods I should avoid eating, when I should eat/what snacks to eat before practice, and how I should bring it up to my coaches. I’ve already told my parents and I think im going to see my doctor during break. Thank you so much! I love your blog it helped me soo much my novice year!

  58. Collin says:

    I have noticed sometimes when coxing that some of my rowers tend to sort of bang the gate with their oar (Not sure how to fully describe it) and was wondering what are they doing wrong in the stroke and appropriate calls to fix it?

  59. Julie says:

    Hi-Our rowing club in LA is having all sorts of coxbox/wiring issues lately. Weird thing is it’s in different boats and different boxes so I’m wondering if it could be something global like weather. Now, we don’t get that cold compared to other regions but we do row all year and last 3 weeks its been in the upper 40’s/lower 50’s in the early morning. The main symptoms are very low volume throughout the boat or intermittency–all speakers cutting out in middle of row. We did try at least two microphones in one boat this morning. Any ideas??

  60. elizabeth says:

    Hi! I’m a junior in high school and I just moved up to the girls varsity team in September. I was on the novice team for fall and spring of my sophomore year, and I was in the top boat but now since I moved up to varsity the playing field is a lot more competitive, and I am worried about being recruited later this year. I’m also around 5’5 and 140lbs, and I wasn’t sure if I should drop to 135 to be considered for “lightweight” considering my height. I was invited for winter training on our team (just finished our first full week) and I feel like I’m already burning out. My family and I are making over a 40 minute commute to get to practice each day, 6 days a week and I just feel like I cannot get well, my shit together fully. The days are getting shorter and we have practice at 5:45 to 7:45 three days a week and its just a little tough. Mostly I just needed some re-assurance that all this hard work, commuting will be alright and I will get recruited. I was also wondering if its even possible for a 5’5 girl to get into a D1 program in college? I’m also looking at D2 and D3 possibly, but it seems if I want a scholarship D1 is the choice to go. Also i’m taking my SAT’s and ACT’s in about 2-3 weeks and I’m worried that this too late for colleges to see my scores? I heard some girls my age sending them in October for colleges, but I think if I send them in December it’s still pretty early..? And should I shoot some coaches an email now about being interested in their team for the fall of 2017 before I even have my SAT scores? Thank you thank you thank you

  61. Melissa says:

    Hi! I have been told by a collegiate rower that I’m good friends with, that if I want to Cox in college I will probably have to lose about 10 to 12 pounds. And I was told I probably won’t be able to row in college unless I grow, because I am only 5 foot three. As of now I weigh between 125 and 130 depending on the day, and I know it’s not really a problem for me to lose weight. I know I can do it healthily without becoming too thin or anything. Do you have any suggestions on workouts I can do and ways to start eating healthier?

  62. Lou says:

    Hi, I wanted to know if you if you have any advice on goals that you could set yourself. I’m 14 years old and I’m female, I’m 5’9 pushing 5’10 and participate in a lot of sport so I have a tall lean but muscle build. My high school doesn’t have a rowing team so I have joined a club. I really like rowing and I’ve been rowing for about 6 months. My coach is great and I row in a quad, double and single (all scull). I row 4 times a week and I’m starting to become successful, but I want to set myself some goals so I can keep improving. We are going to start gym sessions soon so I was wondering if you have any tips on times or achievements i should aim for?

  63. row914 says:

    Firstly thank you for writing your blog its been really helpful to me!! Secondly I had a question about heavyweight/lightweight in college. Im a lightweight junior and I’m 5’4”. I would love to row D1 in college and it seems that theres a possibility my erg score will become competitive enough to get some attention from open weight programs. What do you think the pros and cons would be of being a smaller person on an openweight team?

  64. aj6761 says:

    Hi, so I have been a rower for 2 years and on my high school rowing team next year there will be a few coxswains leaving because they are seniors. I am making my transition to coxswaining so by next year I will cox. I have tried coxing once and I realized how difficult steering is, I won’t be able to practice steering on an actual boat until spring season in March but how can I practice steering so I will be ready for Spring season? Are there like video games to help steering a boat that I could try? Any recommendations or advice?

  65. Maria says:

    Hi I’ve been recently reading your blog really enjoyed your posts. I have a question ask you. I am in a high school crew and last year was my novice year. I spent the whole fall season rowing and also did winter conditioning, but I hoped I could become a coxswain. About half way through spring my coach realized that we needed a coxswain, and since I was light and eager to cox he used me as coxswain about once a week and I was able to cox four 4+ races, but they were always B boats because I was only the “part-time” coxswain. In the summer I rowed. Then this fall, my first varsity season, all but one of our coxswains, a girl who had coxed the guys novice last year during the spring were gone, participating in other activities. The coaches decided to make me the head girls varsity coxswain and, we’ll call her Maddie, the head boys varsity coxswain. At first I struggled a lot because I had hardly any instruction, and I was basically a novice varsity coxswain. Many of the rowers became exasperated with me. They would talk bad about me in the boat and at the boat house, and they would frequently decide to tap or back seat cox. About two weeks into the season, Sarah, a coxswain who has been coxing for 5 years and just last spring took a lightweight men’s 4+ to Nationals and placed 2nd, returned after being begged by one of our coaches. Instantly my problem became worse and the rowers would compare me to Sarah and wouldn’t take me seriously. Sarah and Maddie became close friends and have been excluding me and telling the rowers I am the worst coxswain to ever exit; they don’t take me seriously and think of me as a rower. The problem has only gotten worse as I’ve improved because Maddie seems to feel threatened by me because we are both in the same grade. So, my question is: how can I gain the respect of my fellow coxswains and the rowers after rowing for a year? Thanks for reading my long question, and I really hope you can answer it and help me gain some respect.

  66. Besss says:

    Hi, do you have nay tips on staying motivated through a long winter? This is my fifth year coxing at high school, and as usual we are heading into a long winter and the girls are doing a ton of small boats stuff. This means i am rarely out on the water coxing (once since May last year, actually). I feel like i’m losing all my motivation, i don’t wan to attend practice as i used to, and dread every session even though i love my team. I really don’t want to be training at the moment but i know if i quit now i will regret it in the summer, thinking about how amazing it was racing at nationals last year, and how much i want to do so again. The summer really is amazing, but at the moment it is too far away to even comprehend!! Obviously the watching them row in smaller boats from a launch can be beneficial but after so many hours it gets a bit tiresome. I know winter isn’t the most enjoyable for rowers either but at least they are developing and improving…..
    I hope this makes sense?! Have you ever felt like this?

  67. Sally says:

    Hello! I was wondering if you had any advice for not panicking during a head race? I’m a novice rower who usually rows stroke in doubles. During practices everything is fine. Mock races are great, good start & ratio & pressure… but during the last 2 actual regattas I started panicking when the head race started and my rate was too fast with no pressure and I felt like it was endless and I couldnt push… it almost felt like I had to give up! Do you had any advice?

  68. Sarah says:

    I am a girl and I recently joined a new club team that has a very small group of girls and a very large group of guys. I started out coxing the novice guys so I know them pretty well and we work well together but recently I was switched to coxing the for girls. I feel like I work better with the guys and would like to go back to coxing for them. How do I approach my coach about this without sounding like I am complaining or being a team player?

  69. Shawn says:

    Hey, quick question: I’m a coxswain on a collegiate club team and lately we’ve been having some issues with sick people missing practices. Our (very old-school) coach’s opinion is unless you’re dying, you’re at practice, but some of my teammates want to stay home if they’re feeling a little sick because they think rowing while sick will make the illness a lot worse and take them out for longer. I’ve also heard that it’s safe to row if the sickness is below the neck but that you should stay home if there’s an issue with the head or throat, but I’m not sure if that’s medically accurate. So I was just wondering, at what point is someone “too sick to row” in your opinion?

  70. Julia says:

    Hi, I love your blog! I just started coxing this year and it has been so helpful and informative so far. My question: for my team’s first regatta this fall, I coxed the 3V which I was pretty proud of considering I’m a novice cox and the 1V and 2V are coxed by upperclassmen. However, for the next regatta, I found out I got moved down to the 4V. I want to know why, and how I can get back in the 3V, but don’t want to annoy my coaches or seem like I’m resentful or overly focused on myself instead of the team as a whole. I’m not super upset by the switch, but I’d really like to be back in the 3V for the spring. Also, I was told to be more “bitchy” in the boat, but I want to make sure I’m constructively assertive and not mean or unnecessarily aggressive. Do you have any suggestions for how to talk to my coaches about this or to get back into a higher boat, or tips for being “bitchy” in a helpful way? Sorry if this question has already been answered!
    Thanks so much!

  71. Catie says:

    Hey, thanks so much for everything you post on this blog. So, on my team I originally told the Girls Coach that I wanted to cox on the boys team when I joined at the beginning of the season, but she asked me multiple times to cox on the girls team instead. The boys and girls teams are super separate – different coaching staffs, different sides of the boathouse, different trailers, different cox boxes – so it isn’t an easy switch from one to the other with one single coach. After doing one season with the girls team, it’s not meshing and I know that I will be more successful on the boys team with my style of coxing. Which coach do I talk to first? The girls coach or the boys coach? How do you suggest I bring it up with them? Thank you so much!

  72. Liv says:

    Hello! I was wondering if you have any tips for when you feel burned out with coxing. I just don’t feel like I’m really doing my best in the boat and I feel like I have rowers who do not appreciate me or all the stress that I’m putting in to be the best I can be. I’m not getting any feedback even though I repeatedly ask for it and just don’t feel like a respectful part of the team and while I love this sport I don’t really know what to do.

  73. Ros says:

    Hello, I’m going to be coxing a mixed four later on in this month and I wondered if you could help me with some head racing Phrases as I’m usually a rower.

    Thanks Ros

  74. Megan says:

    Hey, so this is my second year rowing, and I just wanted to get insight on a coach’s perspecitve on their rowers. Spceically, what qualities does a coach look for in rowers when they are choocising lin-ups. For example, what qualities make a good seven seat compared to bow. Thanks!

  75. M says:


    I’m racing in a 4+ this weekend at HOCR. I have rowed port for the past 2.5 years, but my coach wants to see if I can row starboard and be bow seat. Do you have any advice on making this transition effectively so quickly?

    Thank you!!

  76. Gracie says:

    Hey so I’ve been dealing with a lot this past month. A kid who i went to elementary school with killed himself in a very public way at the start of the month, which was the Friday of preseason at my high school. I am a coxswain for my schools varsity team and ever since he died I’ve been slipping in terms of my coxing skills. My coach hasn’t really noticed much change because this is my first season with her as a coach and we could not get on the water the entire first week of the season due to several factors. All she really has noticed is that I am not as loud this year as I was last year (I was the coxswain who didn’t have a box in the 8 so I got to yell and have everyone on this side of Cambridge heard me during practice…) Unfortunately I do not go to school in my town and no one at my school knows the kids who I grew up with, and when I try and bring up the topic with them, conversations die, because who wants to talk about the death of a kid who they never met.
    I feel like it is really hard for me because last year when a girl from my school died suddenly all sports and activities were canceled for a while and grief counselors were brought in, where as I went directly from hearing of my friends death to coxing a boat the next day. Also during last summer a girl who I played youth sports with died of cancer and it was a tragic even for my towns community where as now, where nobody knows my friend in my current community I feel like no one really cares about it. Yes I have tried talking to a counselor and friends but no one knows him so they don’t really understand.
    I am finding it hard to motivate my self to get out of bed in the morning so how can I motivate my rowers to push them selves during a 2k test or a HOCR piece? I have been thinking about quitting crew but a) it’s just getting to racing season for us and I have no replacement, b) WTF who does that, c) crew is basically a third of my life (my days go school, crew, homework repeat) so if I quit I will end up moaning in my room all the time which is not something I want to take up.
    Do you have any advice? Also PS I am only a sophomore in high school as were all my friends who died… Thanks and sorry this is so depressing.

