College Coxing High School Racing Recordings

Coxswain recordings, pt. 2

St. Ignatius (USA) vs. Shrewsbury (GBR) 2006 Henley Royal Regatta

Something I like that this coxswain does is tell them when they lost a seat and WHY. The subtle shock in his voice when he says “they’re challenging US?!” is great because that kind of tonal change in his voice gets the rowers thinking about it and ready to make a move to stop the challenge.

He also doesn’t lie at ANY point during this race – when they start moving, he lets his crew know that Shrewsbury is walking on them and it is not acceptable. Once he tells them to push the rate up they start making their move and he tells them every time they take a seat while continuing to ask for more on every stroke – “7 seats, gimme 8!”

Something I wouldn’t do that he did was count out the timing like he did at the start of the race – not just because it’s pretty amateur but also because at this rate, it’s not going to make much, if any, of a difference. There are way more effective ways of doing that than saying “2-3-4 cha”.

Other calls I liked:

“Let them burn their wheels…”

“Show them the thunder…”

“Load up on the catch, drive the legs, send it back…”

Bucknell Men’s Freshman 8+ vs. Holy Cross

At the start of the recording you’ll hear him say “My hand is up. I have my point. My hand is down.”, which is something you should get in the habit of doing as you’re getting your point before the start of each race.

When he calls the sneak attack at 3:07, there wasn’t really anything “sneaky” or subtle about it because he was yelling out the numbers like he was with every other ten they took. If you’re gonna take a move like that, it’s gotta be a pre-planned thing that you’ve discussed and practiced ahead of time so that all you have to do is say a phrase or a word and the crew knows that the next ten strokes is that move. Your tone and calls should remain normal and not give away that you’re taking a surprise move.

Other calls I liked:

“We do not sit…”

Radnor Lightweight 8+ Mid-Atlantic Regionals 2012

First thing I have to say about this video isn’t even about the coxing … it’s about the stroke. Seven strokes into the starting sequence and he’s already looking out of the boat and he does it throughout the entire race. This coxswain does a decent job of telling the crew where they are in relation to the other crews so there really shouldn’t be any reason for the stroke to be looking out of the boat like that.

One call he made that I liked goes back to the stroke looking out of the boat – he said “heads forward, I got your back”. When I see rowers looking out of the boat I automatically assume that there must be a some reason why they don’t trust their coxswain, otherwise why aren’t they listening to him when he tells them where they are? Establishing trust between yourself and your crew is critical in times like this. The only other thing I would have done is said the stroke’s name so that he gets that he’s talking to him.

He took several tens but there was one spot where I think a move could have helped them … he says “Morristown is fading” and then goes back into his regular calls. Don’t do that! If you can see a crew is fading, make a move and capitalize on it. Another thing that he said a lot was “top 3”, he wanted to be in the “top 3”. Instead of being saying that, I would have added an extra punch of motivation by saying “We’re sitting in 4th by five seats, let’s go for 3rd. In two we take a ten to even up the bowballs, ready to go, on this one.” I think specifics like that are important when you’re sitting just off the podium.

Something he does a lot that I would really caution you to avoid doing is saying “I want…” or “get me…”. Separating yourself from the crew like that just makes it seem like you’re a slave driver or something who’s just there to tell them what to do. You have just as much responsibility for getting your bow ball ahead as they do so whatever calls you make should be “let’s do X” or ” we want Y”. Calls like “I want a medal” are bullshit because you’re making it all about you and that’s not the case.

One quick note about the rowing – if you watch the stroke, you can see him losing his neck and hunching his shoulders at the catch and on the first part of the drive. If you see that, make sure you point it out and remind them to stay horizontal, engage the lats, unweight the hands, etc. so they’re not wasting energy by engaging the wrong muscles.

Other calls I liked:

“We’re clicking on all cylinders…”

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

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