College Coxing Drills High School Racing Recordings

Coxswain recordings, pt. 9

Dartmouth Heavyweights Pause Drill

This is a long video – almost 15 minutes – but if you’re looking to improve your technical skills then I’d definitely spend some time watching this one, listening to what the coach and coxswain are saying, and matching that up with what you’re seeing with the blades. They’re doing pause drills by 6s (and later all eight) with some continuous (occasionally quarter-feather) rowing in between.

Regarding the actual drills, coxing pause drills isn’t that tough but a common question that comes up is how to transition between pairs while you’re pausing and the beginning here is a good example of how to do that. She’s not saying a ton besides “go” but I assume that’s only because the coach is right there actively giving the crew feedback. If he wasn’t talking as much or they were by themselves I assume she’d be making more regular calls beyond telling them when to take a stroke.

Another reason why I like having my recorder on me as much as possible is so I can go back later and listen to everything the coach is saying and actually absorb the things he’s pointing out so I can incorporate it into my own calls later on. Examples from this recording include:

Change direction at the front end without the bodies collapsing down

Take your time from the finish through the pivot

Establish your length through the pause

All basic stuff but it’s a good habit to take the things your coach is saying and include them verbatim (or close to it) within your own calls to reiterate what they’re trying to teach and to show that you’re actually engaged with what’s going on and not just zoning out when you’re not the one making the calls.

Dartmouth Heavyweights Practice Starts

This is a great drill to do with any crew but particularly novice/less experienced ones since doing starts with them tends to look similar to an octopus having a seizure. The focus is on refining each stroke of the start at low pressure before progressively adding speed and power.

Jesuit Dallas Lightweight 8+ 2013 Youth Nationals Petite Final

There were two main things that I took away from this recording. After a few minutes I got bored because a lot of the calls were the same – stand on it, push, let’s go, big press, etc. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t tune out a few times, open up a new tab, start scrolling through Twitter, and then realize that I missed 45+ seconds of audio. This is one of the reasons why I encourage coxswains to record themselves. If you listen to your recording and find yourself getting bored, how do you think the rowers feel?

Another important takeaway from this is that you can’t go on race-mode autopilot and forget about everything else. There were a fair number of strokes where it 7-seat’s blade wasn’t buried all the way and was washing out at the finish. For as often as the coxswain was looking over to port I was waiting for him to say something about it but he never did. There isn’t a rule barring you from calling out technical issues during a race – if something isn’t right you’ve gotta say something otherwise you’re giving away tiny amounts of speed to the other crews with every stroke that add up over the course of 2000 meters.

At 2:16 he says “two seats up on first place” … so, you’re in first place? A better thing to say would be “we’ve moved into first, two seats up on second”. Also, at the end they definitely stopped rowing before they crossed the finish line. The general rule of thumb is that you don’t call them down to paddle until you have crossed the line, that way you can sure that you’re actually over.

Other calls I liked:

“Time to find that next gear…”

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

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