  77. Andrea Lo says:

    Hi! This is my second year as a coxswain on an girls’ high school team. We just had some novices come in, so they’re relatively new to the sport. I’m worried that I may be too mean/harsh with the rowers. Earlier today, I was coxing a quad back to slings to wash. It is difficult to move the boat from the dock to the slings- there are quite a few poles on the dock and around the slings area. I had already commanded, and the novice girls already had the boat down to shoulders. I’d already told the rowers not to move, and the next thing I hear, one end of the boat had come in contact with a pole (not exactly a crash, but the boat had hit the pole). While the sound wasn’t too loud, I immediately yelled, “I said, DON’T MOVE until I give a command!” I feel like I may have been too mean, but at the time, my only concern was to not wreck the boat. What is your opinion, and how should I effectively take control calmly in this situation?

    If you need more clarification on any detail, please feel free to ask! Thank you!

  78. Anna says:

    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 since 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.

  79. CherryMaria says:

    Hey! Was it like β€˜bro day’ (my coaches words) on the Charles today because there were a bunch of stupid college freshmen guys in singles just basically rowing very badly. Some college must have sent out their novices in unmarked singles. What was happening was a whole bunch of guys in singles rowing steady state from about the Elliot Bridge to the Cambridge Street bridge when we spun and went back down the river. There were two singles who were especially annoying because they were going at the exact same pace as my coxed 4+ and THEY WERE PASSING ON THE INSIDE. I ended up steering us more towards the middle of the river, but still on the right side. I couldn’t get back to the right because one boat was their stern to my bow ball and at the other end of my boat it was the same except in reverse. They then proceeded to row AT EXACTLY THE SAME PACE AS US. The first time I saw them was during the hard right after Elliot bridge when the first guy was attempting to pass me on shore side. I had to yell to him because he was going to crash into me with his bow. (TBH it made me feel really good to yell to him…) I had brought us through the bridge badly so I had my 2 seat drop out (it was a starboard stroked boat) so yeah that was interesting. Also another time I was trying to go under some bridge and the guy on my tail wanted to go through at the exact same time. But I was like β€˜hell no, I’m going for this’ and we both made it through with out crashing. I had to be a tad creative with my steering but you know whatever. The only good thing was that my coach praised me for handling the situation well and not freaking out. Oh and I got some great steering experience. This isn’t really a question I just wanted to rant, so how would you have handled the situation? Or just tell me a story that’s kinda similar maybe? Or do you know if it was β€˜bro day’ and WHOSE β€˜bro day’ it was?

  80. Melissa says:

    Hi! I’m in my 3rd season of crew, seasons 1 and 2 were spent as a rower. I’m 5’3″, 132lbs, and my erg score was 8:43.6 at the end of last season.

    Over the summer, I learned how to cox, and we needed an extra coxswain this season so that’s what I’m doing. I ended up really enjoying it, and I definitely want to stick with it.

    The problem is, when I’m in a bow loader (which is my usual boat it seems) I don’t completely fit in the seat- my legs are too wide. I know over the summer I gained weight, because at the end of last season I weighed closer to 120lbs/125lbs.

    Do you have any advice for workouts I can do/foods to help me (healthily) lose a few pounds?

    Also know that NO ONE on the team has said anything about my weight- I’d like to do this for my personal body image as well as comfort in the already uncomfortable coxswain seat.

    Thank you so much!

  81. Gracie says:

    Hi, I recently was asked by my coach to cox again this season like I did last season and I am really excited. My dad however thinks that coxswains don’t even do anything and they just sit there and yell at people. I keep trying to explain that it is a lot more than that but keep messing up. Do you have any ideas for how to explain what a coxswain does to my dad? Please Help!

  82. Bo says:

    So i just finished my novice year as a rower. I was the shortest on the team but had one of the best 2k’s and was bow seat of the medaling regionals boat. However, now that I am jv and am starting to think about the future I’ve been thinking that my future would be brighter as a coxswain. I’ve never coxed a race but I’ve coxed at practices when needed and I’m pretty decent at it. I am a 15 yr boy and about 5’5 and i really am not sure what i should do. I know that I could row lightweight but I feel like i have a much better chance in the future like varsity and college as a coxswain. I love rowing and coxing though. My question is how would you recommend making a decision about switching to coxing or to keep rowing?

  83. Luke says:

    Hi, I’ve heard people talking about builder 15s but im not quite sure what those are. Do you think you could clarify upon what those are? Thanks.

  84. Lucie says:

    Do US universities (Ivy League in particular) offer scholarships/ part-scholarships for coxes? (similar to the rowing scholarships) if that makes any sense? Would selection for national team representation make a scholarship more realistic or likely? I’m from the UK and would LOVE to come study at a US university if I was able to get a scholarship of some sort. Also, have you heard of any universities that have previously offered scholarships to coxes?

  85. Brooke says:

    Hi! Love your blog! I was just wondering if you have any tips as far as steering a buoyed course and what to do during the first strokes of the race if for some reason the rowers’ powers are uneven and the boat gets lodged towards one direction. Thank you!

  86. Catie says:

    Hi! I just started coxing a novice summer competitive program after rowing for one year at a different club. There are four coxswains, and it was originally three with the girls coach and one with the boys coach, because there are three girl coxswains and one boy coxswain. The team usually has boys cox boys and girls cox girls, but the boys coach has recently been having me cox the boys too and he keeps implying that he would want me to cox boys in the fall. Problem is, I weigh in between 99 and 103lbs depending on the day, so I’m a bit too far under the boys’ weight minimum. I’m comfortable at my weight, but should I consider putting on a bit of weight to cox in general or is that weight usually fine for coaches? Thanks so much!

  87. claresstory says:

    Question: Our (predominantly) Masters club rows out of a college boathouse and we have been fortunate enough over the years to have some of their coxes cox for us over the summer. Now it seems we need to β€œgrow our own” as the college rowers are less available and the subject of a coxswain clinic has come up. Do you have any suggestions about how to structure this clinic? Thanks!

  88. Rose says:

    Hi!! I’m 5′ 2” and I’ve been rowing all throughout middle school. I don’t think I’m going to grow anymore. Can I still be a successful rower in high school?

  89. Sophie says:

    Hi, your blog is really helpful! I have a kind of strange question, but should female rowers wear anything under their uni/trou? Thank you so much!

  90. Remi says:

    Hi! So I’m going to youth nationals soon and the minimum weight is 110 lbs. I know that I’ll need weight, 8 or 9 lbs. What kind of weights are best to use and where can I get them? Thanks!

  91. Madison says:

    Hello! I finished my last race of the season yesterday, and my coach and I were talking about what I can do to benefit the rowers more next season. She said that I need to have a couple of calls that come from my deep belly of coxing abilities, that the crews recognize as “shit gets done” calls. She gave the example of “hit the last nail into their coffin” and said that that was too extreme for my team, but that I needed something equivalent to that to finish out close races with. Do you have any favorites? or any good recordings I should listen to? thanks so much!!!

  92. Catie says:

    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!

  93. Gracie says:

    Hey! Our eight boat leaks really badly but there are no recognizable holes or scratches so the bottom of the boat fills up with about three inches of water at the end of every practice, making it really heavy and hard to get out of the water. Also it’s a really old boat so it is really heavy as it is. The group that rows in that boat is made up of entirely high school freshmen girls who are new to the sport of rowing either during the fall season or even as soon as three weeks ago. Our coach really wants us to learn how to carry the boat with only 8 people but it is nearly impossible, even for the varsity girls. is it justified for us to ask for a couple more people to help lift and carry it? And is there any way to fix a boat where nothing seems to be wrong? Thanks!

  94. Grace says:

    I am in my second year of coxing and i am really looking to improve my tone. I am not sure how i should be speaking, i like to stay calm but i dont think im being confident enough.

  95. Nicole @ pink elephant on parade says:

    I’m not exactly the target audience (I’m a recreational rower for a year and just started coxing full time for a novice masters’ team) but thank you for being the coxing coach I desperately needed. From running drills to the look of shock on our coach’s face when I said I carried a 7/16ths wrench and hardware for rigging and foot stretchers on me because it was in your list of what a cox’s bag should have, we’re all benefiting immensely.

  96. Kevin says:

    Great playlists. I saw that you publish them on Spotify and also have that Google Spreadsheet. Might I suggest having a “RAR Archives” playlist on Spotify to serve as storage for all of the playlists?

    • beantownkmd says:

      Thanks Kevin! Creating an “ultimate” playlist on Spotify is one of those things that keeps getting pushed down on my to-do list. I’m slowing working my way through the first 43 playlists that are on YouTube (but not on Spotify) and hope to finish adding the rest of the ones on Spotify sometime soon. It’s my go-to project when I want to procrastinate on other stuff but I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t spent much time on it. I’m hoping to be done with it in the next week or two though so keep an eye out for it!

  97. Luke says:


    I was just wondering if there is a way to control the stroke rate when coxing. Usually the crew is too fast. Are there certain things that I should say? Thanks.

  98. Gracie says:

    Hey! I love your blog.
    I have a couple (4) of quick questions.
    1) I have been rowing bow (port) in our starboard stroked bow-loader four boat. When ever we start to row and get to the drive part of the stroke my left ankle keeps cramping up and I was wondering if you had any way to stop this from happening?
    2) Like I said before, I row bow and because our coxswain doesn’t have a cox box, nobody but me can hear her when she is facing forward (the way she is supposed to be looking) so she often turns towards us and the coach keeps telling her to turn around, but then the problem is that nobody can hear her. The girl who coxed this boat last season was really good at projecting her voice but the new cox is not. Do you have any advice for her?
    3) I was looking at your what to wear blog posts and I was wondering what you think rowers should wear in the rain?
    4) I hate running, I always cramp up two steps in and can’t breath by the thirty second mark. My coach is really into running and running stairs. I don’t want to be that person who doesn’t run with everybody else because I don’t like it, but do you have any advice about making running less painful?
    5) What is a good snack to have right before practice if it starts at 3 or 4 and goes till 6, but lunch is at 11:30? I always get so hungry right in the middle of pieces!
    Sorry this is so long! Thanks!

  99. Ella says:

    If I am 5’5 and 115 lbs, but bound to keep growing because I am a freshman in high school is it worth it to keep coxing girls? I have coxed for a couple months, and I absolutely loved it. I was thinking I could keep coxing girls for a couple years and then maybe switch to boys if I get to tall/heavy. Would be better to row? I really really love coxing, especially for races, but I would like to do something that I can continue through high school, and I don’t know if coxing is it.

  100. Katie says:

    My team has been working on our starts and sprints for our races coming up. One thing that I have noticed is that we have a really difficult time hitting our rates for our high strokes. We usually hit between 34-35, but we are supposed to be in the upper 30s, maybe even 40.
    Any suggestions for how to hit these rates?

