Author: readyallrow


Flashback Friday: November 26th – December 9th


Holiday Gift Guide 2016 (check out this year’s here, as well as ones from past years that are all linked down below)

Coxswains, get on the erg…

QOTD: 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?


Top 20 terms coxswains should know: Quarter-feather

College recruiting: The process of being recruited as a coxswain

QOTD: Just wondering , what do you say to your crew after a training session and they say “Thanks cox”?

QOTD: 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 and 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.


Coxswain evaluations + how I organize them Since I posted this in 2014 it’s become one of the most popular posts on the site – definitely check it out if you’re interested in doing evals with your team.

QOTD: Hi! My coach has been telling me the last couple of sessions that I’m opening up too early (both rowing and sculling). He says to imagine that I’m pushing my knees away from my chest rather than moving my chest away from my knees. I understand what he means and can feel that I’m doing it now but there is some mental block between that and actually fixing the problem. Do you know any other way I could think about it or what I could do to try fix it?



QOTD: Any tips on keeping a straight course in the dark when it’s hard to see things to point at?

QOTD: The other day in our eight we were doing some pieces in which the coach didn’t think everyone was trying. She thought only two out of the whole eight was actually trying hard. She didn’t name, names but you could tell some people she believed weren’t doing anything. In the defense of the crew, the cox wasn’t saying anything, no motivation or anything. After the session I was talking to one of the ‘spare’ coxes who was in the speed boat with the coach. We discussed how she judged who was pulling and her main answer was that the coach was looking at peoples faces and at the puddles but mainly the faces. Personally, maybe I wasn’t trying my hardest (I know, but its hard when the whole boat seemed to be powered by only yourself) but I do not believe looking at faces would be the most accurate way of measuring who is trying as I can easily make faces, and I know some people whose face doesn’t change no mater how hard they are pulling. How do you tell?

Holiday Gift Guide 2013 (here’s more ideas from 2013 for rowers + coxswains too)

VOTW: University of Wisconsin Rowing, 1929


QOTD: So I’m a novice coxswain and I’m really not athletic. The other coxswains told me that during winter training we do everything the rowers do but because I haven’t been erging and working out with the team, I’m scared I won’t be able to keep up with them. What should I do?

Coxswain recordings, pt. 3 Solid clip in here from the Aussie men’s national team

QOTD: Interesting question: How often do you think a cox should talk during a race? I feel really awkward and useless if I stop talking for more than a few seconds, and when I rowed our cox would talk almost constantly during races. However, at a regatta briefing the other day the OU Captain of Coxes implied that coxes should only be talking every few strokes. I guess it depends on the standard and nature of the crew, but what do you think?

Holiday gifts for coaches (and rowers and coxswains)

How to steer an eight or four

GoPro Gear for Coxswains


GoPro Gear for Coxswains

Winter training trips are fast approaching (not to mention, ya know, Christmas) so I’ve been getting a lot of emails lately about GoPros – which one’s the best, which accessories are worth it, etc. Below is what I use, as well as the accessories I have that make storing, charging, and traveling with the GoPro a piece of cake.

The only things that I consider to be a must-have alongside the GoPro itself are the microSD card, the carrying case, the housing case, and the head mount strap. Everything else is just stuff I’ve found has made my life easier when traveling to regattas or rotating both of my GoPros between 3-5 coxswains on a weekly basis.

Image via // @northeasternmensrowing

Video of the Week

Video of the Week: How to measure spread and span

If you’ve been around for awhile you’ll remember that the first big series I did on the blog (in 2013!) was on all the nuances of rigging a boat. (You can check out all those posts here if you haven’t read them in awhile.) The first post was on spread and span and also included two videos showing how to measure both, in case you want another reference on how it’s done.

If you’re looking for a way to kill some time this winter, definitely consider asking your coach or boatman if he/she can show you how to rig a boat. It goes way beyond just putting the riggers on and taking them off and is a skill that all coxswains should learn. There’s also a tools post in that series that you should check out if you’re on the hunt for some wrenches but aren’t sure of the sizes you’ll need. (All of that stuff makes great stocking stuffers too if any parents out there are still looking for ideas!)

