College Coxing High School Racing Recordings

Coxswain Recordings, pt. 24

Resilient Rowing 2013 Head of the Charles Youth 8+ Crash

This is just a short clip of one of the men’s youth eights from 2013. I’m mainly sharing it because none of the other videos showed a crash and the whole point of HOCR is to see which youth eight is going to have the best crash. (That is the point of the regatta … right?)

At 2:04 when he says “I can’t get through, coxswain, yield…” I guar. an. tee you that no one past his like, 7-seat heard that. If you want another crew to yield you need to and yell loud and project. your. voice. Don’t assume that just because you’re talking into a microphone that anyone outside your boat can here you. I honestly think that if he’d just stayed directly behind Duxbury and then had the starboards hit it hard they would have been fine and not collided but youth eights = inexperience so there’s not much you can do. The “fuck you Duxbury” comment though from one of the rowers was pretty unnecessary and definitely would have/should have earned a penalty if an official had heard it.

Middlebury College 2013 Head of the Charles Men’s Collegiate 8+

The start of this piece was pretty sloppy in terms of telling them when to build, where they’re at on the build, etc. I also feel like I would have been confused as a rower because they did two builds … one way before the start and right right before the start. Their stroke rate was a little wonky too. I think the build was supposed to be to a 33 but they were at a 31 and then did a “build” under the bridge to get to a 33 … but then a few strokes later she said “32, good”. It was just all over the place and not as “on point” as it should have been.

As far as when to build, you’ve kinda gotta base your pressure off of the crews in front of you. You don’t want to get closer than a length of open but you don’t want to fall back more than that either (because that’s just more ground you’ll have to make up on the course) so you’ve really got to be paying attention to that while you’re in the chute. You want to be at full pressure by the time you hit the upstream corner of the BU dock since the starting line is the middle of the dock so you should start your build as your bowball passes the last group of trees on the shoreline before the boathouse – to give a reference point in the video it’d be around the 23-24 second mark. Another reference point is the buoy with the yellow flag on it off of the starboard side at 0:24.

Through the first two and a half minutes I’m already tuning out because all I’m hearing is the coxswain embracing her inner cheerleader and making a lot of “you can do it!”, “let’s go!”, “show them what you’ve got!”, “here we go!”, etc. calls. There’s also a lot of “build in two” calls to get the rate back up to a 33 because it keeps falling down to a 31. 

The turn at Weeks could have been sharper – she had room – but she started it about three strokes too late. If you wait until you’re under the bridge to tell your starboards to power it up, you messed up. You’re going to end up taking the turn really wide and then having to snake back over to get a good line through Anderson, which ultimately adds unnecessary seconds and meters to your course.

When she says “don’t let them walk” at 9:45 … I mean, it’s going to happen. It is happening. Make the other crew work for it and focus on pressing together, maintaining your rhythm, holding a solid line, etc. Stop talking so much about the other boat though and focus on your own.

When she calls under 500m to go (from the Belmont dock to the finish line) at 15:20. It’s more like a little over 800m. Also, that is not what half a length of open looks like. A length and a half maybe but not half a length.

Ultimately his one wasn’t the best coxed and wasn’t the best steered. Of all the races you go to in the fall, HOCR is not the one you want to be a cheerleader at (unless you’re on land, in which case … cheer away). Have a plan, know your plan, and try not to make the same calls over and over throughout the race. Don’t spend so much time focusing on other crews either. Your head has to be on a swivel, obviously, but at the same time you’ve also gotta keep your head (and focus) in your own boat.

University of Wisconsin 2013 Head of the Charles Women’s Champ 8+

The audio is slightly out of sync with the strokes so don’t let that throw you off as you’re watching.

Right off the bat, I like how she calls the pressure up and perfectly times “half, three-quarter, full pressure, you’re on” with when their bow crosses the starting line. Something that caught my eye too that I wish she would have made a call for what 6-seat coming out early every stroke. Make sure you don’t get so focused on executing your race plan that you forget to check the blades and make little reminder calls when necessary. Obviously this is harder to do in a four but in an eight there’s no excuse.

At 2:16 she says “we’re right on the buoy line, starboard side…”, which is good for informational purposes but it can also be a strategic motivational call too. This is something I talked about with all of our coxswains when we went through their evaluations last week. Use your steering as quick little bursts of motivation for the rowers. If you’ve got a good line, your riding the buoy line, etc. tell them. Let them know that you’re nailing the course right now so let’s capitalize on that and focus on XYZ. If they know you’re taking care of your responsibilities as far as steering a good course goes, that’s one less thing they have to worry about and more focus they can give to just rowing their asses off. If I’ve learned anything from my own coxing experience and coaching coxswains for the last two and a half years, few things matter more to rowers than their coxswain’s ability to steer a good course. If you’re doing that, don’t be afraid to say so and use that to keep your rowers engaged and on their game.

If you’ve got a SpeedCoach, a call like “we’ve got a 1:58, we’re gonna push it to a 1:55…” is a great way to work the splits into your calls. Make sure you know what splits you’re going for throughout the race too. Holding a consistent split probably isn’t realistic for a lot of crew so know what parts of the course will be a little higher (i.e. the turns) and which parts you can really get after it (i.e. the straight shots through the Powerhouse and after Anderson).

Throughout the rest of this section before Magazine Beach she does an awesome job of telling her crew where they are on the other crew (“we’re walking”, “two lengths of open behind and closing”, etc.) and how they’re doing (“right on rate”, etc.). Keep an eye on her course throughout the whole race too – she nails it.

If you notice them starting to row it in a bit, just make a quick call like she did around 6:57ish (“blades in on this one, GO“) to sharpen things back up. Don’t waste 5-7 strokes by calling for 5 to get the blades in or something like that when you can sharpen it up on this one, particularly if you’re an experienced crew. If you’re a high school crew then go ahead and take a couple strokes to get that focus and sharpness back but college crews … you guys can get that on one stroke. I also liked her call at 7:12ish – “hold your fucking blades in now” or something like that. A coxswain after my own heart.

At 7:31 she tells them that whoever is in front of them is “moving away” and she follows up with “…and we’re responding right now“. That is how you get your crew going. Telling them another crew is walking away from them isn’t a bad thing – you should do that – but THIS is how you follow it up so you can get competitive with that other boat again. She immediately calls for a five for something (I couldn’t hear what) and then finishes it off with “1:49, that’s what I’m talking about!”. Perfect perfect perfect.

Her line coming into Weeks is gooorrrgeousss. I also like how she preps her starboard side (“alright starboards, get ready…”) and then counts it down (“here we go … that’s 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 … on this one“) before bringing it around. She started her turn about three strokes too early, which is why she said she needed “even” for a couple but it didn’t hurt them at all – the overall execution and calls to the starboard side throughout the turn were pretty much flawless.

College coxswains, this is the A-standard. Hands down one of the best college HOCR races I’ve listened to.

Other calls I liked:

“Bigger fucking puddles…”

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

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