  101. Connie says:

    Got 2 very different questions:
    1) How would you describe the difference between a good men’s coxswain and a good women’s coxswain?
    2) I’m going to be head of coxswains this fall — we call the position the Cox-Coach. So I’ll be in charge of cox education, both for novices and varsity.
    I’m already asking for input from our current coxswains and rowers, but here’s my question for you: ideally, what would week one look like in the training of a novice college coxswain (before ever going out on the water), and what are specific ways to help continue coxswain education long term?

  102. cherrymaria says:

    I was a coxswain for the fall season for high school novice crew because I was coming off surgery but I ended up falling in love with coxing. My rowers (one in particular) told me off a couple times for not doing anything and I talked to her about it and she stopped after I started doing the erg workouts with the team. I did the workouts with the rest of the team before we got on the water this spring but then my coach told me that I was too tall to be a coxswain any more. I am 5’3-5’4isn but I am still growing. I kind of want to go back to coxing but I don’t know how to tell my coach that, and I don’t want to take the possibility of coxing a boat away from anybody else.

  103. Carol says:

    What are some “rhythmic calls” you use? I know ones such as hook, send and catch, send but I was wondering what others are used.

  104. Juan says:

    Hi! I am a High School senior lightweigh rower who recently got back from injury and I 2k-tested a couple of days ago in which I pulled a 6:50 (my pr is 6:48) and I am really looking forward to lower down my 2k. I heard doing a lot of ss is good but my question is when is a lot of ss is not good? Because I don’t want to overtrain my body. I am also planning in doing ss everyday so I would like to know what type of workouts would work ?

  105. Anonymous says:

    My coach who used to cox used the phrase “tuck up those finishes” when we were out on the water and I was wondering what that meant?

  106. Katie says:

    Hey! I’m currently a sophomore in high school and I really want to get recruited into a D1 or D2 college rowing program. I’ve been rowing for 3 years and the only problem is my height. I’m 5’3-5’4. My best 2k time is 7:44.2 and I plan on dropping about 14 seconds by senior year.
    My coach said that I have really long reach. How much is my height going to hinder me from getting recruited? Will I be better off switching to coxing?

  107. Allyson says:

    Hey! I am a women’s coxswain. I weigh like 116ish pounds depending on the day. I want to lose a couple pounds, and I know I can do it healthily. The problem is that I can’t find a way to lose it. I eat very healthily and I exercise pretty regularly, but I always stay around the same weight. Any suggestions?

  108. Isabelle says:

    Hi, I have never experienced rowing before and I would like to be a coxswain. I’ve done a little bit of research on what a coxswain does. I would like to know what you think is expected at tryouts.

  109. Gavry says:

    Hi – I was wondering what you thought about motivating rowers outside of practice, such as making healthy choices or attending practice more often. Sometimes when I try this I feel pretentious or nosy, and even though I have respect from my teammates in the boat and at practice, they might not take me seriously or say something along the lines of, “thanks Coach”. Thanks for any advice.

  110. Brooke says:

    Hi, I’m a first year junior girls light weight rower for my school team and I would like to eventually become a coxswain. Right now I weight 119 lbs & I’m 5’3.8 feet tall. My coach used to be a coxswain, and she’s not the most approachable person so she’s not someone I want to talk to about this yet. I can afford to lose weight, but what do you recommend ? Should I just stay a rower?

  111. ignorethepain112 says:

    Hey there, I am going into my second year as a coxswain (I cox boys novice). I feel like I could be more enjoyable in the boat. Don’t get me wrong the boys and I have fun all the time but I also don’t want to upset my coach by talking to the guys and having in with them and stuff. I feel like there is no way I can have fun and be an enjoyable coxswain for the guys while still getting my job done.
    Also I have started a note book to write things down in for practice and regattas, any tips about what to write in it and good calls to make?

  112. Kate says:

    So I had a really bad coach this fall (who got fired so she’s gone now, thank god) but after a particularily windy practice, she proceeded to yell at me for telling ports to row with pressure/vice versa because my something got caught in my rudder and my steering didn’t work. She said that if we were going fast enough, our boat would go naturally straight. I’m just curious as to if her her comment was accurate. (btw, on this day, it was windy, there was a current, and the water was whitecapping). Thanks!

  113. Monica says:

    How do you deal with running out of things to say in a long head race (4000m+)?I don’t know what to say so i eiher repeat myself endlessly or go quiet and then say something stupid :P???

  114. Sara says:

    Hi I am a rower who recently developed some unknown sickness which long story short means I cannot do any workouts of value and am losing speed by the second. I’ve always been a top rower on my team and trained really hard to stay there. I’ve never been the one on the sidelines and it is really frustrating watching people beat my times and know that I can’t do anything to get better. Basically I’m just wondering if you have any advice on how to not get so upset when I’m watching myself lose all of this training time as I try to figure out what is wrong with me.

  115. Kits says:

    Hey, so I recently moved from the US to the UK and decided to continue coxing at an elite program because I loved it so much in the US and I’m proud of how hard I’ve worked to get this far (I just started crew a year and a half ago and was absolutely terrible at first), but now I just feel so frustrated. Half the commands are different, their technique and practices are different, and I feel like everything I learned is now wrong. I get little to no feedback from the coaches (and I have asked), and the only thing the rowers really ever tell me is not to do something after I’ve already messed it up–which is helpful, but also hard after awhile because I feel like all I am doing is making mistakes. At this point, I honestly don’t understand why I’m still in the top boat- I think it’s something to do with how eligibility is run differently here, not because I deserve it at all- and I haven’t enjoyed a practice or felt like I’ve done well in months. How do I get better? Do you have any tips for transitioning to UK crew?

  116. Amy says:

    I am currently a senior in high school and have been rowing for a while. If I am interested in walking on to a team in the fall, should I fill out the questionnaire on the website?

  117. Alex says:

    Hi, I was wondering about coxing brand new novices. I’m in boats right now where most, if not all, people are still learning how to row and working on figuring out technique so I haven’t been making very many calls other then if the balance if terrible or if people aren’t rowing together because my coach is talking individually to people to work on body form and things I can’t see. I feel bad about not saying very much, but I don’t want to interrupt the coach or focus on things not important right now. Other than steering straight and paying attention to explanations for correcting form, what should I be doing to improve my coxing?

  118. LIz says:

    I emailed the coach of a college I’m interested in about two weeks ago and she hasn’t emailed me back yet. I’m going to look at the school in a week and I’d like to meet up with her. Would it be worth sending her another email or should i just drop it?

  119. Madi says:

    So today we did some 30 second watt tests. I pulled a 305 on my first one and a 322 on my second one, and my assistant coach flipped out and is now obsessed with me becoming a rower. I guess I trust her judgement but I’m having a hard time with that idea. First of all, I hate the monotony or rowing. I’ve done it enough to hate it. The other coxs on my team are super type B and just don’t have good enough focus to make any calls. I’ve also almost exclusively coxed for two years a this is going to be a hard transition ( a junior in HS, 5’5″, 129 lbs). ALSO CAN 30 seconds really tell her anything? Really? Anyone can do anything for 30 seconds, and I’m not so sure that me being able to bang out 30 seconds will translate to a 2k very well. Thoughts? Thanks!

    • Madi says:

      some more details that are helpful: I wouldn’t be the 4th person or the 8th person the coach needs to make up a boat. (I’d probably be the first or second alternate) I’m head cox now, and I haven’t really rowed since I was a freshman. Do you have any idea what is going through her head? is she just trying to psych me out so I cox harder in the spring?

  120. Marcy says:

    I am a senior in high school and have been rowing for about 8 months. I was wondering if I should fill out the recruiting questionnaires if I plan on walking on to a rowing team next year.

  121. Catie says:

    What is your opinion on weight-adjusted erg scores? I’m about 105lbs and 5’1″ so due to obvious height disadvantages, my erg scores are a bit higher than other lightweights on my team. There is an older girl on my team who is older and a “worse” erg score, but she has the seat in the ltwt 8+. Would you suggest switching to coxing? I asked my coach about it at the end of the fall season since our team is going to be short on coxswains at the end of the year, but she was trying to avoid the topic. Any suggestions?

  122. Alex says:

    Hi! I’ve been rowing for four years and recently I’ve been getting some sort of tendonitis in my forearms: the forearm swells up a little and it feels very stiff and it is very painful to row with. This usually happens when I’m in a single or a double, but it has happened before in an eight and a quad. It has never happened to me so often, last year I got this twice throughout the season, but it went away the same day. I’ve talked to my coach and he said I might be gripping too much with my fingers, I’ve changed my grip since then and it was fine for a few weeks, however over the course of this week, it has come back and I’m not sure what I am doing wrong. I know its caused when I row long distances and when my forearms tense at the catch, but I don’t think that there is any other way to row (without tensing the forearms at the catch), when I relax my arms I end up pulling more with my fingers. As far as I’m aware, no one else in my crew has this although some say that they have had it before, but very rarely. I was just wandering if you had any tips for correcting my stroke if it is what is causing this? Thank you.

  123. McKenzie Cameron says:

    So I’m the most experienced coxswain on my juniors team, and was asked to cox a master’s eight. It isn’t a racing boat or anything. Some of the masters just wanted to try sweep. The thing is both of my coaches and a few of the board members for the juniors team will be in the boat, as will my dad. I’m afraid that if I mess up, or if my coach isn’t a fan of my style, it could affect boat placement going into spring. Any advice?

  124. Tom says:

    Hi, this is a great resource, thanks for devoting so much time to it. I’m coxing a 5km head race in the UK in a couple of weeks. I’ve raced it before, and am feeling quite confident. One thing I’m unsure of is how best to call the end of a power twenty. Our race plan is to push for twenty at the end of each kilometre. I don’t want to call down pressure at the end of the push, to avoid a sharp drop off in boatspeed, but neither do I want not to call anything, and have my crew pushing for longer than the twenty I’ve asked for. Any help you could offer would be great – thanks!

  125. KatieL says:

    Hi, this is quite important as I have a race tmr, sorry it’s short notice and i completely understand if you don’t have time to answer this.
    Anyways i have taken my CoxBox home to charge before the race (as usual). I plug it in and it says 46% battery, 5 mins later it’s at 100%, so I switched it on and off to double check and it goes back to 46% or lower. I need as much charge in as possible as it’s a long race, and we’ll be on the water for 2+ hours. I don’t know how to fix it! I have tried also leaving it on charge all day and night, but again the same thing happens, (It goes to 100% then when taken off charge back down to 46% or less) It’s always roughly the same number it goes back down to. Sorry if it doesn’t make much sense… bit stressed!!! πŸ™‚

  126. Lily says:

    I’m a female rower, and I’ve expressed to my coaches that I want to become a coxswain earlier in the season. Our team has a small shortage of coxes. I know that they haven’t forgotten and I rowed all through fall, but now that the fall racing season is over, I’m wondering if I should bring it up again or wait until they say something?

  127. Kathy says:

    I chose not to go through the recruiting process but I am interested in walking on to a team next fall.
    I am still deciding between a couple schools and I was wondering if it would it be worth it to email the coaches about walking on?
    Thanks for everything you do!

