I feel like I’ve been regressing. The coaches put me in good boats at the beginning of the season but I feel like they’re losing their faith in me and I’m slipping down to “worse” boats. Coxes who were on lower boats last year are now being boated higher. Every outing seems to be worse than the previous and I just feel no motivation at practice. I want to take a break but I’ll basically destroy my chances at getting a good boat even more if I take leave. Any advice?
Have you talked to your coaches about why you’re being boated in the lower boats? That would be my first piece of advice. They could be boating you down for a few reasons. A common reason is that they want an experienced coxswain to work with the lower boats so that there will be at least one person in the boat who knows what’s going on and the coaches don’t have to worry about dealing with inexperienced rowers and inexperienced coxswains, which can be frustrating for everyone. For coxswains that don’t know this this their intent, it can be pretty irritating because it comes off as them being moved down for no reason.
Another reason, on the opposite end of the spectrum, is that they’re hoping it’ll be a wake-up call to you, for whatever reason. Personally I’m not a fan of doing that (because I think it can send the wrong message to the rowers in that boat) but I see why coaches do it and see how it’s the right decision sometimes. It’s possible that they keep moving you down because they see you’re unmotivated and they’re hoping that continually being put in lower boats (that are below your skill level) will motivate you to do better so you can be back in the boats you belong in, although if that’s the case it sounds like it’s backfiring (which is why I’m not a fan of this method).
I’ve definitely had days, as a coxswain and a coach, where I show up to practice completely unmotivated to do anything. It’s so frustrating when you can feel how unmotivated you are but don’t know what to do differently to make things better. I would say that regardless of what boat you have and how good they are or aren’t, cox them in a way that allows you to come off the water saying to yourself that you helped them get better at XYZ today. Nothing is too small. Some days your practices are just going to be total shit and you’ve gotta accept that that’s going to happen but still be able to look at that practice and say “this didn’t go very well, this is what I’m going to do differently tomorrow” and then go out and actually do something different the next day. The more positive days you can rack up the more motivated you’ll find yourself becoming. Talk to your coaches though about why they’ve been putting you with those boats and what they’d like to see you do so you can get back with the boats you want to be with.