So I’m a novice coxswain and I’m really not athletic. The other coxswains told me that during winter training we do everything the rowers do but because I haven’t been erging and working out with the team, I’m scared I won’t be able to keep up with them. What should I do?
One of the benefits of being a coxswain is that you don’t necessarily have to have the same amount of athletic prowess as the rowers. Some coxswains are extremely athletic and participate in other sports besides crew (I did) and some aren’t. It’s really not a big deal. No one, not even your coach, expects you to be going as hard at the workouts as the rowers are, so don’t ever feel like you’re “behind” or not as good as the rowers.
If you haven’t been erging or working out with them, it’s fine. Don’t try and match the level that they’re at but still put some effort into whatever you’re doing. Do things at your pace. If you can’t erg below a 2:30 split without dying, then don’t! If your steady state pace is a 2:40, then row at a 2:40. If you’re doing calisthenics and core workouts, PUSH YOURSELF. These exercises are great because there’s no weights involved and you’re just using your body – everyone can do them.
While getting in shape and physically fit is a great motivator for working out with the team, your coaches are probably watching to see how well you interact and can keep the team motivated when you’re doing the same workouts as them. You could be the most miserable person in the room but you’re the coxswain…you’ve got to put on a happy face and find what it takes to keep everyone else going. They also want to see your leadership skills at work…can you get everyone started and lead them through the workouts or do you slink back and all hell break loose?
Don’t be nervous. Keep an open mind and go into it with a positive attitude. Don’t feel defeated before you even start…remember, your attitude at the beginning of a task determines how successful you are at completing it.