  128. Shawn says:

    Hey, thanks for answering everyone’s questions on your blog! It is a really nice thing to do for the younger generation of rowers. Anyway, I’m a varsity coxswain on a student-run college club team and I’m getting to be fairly concerned about my 7-seat, who is the Team President. He handles almost all the administrative work for both the men’s and women’s side and in addition, he has to liaison with the university’s Rec Sports department, organize all the outside workouts, make the regatta travel plans, et cetera, et cetera. He spends hours and hours on the team every day, and this is on top of a really tough biology major too.

    Although he puts on a brave face in public I feel like he’s starting to crack under the pressure. He’s a really nice person but his patience is just becoming shorter, he seems exhausted, and apparently his classes aren’t going well- he’s already to the point where he’s sure he’s failed one and is going to have to retake it next semester. I’m just a freshman, new to the team, and he’s a senior so I don’t want to step out of line. At the same time, however, I don’t want to watch a teammate become overwhelmed as a result of rowing and not do anything. If I talk to the coaches or directly confront him about delegating some of the workload I feel like it might be embarrassing, or come off like I’m questioning his leadership. I don’t want to start any drama this early in my college rowing career but I don’t really see any other options to help the situation. What should I do?

  129. Madi says:

    This can be super quick, but there’s a girl on my team who is starting to try to bully other girls off the team. I’m one of the captains, and there’s a girl who’s a sophomore who is very dedicated to the team and the sport, but recently has had a lot of other obligations. She still makes it to practice when she can, and works her butt off when she does. This second girl thinks that since the sophomore isn’t coming to practice as often as she is, that she “doesn’t deserve to be on the team and might as well never come back because I don’t want to see you at practice again.” This is obviously not OK. I’m worried to approach the girl because I’m sure she’ll twist my words and go back to the coach. I’m worried to approach the coach, because I think she’ll probably tell me that it’s my responsibility to make sure the sophomore is at practice. Am I making way too big of a deal over this? I haven’t been captain for very long, and I’m obviously new to this whole “team responsibility” thing.

  130. P says:

    Hi Kayleigh,

    My team has demoed a couple types of boat makers this fall and I was wondering which boats you think are the best?

  131. Maddie says:

    What are some good team bonding exercises to do at practice? Our novices are moving up to varsity and we are looking for ways to bring the two groups together.
    Thanks! Love your blog!

  132. R.C says:

    So this is my first year being a coxswain and i’m pretty young( not going to specify). We have just started the season for regattas and I was wondering if you have any advice on what to call during a race with a novice crew? When we are just practising I don’t really call much because our coaches like to come out on speed boats and help. Also what kind of weights do you take in the boat with you because at the last regatta we have had some problems with weights changing before and after the races which meant we got disqulified.

  133. Kalyn says:

    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!!

  134. Nick says:

    The other day our coach had all of us move our foot stretchers all the way forward on the tracks. I was wondering what the benefit of doing this is?

  135. Taylor H. says:

    Hi. This is my first year being a coxswain ever and also my first year rowing for my college team. Our first race is this weekend on the Willamette. Any words of advice for someone who’s never done this before?

  136. Christina says:

    Hi, this is my third year rowing and I am currently a freshman. I started rowing in 7th grade and loved it in middle school, but now as I enter the high school team (it is a club team) I am realizing that I am a lot smaller than other girls. I am currently 5’2 and about 105 in weight. i have mentioned to my coach that i want to cox, and she shuts me down every time i ask. (my team is really low on coxswains too) but my question is what should i do? should i finish fall as a rower then start coxing in spring? thanks!

  137. Catie says:

    How do you beach launch? It’s going to be my first regatta and I haven’t beach launched yet. My coach isn’t showing any signs of teaching me. Is it similar to regular launching off the dock? Thanks!

  138. Courtney says:

    I have decided not to go through the recruiting process but am going to a college that has a D1 team. What would they think of a walk on with rowing experience?

  139. Kate says:

    Hey, so I’m the head varsity cox on my high school team and my coaches have never really paid attention to my weight. I’m really muscular from our strength program at school and I’m also a swimmer. However, I’m physically fit and am short (5’0″). But since I’m really muscular, I weigh a good 15 pounds over the minimum of 110. We just got 2 new assistant coaches who come from collegiate programs and I’m worried that they’ll ask about my weight and then pull me out of the coxing position. But I don’t think its physically healthy and possible for me to get down to 110 or 115. I don’t want to be put in the humiliating position of not being able to cox and do what I love because of my body type. What do I do?

  140. Ellen says:

    I am in a very difficult position right now with my new team. There are a couple girls on the team who are very (and I mean incredibly) conceited, cocky, and sassy. They think that they are always right, so whenever they make a mistake they try to blame it on me, or the coach does not see (or want to believe that it is anyone other than my own fault), I get in trouble. Every time I get yelled at I lose a chance to make a competitive boat and have to be in the launch. I understand that sometimes it is my own fault and that the coxswain does have to take responsibility for the boat, but when these girls are not listening to me and when they do their own thing and I get in trouble and they don’t it gets really frustrating. I even tell them they need to listen and become stern with them when my job requires me to, but nothing is working.

    Also, I know typically in situations like this one you would go talk to your coach about it and have them help you. However, I do not know what to do when even your coach hates the coxswains. Yes, he puts a lot of responsibility on us because that is our job, but he doesn’t always keep us in the loop and then gets mad when we do not know what is going on, he never answers our questions then gets mad if we mess up, and he is just plain rude without giving us any constructive criticism.

    I know this sounds awful, because trust me, it is, I just need advice! Hopefully you can help me out even a little!

    Thank you!

  141. Krista says:

    I went on an official visit about two weeks ago. I am very interested in this school but I am still looking at some other schools (that don’t have rowing). I want to keep up a relationship with this school but I’m not sure what to say in an email to them.

  142. Remi says:

    All of the 4s on my team are bow loaders. We have 2 boats that we use mostly for lightweight lineups because they’re a bit smaller so I fit pretty well in the coxswain seat. But lately Ive been in one of the other shells and I’ll probably be racing in it for most of this year. The bow is longer than in the other boats. The headrest is all the way up but there’s there’s still a lot of room between my feet and the end of my seat. To keep myself from sliding around I realized My entire body ends up getting really tense (which is probably not good). I’ve also noticed that for a few days after being in a 4+ both my hips hurt every time I take a Step or try to lift my leg. Do you have any tips for fixing that problem?

  143. Madi says:

    Hey! I’m the head cox on my team now (im a junior in HS) and I’m packing my very first fanny pack. Right now I have electrical tape, a 7/16 wrench and a vespoli tool. Do you have any recomendations about what else should go inside? Also, I’m looking to buy a voice recorder. Obviously I want one on the cheaper side but it also obviously needs to be good. Any recomendations on that? Thanks so much!!

  144. Ellie says:

    So I’m the only coxswain on my school team, because we’re a really small team (Varsity 4 and Novice 8) and last spring I would do all of the land workouts with them, including erging. This year, (my sophomore year) my coach has been having me cox them on the ergs and it’s really helping my coxing. However, some of my low varsity/head novice rowers (they’ve only done one season) seem to think that this is unfair, and are convinced that I don’t do anything. How do I react to this? Also, one of my novice rowers has a really bad attitude about rowing, and I’ll try to push her on the ergs but she says that she doesn’t care about her split. She’ll just tell me to stop trying cause her split won’t go down. When we’re in the boat (5 seat) she’s constantly complaining so loud that I can hear her and it’s distracting the rowers. What do I do? Thank you so much, I literally wouldn’t survive without this blog!

  145. Noelle says:

    My coach has started setting boats and she didn’t place me in one. I am a novice coxswain, but am the second most experienced on the team due to other coxswains going to college. Another girl that joined about a month ago has been set to cox the guys varsity boat and girls JV 4+ of our club. She does weight less than me, (she weighs 110 and I weigh 120), but I was originally set with the lightweight girls boat so I don’t think weight is a huge concern. My coach switched some lineups around and I have been left without a boat. I have talked to her and my team has talked to her about placing me in a boat but nothing has changed. It seems as if she is trying to avoid placing me in a boat. Any ideas why this may be or what else I can do to be placed with a boat?

  146. Aria-May says:

    Heeey so at the moment we’re doing a lot of work on the finish, and the release.
    But, i am struggling to come up with calls that really work i have a few basic ones, but not many so i find myself repeating the over and over and over and over….

    So, do you have any calls for technique at the finish and release that i could borrow or modify to suit my crew??
    TY x

  147. Kelly says:

    I’m a first-year varsity rower in high school and am going into the fall racing season. I am the smallest rower on my team (5’3″ and 122lbs) and I know I want to become a coxswain later in my rowing career, such as in college or later in high school. Would it be better to make the transition to a coxswain as soon as possible or wait for a year or two?

  148. Remi says:

    Our assistant coach is not here this season and won’t be back until winter training. So our head coach introduced a new assistant coach earlier this week. Everytime she tries to correct someone’s form she says it in a way that sounds really mean and negative. After our last piece today our head coach gave us some feedback and told us what he though was good and what could be improved. After he went to the other 8 she came over and told us we were “rediculous and mediocre”. The other coxswains and te rowers on my team feel like she’s being way to negative and it’s making everyone feel awful. Sorry that was really long, I just want to know how To handle that kind Of coach.

  149. Annelise says:

    Why do coaches put out mixed crews for races? Don’t they want us to win?
    Your blog is AMAZING!! You have helped so much, thanks! πŸ™‚

  150. Olivia h says:

    Do you have any tips about getting back into the swing of coxing after taking the whole summer vacation off? I’ve had 8 weeks off and although when i get back onto the water in a week i was wondering if there was anything i should do in advance?

  151. Ashley says:

    I have been coxing for 4 years in High School and originally loved it however the past years I have slowly started to dread the practices to the extent that I would fake sick just so I wouldn’t have to go. I find that as I am becoming a higher level coxswain (Junior National Team and now a University Recruit) that rowing is no longer a hobby for my fellow crew mates, that it is their life. I don’t think I would ever be able to have that level of commitment as rowing has started to lose all of the joy that it once brought me and has become more of a nuisance than anything else. I am now starting University Training Camp and don’t know whether I should quit or not. I have never quit at something before in my life however I just truly get no joy out of it anymore and it just makes me very tired and depressed. I also just cannot really relate with my teammates and their lifestyles as all of them are Arts students with light course loads while I am in a very competitive Commerce program and in addition many of them thrive on “rowing drama” and are rather catty and competitive. Don’t get me wrong, the thrill of coxing a race is still one of the greatest things ever for me however I don’t know if I can handle all the rest. What do you suggest? I wish to tell the coaches as early as possible if I am not continuing as I do not want to inconvenience them…

  152. Mara says:

    I’m still new to rowing and I was wondering about regattas. How much does the busing and hotels or housing usually cost? I know my parents would help with paying but I’m scared that it might be to expensive for them.

  153. Lizzy says:

    I’m about to enter my second season of coxing with my high school. In the spring, late in the season, my coach put me in a new lineup of novice girls, just like me and, just out of coincidence, we worked really well. We kept that boat until the end of the season and at the last regatta we even placed second, which was huge for our club, which is still really young, and our confidence. After finding out yesterday that all four girls are returning for fall crew, I’ve become obsessed with winning. I know the girls can do it, but is there anything I can do to help us? I think we need to get together and train outside of practice, but I don’t know how to go about doing that, especially for the long-distance races that we’ll face for the first time. I don’t want to seem whiny or annoying if I try to set something up with all of us, but I have to feel like I’m bringing something to this boat.

