College Coxing Racing Recordings

Coxswain Recordings, pt. 13

Purdue University 2012 SIRAS Women’s Varsity 8+

The race starts around 2:40. Right off the bat, the only thing I noticed when I was actually watching the video (vs. just listening to it) is how the stroke seat is looking a solid 90 degrees to her left the entire race. Her rowing is pretty unimpressive too – she’s missing a ton of water at the catch because she’s rowing it in nearly every stroke. Even though the coxing was pretty good, I just couldn’t get past this. You have to be paying attention to the bladework and call the rowers out on that (especially when it’s your stroke/stern pair). She does say something at 4:41 about getting the heads in the boat but a couple strokes later the stroke is looking out of the boat again.

At 6:20, I liked how she started the second ten of that twenty with “10 to start off the third 500”. Since that’s usually the hardest part of the race, phrasing it that way kinda gives you a renewed sense of focus and motivation to make those strokes good.

Make sure when you’re saying finish/recovery calls, you’re not calling them at the catch (and vice-versa). She did this with the “send it” call at 6:45. It’s fine to say something like “send it now” with the “send it” part at the catch and the “now” emphasized at the finish but just saying “send it” at the catch is incorrect.

When she calls paddle at the end I was nervous because from it doesn’t look like their bow ball was through the line yet. Even if you hear the horn you should always, always, always row through the line, meaning you don’t call paddle until YOU, the coxswain, are through the line. It’s extra security, just in case.

Other calls I liked:

“Move this boat…”, with regards to keeping the heads in the boat

Purdue University 2013 Men’s Lightweight 8+ vs. Notre Dame JV8+

This coxswain actually emailed me this video a couple months ago to listen to so below is some of what I sent her.

“Overall, this was really good. Your aggression was good but I could see what you meant about it not being as intense had you been in a closer race. When I first started coxing and had leads like that with my boats, I let my intensity come down a little too. After a couple of races I shifted how I did things and instead of “cruising” the rest of the way I completely stopped paying attention to the other boats and focused solely on my crew. Even though you’re beating the other boats handedly doesn’t mean any of the intensity has to go away. If anything, you almost want to get more intense to keep the rowers in it. They can CLEARLY see they’re beating the other crews so it’s easy for them to start to power down but it’s up to you to make sure they stay at 100%.

It’s not so much about “proving” you can win, it’s more about the psychological mindset that it puts the rowers (and us, to an extent) in. If they know that all they have to do is get ahead before you ease off of them, that is what they’ll start to look forward to each race. If you can keep the intensity and aggression in your voice for the whole 2000m they’ll continue to push for the whole 2000m. It’s all psychological. When it comes down to that one race where you have a crew that’s pushing you down the entire course, you’ll be better prepared to fight them off if you can mentally go 2000m instead of 750m or 1500m. Make sense? Obviously there are exceptions, like if you’re in a qualifying race and all you’ve got to do is place to advance. At that point  you want to conserve some energy so you can go all out during the final. If you’ve got a lead on a crew like you did during this race, it’s OK to back off a little as long as you don’t completely turn the gas off and let the other crew(s) come back on you. When that happens it turns into a frantic situation that results in the rowers expending more energy than they otherwise would have needed to.”

At 1:23 they take a 10 after the start, which is an odd/unnecessary move (literally and figuratively). If you notice you’re even with another crew and you want to make a move, use the settle to walk. After the start (high stroke rate and settle) you want to give the rowers a chance to get into their rhythm. If you go straight from the start into a power 10, especially one that doesn’t have a direct end goal, it makes things slightly frantic again and doesn’t give them a chance to actually settle into the rhythm they just tried to establish.

When she tells them at 1:58 that Notre Dame had moved over a lane, that would have been a good point to take a 10 or 20 to capitalize on their coxswain’s steering error. Coxing is the ultimate form of psychological warfare – when another coxswain gives you the opportunity to take advantage of their mistakes, take it.

Jumping ahead to the end of the race, when she says “last few strokes” they actually took 17 before they crossed the line. If you say “last few” they’re most likely going to assume that means 5 or less. Try and be specific. If you don’t know how many strokes are left, guess, but don’t say something general like “last few”.

You can find and listen to more recordings by checking out the “Coxswain Recordings” page.

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Comments (17)

  1. Fame and fortune! The Vesta HOCR race is me 🙂 Such a great weekend for us, we travelled over from London for 5 days and it was such fun. Missed it this year but hoping to be back in 2014.