ONE YEAR AGO
Talk by Penn ’15 coxswain Lou Lombari – this is an 11 minute clip from a talk he gave at a camp I was at two years ago
QOTD: Hi! I’ve been a novice at my local rowing club for about two months now. I’m a coxswain but I’m not sure if I’m cut out for it. I enjoy it but I have so much trouble making calls and being motivational and speaking throughout a whole piece. Is this just because I’m new to this? Or are most coxswains good from the very beginning? I guess I’m wondering if it’s possible to improve or if I’m just not cut out. If you have any tips that would be great. Thanks!
VOTW: “So long, Huskies!”
TWO YEARS AGO
QOTD: 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?
QOTD: 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 respected part of the team and while I love this sport I don’t really know what to do.
THREE YEARS AGO
QOTD: 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?
VOTW: 2004 Men’s 8+ starting sequence
QOTD: I’m living with one of my captains and we’re having issues. Even though she works hard and her erg scores are consistently top 8 she’s in the 3V and our coach won’t tell her why. She was reasonably upset and she had every right to be and I was there for her. This was around mid to late September. A little while later, she started seeming annoyed, I tried being nice, and I tried giving her space, either way she’s been very snippy. More recently we went away for a race and only our 1V and 2V went. When I got back I tried to be quiet about it and not bring the trip up. I talked about these issues a couple times with another girl I’ve been rowing with since high school who also lived with her last year. She gave me some advice and I was planning on following it.
That night though she had another breakdown because she was so frustrated and upset because she didn’t even go as an alternate. I felt really bad and knew if I was in her position I would feel the same way, why do I work so hard if I’m not getting anywhere, but it also feels like she wants me to say that she deserves to be in the 1V over all 8 of us. She also has been making me feel really shitty about myself, the other day for example we were given a workout to do on our own because our coach could tell we were tired and was giving us the chance to sleep in and do a steady state work out. I decided the night before I was going to go at 7 but when my alarm went off I realized exactly how tired I was and decided to go after class. When she got back from doing the workout I went to ask a question but she got really sassy saying “So much for going at 7”. I tried to explain but she shut the door on my face before I could say anything. I only have a little over a semester left with her but I feel like I’m walking on egg shells around her and don’t know how much more I can take.
QOTD: Hello! Sorry if this is a dumb question but I was wondering, what does it mean when coxswains say “cha”? Thank you!
FOUR YEARS AGO
QOTD: When we row with our feet out of the foot stretchers I have a lot of trouble getting up the slide never mind getting up on time, and it’s really embarrassing being the only one in the boat who obviously struggles with these drills. Is there any thing I can work on to improve this area?
QOTD: Hey! I just had a really bad practice and I need some advice. So I have the top eight right now but our coach changes it up all the time. There is a race coming up but I’m not going so naturally I’d be moved down to the boats that aren’t going. Today for practice he kept me on the A boat but I screwed up and steered into another boat and my steering was just bad overall today. He seemed really disappointed and the last time he seemed so disappointed, he moved the A cox down to B. I just really want to make up for today and I’m scared tomorrow I won’t be on A boat. What do I say/do? Also can you link me to the post about what to do after a bad practice? I just really want to make up for today and prove to my coach that even though I’m not going to the next (last) race, I’m still worthy of A boat. Thank you so much.
QOTD: Hi. 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. Thanks!
FIVE YEARS AGO
Coxswain recordings, pt. 2 St. Ignatius vs. Shrewsbury (a classic) and Bucknell’s frosh 8+ vs. Holy Cross
QOTD: I was wondering what the difference is between checking it and holding water. I think checking it is just once side and everybody holds water? But I’m not sure. and then also what do you think is the easiest way to turn around? I usually have my stern or bow four row with ports backing. Is that pretty standard would you say? Thank you again so so so so so much.
QOTD: Advice for coxing a 5k on the erg? There are only so many times I can remind my boys to keep their back straight and drive with their legs.