  154. Courtney says:

    What is the best way to deal with people leaving your team? I have talked with a couple of my teammates lately and they have told me that they are not returning to the team this coming fall. I want to be supportive of their decision, but I’m still upset.
    Any advice?

  155. Leslie says:

    Hi! So I recently started rowing not to long ago, as I just did two weeks of long skinny boat camp. But as I was rowing I kept getting told not to over compress at the catch. Also to relax my shoulders. I am short, only 4’11 and I talked to the coach about coxing(my sister is a captain)in high school and he wants me to row first. Do you have any tips I can take from the rowing. Also how not to over compress at the catch? Thanks! I love your blog!

  156. Emily says:

    Hi! I am moving onto my fourth year coxing and I am a bit worried if I am getting too tall and/or heavy to cox?? I know the club’s guidelines are quite strict but i was just wondering what you thought! I am 5 ft 4 inches and weigh 105lbs (48KG)? For most of our races the minimum weight is roughly 99 lbs (45KG) I am the same height as most of the rowers but have fallen in love with coxing!
    Btw your blog is so useful and the recordings are really helpful! πŸ™‚

  157. Liam Ryan says:

    I’m kind of confused looking over the USRowing Rules. Can you please give a summary of what I should know? Thank you, I really appreciate it.

    Your blog is an amazing resource I wish I found out about earlier than I did. Thanks for all you do.

  158. Mike says:

    I just got the confirmation that I’ll be coaching Juniors for the fall! I’m so excited, but nervous at the same time. I was wondering if you had any tips on effective coaching (or at least tips on staying patient, which I’m afraid will be my issue)? Thanks so much! Your blog has helped me out quite a bit lately

  159. Alex says:

    I am going on an official visit in the next couple months. The only thing I’m worried about is my guide. I am a really shy person and I have heard of people being taken to parties and I really don’t want to end up in that situation.

  160. Skylar says:

    Hey! I’m a High School Cox and I attended a College Crew Camp this week. One of the rowers that was assigned to my boat would deem my coxing as ‘terrible’ and would yell out in the middle of pieces- and not just stuff like “C’mon!” as some girls do, no she tried to call her own power-10s- Right after I would call a power 10. Do you know how to interact with rowers like that? I wanna try to be polite and not some one totally rude and mean, I wanted to say something like “If your able to talk on the boat your not pulling full pressure!” In case this ever happens again, any tips for dealing with over-bearing Rowers who think they should cox?

  161. Katie says:

    I am going into my senior year as a rower and am looking at colleges. One college that I’m really interested in only has a club team. Do you think they would let me be a coxswain even though I have only ever been a rower? I am 5’4 and around 125 lbs.

  162. Shannon says:

    Hey! I cox a HS women’s bow loader 4+ and after looking over some footage from our past regattas, my coach noticed that many rowers are “missing water” and not getting the oars enough behind them enough at the catch to produce a maximum length and power stroke every time. She asked me to try to make calls and to focus on things that will help get the length behind them, and also to have them think about rotating out towards their rigger at the catch. Would you be able to clear what she means up for me, and possibly demonstrate the way something like this would be called? Thanks!

  163. Katherine says:

    Is there anyway to ask you more personal questions? Like ones that won’t appear on the site because they use names or places?

  164. Maddie says:

    I just wanted to let you know how awesome you are and how much I appreciate everything you do. I know I can always come here whenever I need help because there will be an answer to solve my problem in no time. Your blog is perfect!

  165. LIz says:

    My coach mentioned that the NCAA recently changed it’s rules about when you could contact college coaches from after your junior year to after your sophomore year. Do you know anything about this? All I could find was about basketball…
    Anyways, any information would be great. Thanks!

  166. Hannah says:

    How involved should my coach be in the recruiting process? I know it sounds bad but I haven’t really talked to him at all about this.

  167. Nicole says:

    When a coach asks “What should I know about you?” or “Tell me what me about yourself.”, what should you say? I was asked this question and completely froze because I had no idea how to respond.
    Please help! I want to be prepared next time.

  168. Sarah says:

    I was looking at the NCAA rules for recruiting and I was confused by one of them and was hoping you could explain it to me. I am a rising senior so it is now acceptable for the coaches to call me, but I was reading the rules and it said that they could only call you once a week. I had a coach call me but I didn’t have my phone so he left a message. Does that count as the one call for the week? (btw I tried calling back but he didn’t answer so I left a message.)

  169. Madison says:

    So…. I’m 5’6 and I weigh 132. I really like coxing, and I suppose I could lose weight, but right now I only feel comfortable going down to about 125 (because of my shape and where my weight is distributed). I don’t really like rowing, but that may be because I can’t keep up with some of the girls on my team that I get paired with, I don’t like sweeping (but I LOVE sculling), I’m embarrassed by my painfully, horribly slow 2k, etc. etc. Basically what I’m saying is I’m in a huge rut because I’m too big to cox but too small to row well, but I’ve fallen in love with everything about the sport. What do you think I should do? Oh, I forgot to mention, I LOVE coxing. (lol, i’m not just a random person that doesn’t do anything)

  170. Catherine says:

    I am very shy and talking to college coaches is super intimidating to me. I really want the chance to row in college and I don’t want my shyness to get in the way.

  171. Mary says:

    I am going to be a senior and I have been looking at this one school that I could potentially row for. I have spoken with the coaches via email and I really love the school. The head coach seems to be interested in me but the thing is I am not tallest or strongest rower on my team and I am worried that I won’t be able to live up to the expectations of the college coach or college rowing in general.

  172. joel413 says:

    At Masters’ Regionals this weekend we were having a discussion on if it is important for coxswains to have time rowing. Not just on the Erg, but on the water as well. What do you think?

  173. Anna says:

    I am about average height for a rower but I have really small feet (like a size 6) and almost all of the shoes in the boats we have are size 12. Some I am able to tighten so it’s not too bad but in some of our older eights and fours its almost impossible. There have been several times when my feet have come out because they are not secure. Do you have any ideas of how to fix this?

  174. JJ says:

    Hi! I’m finishing my junior year in high school, and I know it’s quite late for me, but after my past spring season I’ve decided that I want to cox in college. I’m uncertain about a couple things in the process though.

    First off, I emailed the head coach for my top choice college, and he emailed back that he would share the email with his recruitment coordinator, his assistant coach, to answer all my questions. So when I email coaches from now on, should I just always email the assistant coach?

    For another college, they don’t have an assistant coach listed, but they have a novice coach. Should I email them over the head coach?

    And lastly, what are some good things for a coxswain to include in those emails?

  175. Anonymous says:

    I was wondering what I should wear on unofficial or official visits? I know you had already wrote something about it but it was more for winter. Do you have any suggestions for what to wear in warmer weather?

  176. Amelia-Rose says:

    Hi there!!
    So I am a junior school (Under 14’s) cox and we have moved into using bowloader quads, instead of the usual sternloaders we used to use. We have been racing in an Octo for a while, so I am a bit out of practice with the quads. Anyways, in the bowloader, I obviously have a very restricted field of vision, so I was wondering if you had any tips on “reading” or “feeling” the boat, to pick up on faults e.t.c ??? Also I sometimes feel like I stay quite for too long, during steady state if there are no obvious technical calls, rate calls, or rhythm calls. Is there anything that I can say to make it a bit less silent, and awks for the Rowers?

  177. erika says:


    I’m currently a coxswain on a collegiate team. Do you have any tips on finding opportunities to practice my coxing this summer? I have no idea how to find clubs or rowers or what the best way is to go about searching. Thanks in advance!

  178. Anon says:

    Hey! This isn’t exactly about rowing but I was hoping you could help. So I have been emailing with a college coach a little bit and I am supposed to call him this week. The only thing is I get really nervous when I talk on the phone so I am really nervous about calling him. Do you have any advice about talking to college coaches on the phone?

  179. Madi says:

    Really quick question. How do you call switches between pairs/fours when you’re doing a pause drill. I find myself saying, “in two stern pair out, 5 and 6 in… uhm… I mean… just switch here” when they hit a pause and it’s awkward for me and my rowers. I don’t know what else to do though… ideas?

  180. alexa says:

    Hi there,
    Sorry if you’ve already answered this, but do you have some tips for steering in a bow-loaded four?


  181. Anon says:

    I’m a junior in high school and I am starting to look at colleges. I am 5’3 and around 125 pounds. I currently row and would like to continue into college. Is it more realistic for me to try to row lightweight or maybe cox for a men’s team?

  182. erinsian says:

    I’m brand spanking new at coxing. I’m an indoor rower instructor, where correcting form and giving cues is based on having a good view of body position. As a cox, I don’t have the body cues of my crew to help me (beyond my stern seat.) I know paddle height and timing should be telling me what I need, but I’m having a hard time interpreting what I’m seeing into form correction. Any thoughts you could share are appreciated!

  183. Gillian says:

    Hi! I’m a sophomore girl who just finished her novice year as first boat coxswain. I began fall as a rower and started coxing half way through winter (after Crash-Bs). Due to several strokes (haha) of luck (for me) I quickly moved up from being my teams third and least experienced coxswain to my teams only, most experienced, and favored coxswain. We eventually gained two more coxswains but I remained my coach’s and rower’s favorite. Point of this is that coxing novice first 8+ and first 4+ through several gold medals this season had given me a lot of confidence and I thought I’d be ready for varsity and that I might even be able to beat out some of their current coxswains. But, a couple weeks ago, I broke two riggers and and an oar on our best boat during practice in an accident that left the boat itself and my rowers in tact and ever since then I’m pretty sure the varsity coach–my future coach–hates me a little and no longer trusts me like he seemed to before hand. I apologized and took full responsibility for breaking the boat, the riggers and oar were replaced without too much hassle, and me and my rowers went on to place a close 2nd at Midwest in that boat. The overall point of this whole story are my questions: do you have any tips on how to improve my coxing over the summer (during which I’m not doing any sort of summer rowing programs)? And, are there any specific things you think I should do to help gain the varsity coach’s trust back? I want to prove to him that I’m good enough for second boat or for the lightweight V8 even as a junior with only a year of experience because I really think I’m not that bad of a coxswain now and that any sort of improvement could boost that. Anyway, thank you so much for this blog and for whatever answer or advice you can give!

      • Gillian says:

        Follow up that you don’t have to answer but since you seemed curious: we practice on a narrow tributary and after it rains there’s always a bunch of crap in the water. This was a day after a full week of storming and there was a tree in the middle of the river that I genuinely did not see (or remember being there bc some of the trees have been hanging around for a while) because I was in the last 5 or 10 seconds of a piece (at rate of 32) and was focused on that bc I hadn’t seen anything from farther away (another mistake) and being in an 8+ as someone who’s 5’1″ with everyone else min 6 inches taller than me obviously did not help my visibility but well. It was on my starboard side and there was just a huge crack and everyone stopped dead. So, well, it happened. It was dumb of me and even as a novice I should have known better but. I can’t change it. But, thanks for the reply and the honesty!

