Hobart University 2011 Head of the Charles Men’s Collegiate 8+
I like how she starts out the piece with “let’s get us moving”. Notice how coming out of the bridges she’s hugging the buoy line? That’s how you wanna do it.
At 1:19, she tells them where Notre Dame is and that’s where they started but it’s not going to be where they finish – that’s a good call to make to give your crew something to work torwards in the early parts of the race instead of going out and just rowing. Pick a boat in front of you, put a target on their back, and go after them. Notice how she’s still hugging the buoys pretty tightly as they start coming around the turn? She’s taking a great course. Remember, your oars can go over the buoys but the hull can’t.
The twelve seconds of “hook, send” from 1:54-2:06 was a little excessive. Normally you don’t want to say the same thing more than two or three times in a row because after that you get tuned out. The over-repetiveness of some of her calls was already driving me crazy and then I realized they’re only at Riverside. It seems like the only thing she’s comfortable saying are calls with “hook” in them. If you’re listening to your audio and notice a similar pattern, take that as a sign that you need to broaden your vocabulary. Your calls should be varied enough that you aren’t saying the same exact thing every 2-3 strokes.
I like that around 5:48 she tells them that she wants to stay up on the boat behind them because she wants the line on Weeks – that’s definitely something you need to communicate with your crew coming into the turns, especially Weeks and Eliot. In order for you to have the cleanest and sharpest line, you’ve got to either hold off the crew that has the potential to pass you until you’re at least through the bridge or make your move now so that you can pass the crew in front of you before you get to the bridge (as opposed to trying to do it under the bridge).
Her course coming into Weeks is great and she does a good job telling the crew exactly what she needs them to do while giving them a bit of confidence (“you guys are going to make this boat fly”) as they get closer to the bridge. I would definitely recommend watching her turn several times through because she nailed it.
At 9:38, “little headwind, swing deep” is a good call. Being able to read the wind and telling the crews how to respond to it is a sign of good coxswain because it shows you’ve got a good technical understanding of the stroke.
Post-Anderson it would have been a good idea to tell them where they are on the crews in front of them. She made a bold statement early on in the race about Notre Dame but hasn’t said anything about them since. Regardless of whether you’ve gained on them or they’ve walked away, you should be letting them know where they are on the competition. They can see the crews following them but they can’t see the crews you’re chasing. Even if you’re out there solo and you’ve got the whole course to yourself, tell them that and then take a move to take advantage of your incredibly lucky situation.
Coming around Eliot she calls for the starboards to give her pressure for three strokes but then ends up needing pressure from them for about 10. It’s always better to overestimate how many strokes it’ll take to do something than to underestimate it because as you can hear, there’s a momentary second of panic in her voice where I bet she was thinking “shit, we’re not going to make it”. In situations like that if you have to keep calling for pressure from one side, help them out by calling the other side down. Other than that she did a great job coming through the bridge. Coming around the Belmont dock you can see how close the hull is to the buoys, which means she set herself up really well for that final turn. One thing that she does particularly well during the race, other than steering, is telling them where they are on the course. I think she pointed out a fair amount of the landmarks, as well as some really important meter-marks. Make sure you look at a map before hand and know where all those things are.
At 15:12 she says she’s got the point for the finish line which is a great thing for the rowers to hear because it means there’s no more steering, they’re in the home stretch, and the ONLY thing all five or nine of you are focused on is driving towards the line. In the end here though, especially within the last 20, you have to stop with the technique calls. This is where all your calls should be about where they are, where the other crews are, how far they are from the line, and any other motivational things you can think of. Hot take here but after Eliot, the technique is either going to be there or it isn’t, and if it’s not it’s going to be really hard for you or them to fix it at this point. This is where all your calls should be about where they are, where the other crews are, how far they are from the line, and any other motivational things you can think of.
Overall I’d say this was pretty good. I would have liked to have heard more variety in her calls but I think she makes up for it (only a little bit though) with her awesome course.
FIT 2011 Head of the Charles Men’s Champ 8+
This coxswain starts out relatively calm but is still sharp (so sharp) and intense with her calls. At 2:51 she does a good job of telling her crew that they’re about to pass MIT and she’s moving to the outside. It might seem insignificant but that’s a good thing to tell your crew (see what I said about using your steering as motivation up above), despite her move here being a little early considering they were still behind them through the Powerhouse. Remember though, you don’t have to pass on the outside. If you want the inside line, the coxswain of the crew you’re passing has to give it up.
I like her call at 7:14 – “it’s time to move through them” to let them know you’re both sitting on each other and it’s time for us to make a move. Same goes for the “I’m taking Weeks before them” call at 7:56.
Coming through the turn, the angle definitely could have been sharper and that’s mostly on the ports to help the starboards out there by backing off so they can bring it around while the coxswain is on the rudder. Ports. I beg of you. When your coxswain says “ease off”, “back off”, etc. DO IT.
At 15:55, she called that shift well – the build into it was calm and then the call for “we’re going for it” was a great way to start the final stretch. I also liked the “now we move” call a little bit later. Overall, well coxed, well steered.
You can find and listen to more recordings by checking out the “Coxswain Recordings” page.