Erg Playlists

Music to erg to, pt. #160

Posted some gift ideas last week so if, like me, you haven’t started Christmas shopping yet, hopefully this will help jump start that process. I also added a thing to the contact form so you can indicate whether you want to keep your question private or if I can post it on the blog. Either one is totally fine but if there’s nothing super identifying, definitely consider allowing it to go on the blog – you’d be surprised how many people have the exact same question, even when it seems like it might be something specific to just you or your team.

Coxing Novice Q&A

Question of the Day

I have not begun rowing yet (I start in the spring) but I really want to become a coxswain. Is there anyway that when I go to the first practice I can make myself seem like a good candidate for a coxswain? I am 5 foot 3 and 107 lbs.

Definitely – just go up to the coach when you get there and say “hi, I’m [your name] and I’m interested in coxing”.

Related: Defining the role of the coxswain: The type of coxswain you don’t want to be

Seriously though, it’s that simple. You’ll probably get pegged for one anyways since you’re pretty petite but if you already know you’re leaning towards coxing instead of rowing, speak up and say so. The coaches will probably appreciate that too since it’ll be one less person whose arm they’ll have to twist to get them to cox if not enough people are interested or volunteer on their own.

Related: Defining the role of the coxswain: Leadership

Biggest piece of advice is to just have a presence. Introduce yourself, talk to people, be outgoing, don’t be a wallflower, etc. It’s not that you can’t be a shy, quiet person and still be good at coxing but it’s easier to be taken seriously if you exhibit typical coxing “qualities” right off the bat. Check out the “defining the role” tag when you’ve got some time and read some of the posts in there – there’s a ton of stuff that’ll lay out all the necessary/preferred qualities of coxswains that should help you prepare for the spring.

College Video of the Week

Video of the Week: A history of the Navy in 100 objects

I still think it’s really cool that college teams used to represent the US at the Olympics. The most famous story is, of course, Washington at the 1936 Berlin games but did you know the college crews won trials in the eight and raced at the Olympics every quadrennial between 1920 and 1968? The only exception was 1964 when Vesper won and raced in Tokyo (where they won the last gold medal for the Americans until 2004).


Flashback Friday: November 12th – 25th


QOTD: 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?

What makes a good coxswain recording?

Training: Pushing hard and pain vs. soreness



QOTD: Hi, do you have any 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 want 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 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?

QOTD: Any ideas for a holiday-themed practice?

VOTW: Pete Cipollone podcast

College recruiting: Interest from coaches + coming from a small program

Top 20 terms coxswains should know: Suspension


VOTW: Snowflake Regatta Carnage

QOTD: 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?


QOTD: 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 it’s 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 wondering if you had any tips for correcting my stroke if it is what is causing this? Thank you.


QOTD: Hey! How do you record yourself during a piece etc. if you can’t buy a GOPRO or a recorder? I don’t want to take my phone on board but I still want either race footage or just sound recordings. Thank you!

QOTD: Hey! So I’m a coxswain in high school and we (all the coxswains) want a coxswain evaluation/ranking from the rowers. Some coxswains feel like they should be in a different boat and we all want feedback from the rowers. How do we go about asking our coach about it?

QOTD: 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?

QOTD: We have a coxswain who always covers his microphone with his hand which he thinks gives him this like gruff thing going on, but the problem is we can’t always understand him and quite frankly, it’s annoying. I don’t get why he needs it when we’re not going into the wind but what should we do? Would it be rude to ask if he could please stop or what?


How to survive winter training … as a coxswain

Holiday gifts for coaches

Holiday gifts for rowers

Holiday gifts for coxswains

VOTW: Lewis & Clark Men’s Rowing

Holiday Gift Guide 2017


Holiday Gift Guide 2017

It’s that time of year again and Black Friday/Cyber Monday is (somehow already) upon us. If you’ve got some holiday shopping to do or you’re still looking to add a few things to your own list, here’s a couple of ideas.

A year or so ago Amazon had an insane deal on Hot Hands and I got a 120 pack for $20 (normally it’s $75). Hand warmers on their own make great stocking stuffers but combined with the hat, gloves, and socks they make for an excellent gift that any coxswain who appreciates practicality and not freezing their ass off will enjoy.

Related: Rowing gifts

If you’re looking for some book ideas to go with that Audible subscription, check out the posts I’ve done on rowing books (here and here). If you’re looking for some non-rowing suggestions, Murder on the Orient Express, The Secret Lives of Codebreakers, and The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck are all on my 2018 reading list.

Image via // Potomac Boat Club