  184. Immy says:

    What checks the boats run? Recently in our octo, the run of the boat is checked, but I dont know how to prevent it and what to call to make it better?
    Thanks love this blog, so helpfull! πŸ™‚ x

  185. Sarah says:

    Your blog has been so helpful to me and my team-thank you so so much!
    I am approaching my 6th year of coxing. I did 4 years in high school for my men’s team plus I began coxing my college’s men’s team. Next year, we have a new cox stepping up to varsity. He rowed for 4 year in high school and he is coxing now and I feel he is LIGHTYEARS better than me-only because he has had the rower perspective that I haven’t had. I also feel that I’ve been in a funk-using the same calls for years and they get me results- I just feel on autopilot. I’ve gone to coxing camps and everything, I just wanted to know if you have any suggestions to help me get my groove back?

  186. Ben says:

    Hi. First off let me say I love your blog. I completely agree with everything you say. I looked for a question like mine but I can’t really find one that’s exactly like it. I cox a group of guys and most of them are older than me, so of course they’re kind of douchey when someone younger than them is in charge, but it’s kind of gotten out of hand. On and off the water all they do is ridicule me. I have become ostracized from the group of friends that is our boat, and everything I do is constantly under scrutiny by them. There are two guys especially who are the oldest in the boat, and everyone follows what they do. They are my stroke pair, and no matter the importance of an issue, they constantly correct every single tiny mistake I make. Even sometimes during pieces! I have talked to them multiple times about letting me and my coach deal with it and not them, or at least talk about it on land instead, but they still do it. I.E: During a random 500 tht my coach called to get us in after practice, I forgot to call the start and they yelled at me during the piece to correct me. We have regionals coming up and I’m tired of this. What should I do to end it once and for all?

  187. L-Cox says:

    I’ve been getting a lot of help from your blog lately, thank you!
    I’m in 8th grade and have been in coxing for 3 years. I recently went to states for the third time, but I missed out two days of practice right before the regatta. I don’t know the fine details, but I wound up moving from the 4v to the 6v. This caused my normal rowers, the 4v girls, to start treating me differently. I’m not getting a lot of respect from the girls in my boat, it could be the age difference, but I’m hoping that I’m the most mature at practices than I am anywhere else. I have been moved back into the 4v, but the girls still aren’t being as attentive and listening to my advice as I hoped they would be. This could just be some drama, but I feel that if there isn’t any “harmony” in the boat, we won’t compete as one boat. With SE Regionals coming up, I’m a little worried. Any ideas?

  188. Olivia says:

    Hi! I’m a high school rower and am in my team’s LW V4. We’re going to SE Regionals this weekend and have a shot to place for nationals, so I’m really excited! The whole season I have been naturally under 130, ranging from 127-130ish. At the beginning of this week my weight was up a little (I know it fluctuates day to day), but we don’t have practice after Wednesday and I was just wondering if you had any advice for how I should keep my weight in control for this weekend. I’ve heard different things like do cardio (obviously) and eat fibrous foods until the day before when you should eat energy dense food that doesn’t weigh you down.

    I love your blog and love to relate to other rowers during my spring season! Thanks!

  189. joel413 says:

    I’m a masters coxswain, with experience primarily on lakes in the Pacific Northwest. This past Saturday at a very hectic and busy race in this area, I was told by a Marshal to execute a “river turn” as I was crossing the warm up area. I realized with all the races that I have done over the years, I have only actually coxed on a river ONCE, and have no idea what a “river turn” is. Could you explain this maneuver and describe how to execute it without flipping your shell? Typically when we need to turn in a tight area I have the side I am turning towards back, and the opposite side row in alternating strokes. So if I need to rotate clockwise I have starboards back and ports row. It’s a bit of a slow process, is a river turn something faster?

  190. Madison says:

    Hello!! First I just wanted to say that I am a high school novice cox and your blog has helped me so much. But I have a problem. My varsity/head coaches are so supportive and nice, but my novice coach isn’t. She has missed practice almost everyday for 3 weeks, and she flipped when I missed practice one day for an appointment that I had scheduled months in advance. She’s a good athletic coach who knows a lot about rowing and sports injuries, but not about feelings. At our last regatta my dad was talking to her. Today at practice in front of my whole team she blamed for the teams loss. Considering the fact that she hasn’t been a real part of the team and then just shows up out of the blue, I think that’s part of what messed up the team. She came in and changed our start sequence and everything that we’ve learned. She kept knocking me down in front of the team. It got the point that I came home and cried for two hours. Everyone on my team calls her “a hero” because of how much she knows. I agree that she knows a lot about rowing, but not about coxing. What should I do?

  191. Madeline says:

    Hi ok on my team novices don’t go to regionals unless you’re in the fresh 8 so anyways for the rest of the year those who aren’t going have to row in pairs which is awesome but we have assigned pairs and the girl im with is bow and she is so horribly bossy and mean and she yells at me and blames me for everything that goes wrong, I’ve talked to the coach but she said we just need to work it out and i even took a starboard rigged boat just so i could be bow but she still acts like shes the coxswain how should i deal with this? I really like rowing pairs but she makes it so awful

  192. Brooke says:

    I have coxed for two seasons for my school and I am the most experienced cox and we have no novice coxes. I am 5’5 and 110lb but my coach thinks I am to tall and heavy to cox? Am I? I still fit in the coxes seat and have room to spare! Me and my crew have just recently won the champs, they wouldn’t of done it without me, and they all say they would rather have a cox a couple of pounds over than a useless cox, but I don’t think my coach thinks that? I really want to cox but I still have 6 months till the next regatta! How can i convince my coach that I can still cox and want to! I can’t let my crew have a novice cox as they all want to win next season!!!

  193. I am Not small i am fun sized says:

    Stake boats!

    Hiya there,
    I am a j13 cox, and we have a bit race on Sunday at Eton Dorney. They are really strict about attaching your self to the stake boats, and i am really worried do you have any tips?

  194. Shaun says:

    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?

  195. Sophia says:

    Hi. Ive been coxing for my high school rowing team for about a year now and unnfortunatly im 5’8 and 134lb but i fit in the coxing area easily, im very scared though because i really love coxing and i want to continue to do it in college but im afraid i wont be able to get verry far with it due to my weight and height im a sophmore in high school and i just want to know if there was a way i could still competively cox in college or should i give up because my size stops me

  196. Anonymous says:

    Our team has gotten really close these past couple weeks and I’m really going to miss everyone who is leaving next year. What is the best way to bond with my team before the end of the season?

  197. Anna says:

    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 races…

    So I have a few questions… 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 them I don’t know what to fill the gaps with. We have had loads of really successful coxes from our club, so I under lots of pressure to be good! :/

    Also, sorry I know this is a lot, but I am 5,3, and weight 105lbs, is this too big or heavy for a junior 14s coxie?

    Thanks a bunch, love this blog!

  198. Danielle says:

    Hi! I’m a Novice Coxswain (who use to be a varsity rower until I told my coach I wanted to cox cause i’m 5’0″) and I cox a men’s Novice 8 (i’m a girl) . Lately they’ve been disrespecting me and ignoring my commands. I’ve told the coaches and other coxswains (we are a small team and only have 5 coxswains) and my coaches always remind everyone to “respect your coxswains or you’ll be kicked off the team” and besides them being mean and rude to me. We haven’t won a race all season and they are starting to blame me- but I feel like it’s not really my fault much??? And last regatta my stroke seat hurt his arm picking up the boat at the regatta. And according to a friend of mine they were all blaming me for him hurting his arm….. they also got mad at me for saying “C’mon I’ve seen you row harder!” which I understand but they were getting up on me for ‘hurting their feelings’ (like them harassing me and picking on me isn’t hurting mine??) not only that, but another coxswain who had to cox them while I was out said meaner things to them and the same exact thing- but they never got mad at her? and I think it’s because she flirts with them and stuff?? at this point I don’t know what to do and I love the varsity rowers so much but I’m thinking about retiring early this season so I don’t have to deal with them…

  199. Danielle says:

    Lately, I haven’t been getting boated much during practices and have only been boated for one race. Some of our assistant coaches have claimed that I’m better than the other coxswain and that it’s become more of a matter of favorites. Any tips on how I can show the head coaches that I want to be boated for races, especially with one more race plus Pac-12s coming up? I don’t know what else to do other than prove myself each time I’m on the water (which isn’t often) and going over recordings with our coach once I’m back on the water.

  200. Catherine says:

    I’m a high school junior, and recently I’ve been looking at colleges. At my high school, I’m a mid-pack rower, but the colleges I’m applying to are for academic reasons, and most of them are D1 and way too competitive for me as a rower. I’m 5 foot 8 and 123 lbs, and I’m considering becoming a men’s cox. Do you think that it’s a good idea? I’m already familiar with rowing, but due to my size and lack of experience, would it be a better idea to try as a rower? I really love the sport and want to participate during college, so whatever you think is best!

  201. Anonymous says:

    There has been a lot of drama on my team lately. I was just wondering what the best way to deal with it would be because I really want to have a strong season and close relationships within our team.
    P.S. – I love your blog!

  202. Marina says:

    Hi I was wondering if it was possible to merge boys and girls on a boat for some races ? For example if we row a 4+, could we have 2 guys and 2 girls ?

  203. Madeline says:

    Hi we have states in two weeks and we have boat gifts is this a sport-wide tradition! If so, what are good gifts to buy/make? Thanks a bunch

  204. Dennis says:

    I’m a novice coxswain for a men’s team, and I have absolutely no idea what to say to fix an issue. It’s been at least four months with me as a coxswain and we’re nearing the end of racing season. I have no idea what the source of an issue is, and am just grasping at straws. It occured to me I’m simply repeating the same exact things every practice.

    Our biggest issues is the rest of the boat rushing up on stroke pair, and occassional issues of set that extend beyond just lower or raising blades and handles.

    My team has lost all patience with me and have no trust in me whatsoever. I want to quit, but have no replacement.

    • Dennis says:

      I guess to add on to this, I forgot to mention that at the end of December, basically all of our novice coxswains quit. We had four, and all of them left until I was the only left. I stayed because I didn’t want to leave my guys hanging. There is this one spare coxswain on the team, let’s call her C. She…doesn’t really do anything. I believe she is the women’s novice coxswain, but they only have one boat, so she just does…nothing. She’s there every morning though. I passed along the idea of quitting to my coach and her, and she basically said she “couldn’t” be the novice men’s coxswain because she wasn’t “allowed” to. I learned from my coach that she wanted to stay a novice coxswain for next year, and by competing she would have to be varsity.

      First off, I feel like I should be allowed to be a little annoyed at this. Part of me just wants to walk up to the coach and her and hand over my position, pay my fees, and leave.

      I never really wanted to be a coxswain in the first place. I joined rowing to row, but I didn’t have the athletic ability to do it. Thinking about it now, I don’t know why I stayed on the team.

      I don’t know what to do. We have two races left, one on Saturday and WIRA.

  205. Ellie says:

    Hey! I’m a novice coxswain and yesterday we had our first race which we lost by alot. I struggled with trying to motivate my boat when we really didn’t have a chance of coming back. I could tell everyone felt pretty defeated and I didn’t know what to say to keep them working hard. Do you have any advice on what sort of calls I can make if this happens again? (Fingers crossed it doesn’t)

  206. Kyle says:

    I’ve been having problems with one of the assistant coaches. Overall, his attitude towards me has been one of dislike/disappointment. Part of this may be due to him not knowing I’m a novice cox and expecting me to be at the level of an experienced one (I’ve been with the varsity a lot #coxswainshortage), but most of it is definitely due to a few bouts of incompetence earlier in the season. Now, however, I’ve improved significantly, but he still has very little patience for me (compared to other coxes) when I ask for clarification on the water and is very reluctant and disdainful when I ask for advice (on land). In addition, there’s significant communication issues, as he (and the other coaches) use plastic-cone megaphones, and whenever I can’t hear clearly and ask for clarification (or can’t hear at all), they always interpret it as me not paying attention, which further reinforces his bad image of me.

