Coxing Ergs Q&A

Question of the Day

When we write down erg scores/times, I never fail to copy one down wrong. Ugh. Any advice? I know it’s SO simple but…

Trust me, you’re not the only coxswain to have a brain malfunction while trying to write down splits, times, watts, average stroke rate, etc. Multiply all of that by 25+ rowers and you’re bound to make a mistake. It happens, you’ve  just gotta make sure to minimize the number of times it does so that time’s not being wasted and the data the coaches are getting is accurate.

My friends and I came up with a “system” in high school to make writing everything down easier, simpler, and faster. We had a similar system in college too that made the process a lot smoother, especially since there were twice as many rowers to collect data for. In addition to all this, another thing that helps is dividing up the rowers amongst the coxswains, i.e I’ll take the front row, you take the second row, and so on, that way you’re not rushing around trying to get everyone done.


All the ergs are numbered, 1-x. Each erg must be full, meaning it can’t go someone on 2, someone on 3, no one on 4, someone on 5, etc. That’s what always trips me up when I’m writing stuff down. When they sit down, I write each person’s name down beside their erg number. Once I’ve written their name down, they can’t switch ergs. While they’re erging, each coxswain makes a “table” for whatever we’re supposed to be writing down so we can quickly fill it in when they’re done. Also, if for example you’re taking splits and time, make sure the order you have them written down in is the same across the board, that way when you give your coach the numbers or they look at the sheets they don’t have three pieces of paper that have splits written down first and one that has their overall time down first.


#1 rule, no one is allowed to leave their erg until their stuff has been written down. This just ensures no one gets skipped or erg #5’s times are written down in erg #4’s place. I make sure the screen that displays everything is up so I can get time, splits, meters, etc. off of it all at once without having to waste time cycling though them. If I’ve gotta write down watts, which isn’t on the main screen, it’s always written down last and is always listed last on my table. All the info on the main screen I take down in the order it’s displayed. Time goes down first, since it’s at the top, then splits, then whatever else, that way I don’t get confused as to whether I just wrote splits in the time column or time in the splits column.

Also, take your time. Be quick about it obviously but don’t rush to the point where you’re being sloppy, can’t read what you’ve written, or aren’t looking carefully at what you’re writing down. Don’t let the rowers mess with their screens either. If they want to look at something just tell them to wait until you’re done so they aren’t in the way and/or slowing you down. Also, double check everything before moving on to the next erg. #1 rule of coxing, better safe than sorry.

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Comments (2)

  1. A related question from the rower’s standpoint – if this has happened to you (the coxswain miswrote your score, and you know for sure that there is an error) is it appropriate to inform the coach of the error? I’m obsessive about my splits/times/all that stuff, and I’d be pretty upset if the coxswain messed up the data when reporting it to the coach, especially considering he posts scores.

    1. Definitely! If you know you got a certain score and it gets reported wrong, you should say something. If you’ve got some proof that shows you’re not just trying to make yourself look better, that is even more helpful. Take a quick picture of the screen if you’ve got your phone nearby or write down your splits if you’ve got a pen and scrap piece of paper. I encourage rowers to keep track of their results anyways so they can track their progress. Having it as backup in cases like this is just a bonus.

      I wouldn’t blame you for being upset if things were misreported. You should always feel free to double check with the coxswain to make sure you’ve got the same numbers written down, but remember that he/she is writing down a LOT and the possibility of a mistake is inevitable. Just be polite about it and ask if you guys can check the memory to see who’s correct, that way the right stuff is given to the coach.