    Today especially was a terrible practice, as all these elements and more were at play. My boat and one other were under his sole supervision the entire time we were on the water. He was pissed at one of the other boats not with us at the time, and he was quite clearly projecting that anger onto us. Due to various factors (seaplanes, head coach not present, pointed his megaphone at other boat) the communication issues were at an all time high, and his short fuse made me afraid to ask for clarification. As a consequence, I felt quite helpless, especially as he seemed strangely angry whenever I did manage to do what he wanted. In addition, it seemed as if he were merely along for the ride, as said NOTHING other than the drills and pieces we were supposed to be doing. Help!

  207. Alex says:

    I coxed a race last weekend and was told that while my coxing was good, it sounded more like a piece than an actual race.
    Can you give some tips on how to really up the intensity while coxing a race? I thought I was communicating a sense of urgency pretty well through my tone, but I’m not sure if it came across as well as I had hoped. Thanks! Your blog has been an absolute godsend since this is my first year coxing.

  208. LJA says:

    Hey Kayleigh,

    I was hoping you could lend some advice on spacers, the correct positioning of your body in relation to the pin and how to change these things either before you are out on the water or while you are out on the water. I was told that when in doubt to take a spacer off… is that the rule of thumb? It is different due to the type/make of the boat? Any help would be much appreciated.


  209. Mike says:

    Hi. So I am one of 4 coxswains on my team. We primarily have 3 boats: 1 V8+, 1 N8+ and 1 V4+. I have the second most experience coxing of the four of us, yet my coach is putting me with novice. Over the last few weeks I have only been coxing the V8+ and V4+. Our first race is on Sunday, and I have only been in the Novice boat one time since we got back on the water. The coxswain who has the least experience is practicing with varsity this week, but I feel like I should be there, since I’ve been working with them the most, and we seem to have found a good rhythm. I want to talk to my coach about it, but I don’t want to sound like I think I’m entitled just because I’m older than the other coxswain. Thanks!

  210. Shaun says:

    Hey, so I’m team captain of a high school team in the South. Recently, we got a transplant teammate from up north. Though he was out of shape to begin with (the move having disrupted his training) he has worked really hard and put in a ton of effort at every practice, and has made a lot of progress in the limited time he’s been here. However, when our coach released the roster for the travel team (we don’t take the whole team to away regattas) the new kid wasn’t on there. I think it has been a pretty big disappointment- it denies him any chance at youth nationals and means that he will only race twice in the spring season, which doesn’t at all reflect his dedication and commitment.

    My co-captain and I personally feel this is unfair, and there have been complaints from my teammates along the same lines. His attitude is better and his erg scores and technique are more competitive than some of the guys that have made the travel team, and I know that we have space in the bus/hotel/etc. However, who makes the travel team is 100% not my call. I definitely feel wary of questioning a coaching decision and don’t want to undermine our coach’s authority and respect. Should I say anything to our coach about possibly including our new teammate on the travel team? And if so, how could I approach it in a way that doesn’t seem like I’m out of line or being disrespectful?

    PS- Thank you so much for writing your blog- it’s seriously helped my development as a coxswain in any number of different ways and now we’re using your recordings section to teach our novices. It’s definitely appreciated.

  211. LMarie says:


    So this will be my first time coxing this spring for a non competitive program as a freshman because I just wanted to try something new and I’ve always wanted to try coxing. I want to prepare for the competitive program at my school next spring and so my coach recommended attending a camp this summer that gives at least some exposure to racing but at the minimum will have you on the water. My parents don’t exactly like the fact that I’ll have to be away from home to go to most of them since there is NOTHING in the area I am from during the summer, the only one I’ve found in the state is dartmouth but boston would actually be closer. However they’ll allow me to go as far as the Boston area, thus I started looking into the programs there. I found an old post about some clubs and camp programs run by colleges during the summer but a bunch of the programs have changed and some websites aren’t responding. Since I wouldn’t have competitive experience but am looking for some exposure I was thinking of maybe joining one of the clubs in boston for summer or doing one of their camps (right now CRI looks great since they have a 2 week pre competitive program) however I wasn’t sure if you had any recommendations on where to start looking? Also how on earth does coxswain application for those programs work? I’m running into a lot of registration for “rowing” but nothing about needing coxswains or whom to contact if you’re interested in being one. Also, any programs in NH you’re familiar with or know of besides dartmouth? Sorry I’m really new to this!

    -L Marie

  212. UniCoxswain says:

    My coxing has gotten to the point where I can see the technical problems in my rowers, but sometimes I’m not sure how to call a correction on them. For instance, I know if someone is skying at the catch I can call the boat to focus on direct catches and “hands up at the catch” and things like that for stability…but there are others I’m less sure about.
    Would you please touch on good ways (positive reinforcement, they hate the word “no” in the boat) to call for the following problems in a rower?
    -yanking at the finish
    -swinging early
    -rush on the last 1/3 of the slide (and she doesn’t respond to ‘patience up the slide’)
    -inside arm bent
    -washout (I know one call is to ‘lean into the rigger at the finish’ but is there anything else I can say?)
    -drop-off in power due to lack of focus (focus calls help her, but I can’t do that every minute)

    Thank you so much for your blog! I started coxing this year and this has been my go-to resource for improving, watching videos, and asking questions!

  213. Gwen says:

    This might be a tough one:
    I’m a coxswain on my college team. After years, I’m finally coxing our first varsity boat. That’s the good news. The bad news is I’m dealing with a lot right now- I’ve been suffering from anxiety and depression as well as dealing with losing a best friend to suicide roughly a year ago. My anxiety is generally much worse during spring season because races where I have to weigh in freak me out. I am about 110, 5’4″ but a lot of our coxswains barely come up to my shoulders and I worry my coach will replace me if they weigh less than I do! I’ve been seriously considering taking this season off to get my head together, but every time I decide to do it, I become convinced my coach will question my competency or tell me not to come back. As a side detail- I really love crew I’ve been part of the sport since eighth grade, I rowed up until college. I really want to coach high school or juniors rowing after I graduate and I’d hate to do anything to undermine my position on the team and I’m afraid to let my teammates down! Any ideas?

  214. Pippa says:

    I join my university rowing club with the intention of rowing for them, however, as the club is very small and I coxed a little in autumn, I find myself being asked to cox, both for my squad (novice women) and the two senior squads. I’m 5ft10 and 125lbs, so really quite big for a cox. I really don’t want to loose my place in the main novice eight if I’m never going to be a decent cox, but equally, I’m not the strongest in the boat (probably around 4th based on technique and ergs) so coxing might be a good way to go. I don’t know whether to dedicate myself to coxing, and accept I’ll be on the large side, or stick to rowing. Could you shed any light on the frequency and success of coxes who aren’t pocket sized? Thank you.

  215. Reema says:

    Since were still waiting for the river to be ice-free, I’ve been thinking about what I need to work on when we get back on the water. I’ve decided that coxing steady state pieces are harder for me to cox. I think it’s because I don’t want to talk to much but I’m also scared of not saying enough or being too repetitive. Do you have advice for coxing steady state workouts?

  216. Mike says:

    Hey. So I took a boat on the water for the second time ever yesterday, and we hit a nasty cross-course wind that kept blowing me off my point. Every time I’d try to fix it, I’d end up on the other extreme of that point. Any advice for dealing with these kinds of winds?

  217. Katherine says:

    Hi Kayleigh,

    First of all I’d like to say how much I love love love your blog! It has been such a valuable resource, thank you for devoting so much time to it.

    My question is:

    I’ve been coxing for about 18 months now and I’m feeling comfortable with steering and basic calls. My coach has asked me to start judging each rower’s technique from what his blade is doing and I’m finding this really hard. Other than looking for timing issues and comparing length against other blades, I’m at a bit of a loss. Do you have any tips? Or any other gifs of how things should look, like in your ‘Bend and Snap’ post?


  218. LoveBug says:

    I had been rowing for a club for a few years and am now coxing due to a chronic illness. Right now, in winter, that means that I am still erging all workouts but I just can’t go at a rate higher than a 24. Even with this, I am still the third fastest girl on my team. My coach is in her first year and pretty much came in to overhaul our program and make it really good in 4 years (She has told us that she much prefers to work with novice freshmen). When I was first diagnosed, she got really pissed at me, which was fine I guess, but now she refuses to help me learn how to cox or to even acknowledge me. I have come to every day of non-mandatory winter, I work my ass off and I am simultaneously trying to teach myself to cox whereas the rest of our coxswains are in 8th grade and either don’t show up or don’t try at winter. She has now started putting me in a workout group with all of our eighth graders (whom she refers to as the slow ones), even though I still hold a top split for our team, even if I have to slightly modify workouts to, you know, stay alive.
    I now have the option to tryout for another club, but they are 1 1/2 hours away (nearest club) and are our rival club. I really want to get better and they would definitely give me more opportunities, but I feel like I have put in so much energy to this team (which I loved before this coach and my diagnoses) that I would feel like I was betraying my team.
    What do you suggest? Should I stay with my club, quit, or switch clubs? And if I switch clubs, how can I prepare for a coxswain tryout since I haven’t ever really had anyone care to teach me?

  219. Julia says:

    Hi! I’m a high school women’s coxswain and I recently weighed myself for the first time in a while. I weigh 124 and I’m 5’3″. I know this is heavy for a women’s coxswain, and I know that I didn’t weigh this much during the summer. I’ve decided that I want to lose about 7 pounds by monitoring what I eat more and doing a little more exercise. Do you know about how long that would take me? Also, if you could suggest some workouts I could do at home that are good for losing weight, it would really be appreciated. Thank you so much!

  220. Alex says:

    Hi! I am doing a 15 minute erg, free rate although, my coach says to keep the rate above 26 spm, but I was thinking of building up the rate towards the endand I was just wandering how you would recommend I pace myself.

    P.S. This erg will determine the crews for a national competition we have coming up.

  221. Annie says:

    I really want to continue rowing in college but I am 5’3 and my erg scores are not great. Do you think it would be possible for me to cox in college (maybe as a walk on?) even though I have never done it before? If so, how would I go about expressing interest in it?

  222. Allie says:

    Hi! I’ve never been especially comfortable in docking and with spring rolling by I want to go back into the season with some more insight. What are the different types of docks and how would you approach them? Thanks!

  223. Alex says:

    Hi! The seats in my boat are really uncomfortable so I thought I would buy a seat grip because I saw that some people had them. However someone told me that you only need a seat grip if you are really tall and not if your seat is uncomfortable. Is this true? If so, what would you recommend to do so that I can concentrate on my rowing and not my seat.

  224. Erin says:

    I have been a competitive rower for the last three years (lightweight), and I have been trying to get my coach to let me learn how to cox for the last two. I always have been in bow seat and have even bowed a straight four and everytime I try to talk to her about coxing she has given me the runaround. The mens team at my club is in need of a cox, but she still won’t let me try. I just dont know what to do anymore because I keep getting injuries when trying to continue to row, but love my teammates and want to stay for them. Is there any way that I can convince her to let me cox? Our current coxswain is taller than me, and I only weigh more because of weight lifting.

  225. AR says:

    Hi. I’ve been rowing on my high school team for four years now, and I’ve been considering continuing crew in college. However, my times aren’t good enough to be recruited, and I’ve always wanted to cox. People have told me I would be good at coxing, but my coach wants me to row for him. But my weight is an issue. I’m 5’3″ and weigh around 140. I don’t know if I can healthily get down to a weight to cox, so is it possible for me to cox men? Thanks!

  226. Sujin says:


    In a race, when you call a power 10, do you call it two strokes ahead (Power 10 in two, thats one, two,) or do you just call it?

  227. S says:

    Hello! I just starting coxing in the winter season and I’ve been really quiet while coxing erg workouts because I never know what to say to encourage someone. What are your staple phrases to use to encourage someone during an erg test/workout or during a regatta?

  228. Elly says:

    I recently joined a novice girls crew team because they needed a freshman coxswain. This team allows 8th grade rowers from the local middle school to participate as well. When I joined there were already three 8th grades coxswains, but the coaches were so desperate for a freshman cox they were willing to take me, even though I am 5′ 4” or 5′ 5” (but I only weigh 98lbs). The coach has taken a shine to me because I can erg well, do workouts with the rowers, and have picked up coxing very quickly. When we have been doing exercises where our coach puts us in boat groups I have been getting the better rowers. Although the rowers seem to like me, this has generated some resentment from the coxswains.
    You seemed to have given good advice about winning over rowers and I was wondering how I might win over the other coxswains on my team.

  229. Mary says:

    Hi there! So long story short I’ve been rowing for my high school team for the past 3 years (I’m a junior this year) and my novice year we needed a coxswain for one of the novice boats, so I both rowed and coxed that year. My coach that year told me I was a natural coxswain and I was really passionate about it. Unfortunately, I’m a little on the tall side for a coxswain (I’m 5’5″) so when I got to varsity under a new coach she found other coxswains that were smaller and so I just became a rower full time. Fast forward to today and unfortunately my erging times have not gotten as fast as I would like them to be :(. However, I really want to row/cox in college and its looking unlikely that I could row for any of the schools I want to go to. I would be interested in coxing again for either men or women in college though. My current coach just doesn’t see me as a coxswain for some reason, and won’t let me start coxing again even though I’m one of the slowest rowers on varsity and our mens team is in need of a cox. Last year, one of our rowers on the girls team got injured and became a cox for the guys, so I just don’t see why I couldn’t at least try coxing again. Anyways, do you have any suggestions on how I could convince her to let me cox? Also, would it be too weird for me to email college coaches from schools I’m interested in and tell them I’m interested in coxing for them even though I haven’t coxed very much since freshman year?

  230. Reema says:

    I’m a sophomore in high school and this is my second year coxing. When I was a novice, my coaches would give me an outline of a race plan they wanted me to follow. Now that I’m varsity, I have a pretty good idea of how to make one on my own. But I want to make sure I have a really good race plan before the season starts. So I was wondering if you had a good race plan for a 2,000 meter race?

  231. Janie says:

    Hello Kayleigh! I was wondering how you view the relationship of a coxswain to rowers. My main problem is that I’m friends with a lot of rowers I cox and I don’t want to lose them as friends, but I also want there to be mutual respect. How do you deal with this? Thanks! AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!!

  232. Anonymoius says:

    Our team (high school Varsity men) has two captains, me (the coxswain) and “Jim”, one of the fastest heavyweights. Our coach has a full-time job in addition to coaching us so a lot of the responsibility falls on the captains. I know that I was elected mostly based on my organizational abilities and so I expected to assume a lot of the work on that end, but Jim has barely done anything all year. I have to organize every captain’s practice and outside workout, even though I’m just a coxswain and honestly don’t know too much about weightlifting or whatever (Jim told me he would once but backed out at the last minute) and I’m always the one who has to manage everything at regattas, events, etc. The only exceptions are “fun” activities- gingerbread house, laser tag, team t-shirts are the only things he’s managed himself. His attendance is pretty mediocre too, which really undercuts the message our coach and I are trying to promote about good attendance and hard work at every practice.

    I’m exhausted trying to juggle it all, but I worry that if I don’t do everything myself, it simply won’t get done. What could I say to him so that he’ll step up a little and take some of the pressure off? As far as I can tell he doesn’t think he’s doing anything wrong.

  233. Mike says:

    Hi. I am a newly converted college coxswain. I have been researching like crazy about how best to motivate my rowers and I was wondering what you thoughts on this are. I have seen several videos and articles (probably some on here even) that say its on a boat-to-boat basis, but would you possibly have any bits of generic advice on how best to motivate my boats?

  234. Jenny says:

    Hi! I was wondering, what coxing guides or manuals do you like the most, if any? And why? I was looking through all the different options and I’m not sure which one to get, or if I should get one! AH! Thank you!

  235. Anonymous says:

    Hello, I am a male HS senior coxswain who is 5’11”, 132lbs., currently getting looks from several top level college coaches. Problem is, my HS coach says I am too heavy and I have been getting vibes that I may not be allowed to cox this spring due to my size. Compared to the other coxswains in my boathouse, I by far put my boat in the best position to win even despite my weight. I need to have a sit down conversation with the coaching staff to get things straight. I have a general idea of how to make my case to cox, but I would like some more input. How would you suggest I approach this conversation? My boat is going to have our fastest season yet and I would like to spend my last HS year finishing what I started three years ago. Coxing is something I want to continue to do on a competitive level in college, so that makes things even more complicated. Also, as a collegiate coach yourself, and I don’t know if you can speak for the rest of the Cornell coaching staff, what is your philosophy about heavy coxswains? Any feedback would be appreciated. Thank you.

  236. Carly says:

    Hi! I just started coxing this fall, and towards the end of the season my rowers told me that the calls I was making during our race pieces were good, but that I should work on being more controlled with my voice. I think it’s because I’m nervous about being silent for too long so I rush everything out, but then I also run out of things to say. I also think I need to work on being less repetitive, and have a little more intensity to my calls. However, we went off the water right after that. Is there any way I can work on this over the winter? I really want to work on these things and I’m bummed I won’t really have a good opportunity the whole winter. I cox the guys on the ergs but it’s very different than being in the boat. Right now I’m just listening to tapes when I have spare time and taking notes, but is there any way to actually practice this before spring?

  237. UniCoxswain says:

    Hi! I know you’ve addressed this situation already, but I need a little more advice in this case. You talk about how a coxswain (me, sophomore) dating a rower (junior) is a bad idea, but it’s already happening and has been for almost a year. The new recruit freshmen don’t know about it yet because we are trying to keep it as low-key and off-the-water as possible. I guess I’m looking for damage control tips. We have a lot of boat switch-ups through the season, so we aren’t often in the same boat. If I have favoritism at all it’s for the rowers in my class year because I’ve worked so hard with them. How can I continue to show the team that this won’t negatively affect them? We generally just don’t talk about it.

  238. Al says:

    I walked on half a year ago as a coxswain knowing absolutely nothing, and this blog was such a godsend for me. Thank you!
    I was the absolute worst when I started – steering all over the place and almost dead silent during practices because I was so nervous about what to say. I’ve come a long way since then – my steering is much more consistent and I feel pretty confident about the things I’m saying in the boat.

    But I feel like I’ve plateaued in my progress because I don’t know how to bring personality into the boat. I can rattle off canned phrases and words, but I don’t know how to really MOTIVATE the boat and get the rowers riled up. I’ve been told that I’m “too nice” when I’ve asked for criticisms from the rowers. I am not an inherently sassy person – I am actually pretty calm and mellow and I’m not sure how to address an issue like temperament.
    Is this something I can fix or was I just not meant to be a coxswain in the first place? All of the successful coxswains I know are so outspoken and I feel like I have a more quiet intensity that I try to bring into the boat.


  239. Jenny says:

    Hi Kayleigh! Last week, I lost my voice after one of our fall head races. I was talking to my coaches and they said that your “coxing voice” shouldn’t come directly from the throat or something like that- it should come from deep breaths from your stomach or the bottom part of your throat. I am now officially confused and don’t know who else to ask! Help please? Thanks!

  240. Nikhil says:

    Hey, so I am the 2V coxswain and we almost always practice with the 1V. Our coach usually starts us a length ahead (or something like that), but the 1V always comes back up. I was just wondering how I can keep the rowers calmer and still take great strokes as they walk on us (and if that happens in a race situation).

  241. JJ says:

    Hiya, I just started rowing recently and have to do some ergs with 18, 20 & 22 m/s but I don’t quite understand how this works. Does it really just depent on my speed or do I also have to change the resistance level to get those results?

  242. Kate says:

    I am a new coxswain and just started about 8 weeks ago. We had our first race Sunday, which was a 5k, and it went really well. But tomorrow I have another 5k and I am in a brand new boat. I don’t know what to tell them! Help?

    • beantownkmd says:

      Hey Kate! Sorry I didn’t see this earlier! Best advice for the future is to just talk to them and ask them what they’ve been working on, what they want/need to hear from their coxswain, and then go from there. You really don’t have to change anything about your coxing other than to maybe add in a few crew-specific calls, most of which you can figure out either by talking to the coach or like I said, by talking to the rowers.

  243. jp says:

    Hi! It’s the tiny SMU rower who emailed you a week or so ago. Just wanted to give you an update, since your advice helped me a lot.

    I actually ended up injuring myself a few days after your reply. I’ve got a habit of overextending my shoulders to make up for length and apparently I have loose shoulders- subsequently, my left shoulder is partly dislocated. I talked to my coach after re-reading your email, and I told her that I think my height is getting in the way and so we’ve been trying to approach this differently. We’ve come to a mixed bag of solutions, which I’m happy with.

    I’ll be spending a lot of sweep time in a V4+ (she puts closer heights together, I’ll be with girls who are 5’7″-5’9″ vs. 6’0″-6’2″, far more realistic for me). When I’m in an 8+ this spring after doing more rehab, she’s going to fix my footboard up and I’ll be switching sides often to take pressure off any one joint (my right shoulder had surgery and is much stronger now). She also is pleased with my singles work, so I’ll be training to race a light single over the summer and for next fall, and she said that if I want to, she’ll put together an alumni boat for me to learn how to cox in.

    I’m really happy with how this has all been handled, and I just wanted to thank you for your insight because I believe that it will help me a lot and will prevent more injury.

    Thanks! J

    • beantownkmd says:

      Hi! That sucks about your shoulder – I hope you’re OK and not in too much pain. I’m glad you talked to your coach though instead of trying to just “deal with the pain” and continue rowing without saying anything. It’s awesome that your coach is working with you and being so accommodating and understanding. A lot of rowers and coxswains don’t have that so know that you’re one of the lucky ones. Best of luck! πŸ™‚

  244. Rose says:

    Hey! I’m in a boat with girls who have at least one year of rowing experience. All of them have a pretty good stroke technique, but everyone except for stern pairs have horrible rush and I’m not sure how to get them to drop the habit. Most of them get a little mad when I tell them to keep a controlled recovery, and to not rush. I try to keep telling them so they will fix it, but there is never a great improvement by the end of practice. How can I tell them not to rush up the slide in a way that will actually help them?

  245. Ella says: