Q&A Rowing Teammates & Coaches

Question of the Day

Hi, I’m debating talking to my coach about why I am not in the first boat. I am not trying to be cocky I just want to know what’s preventing me from being in the top boat. I’ve consistently been within top 5 for both raw scores, and weight adjusted on the ergs. My coaches tell me I have a great attitude and I’m assuming my technique is fine because he has never said otherwise, plus I stroke 2V. When we do pieces at most 1V is a seat ahead of us. Do you think asking could come off as egotistical?

There’s definitely a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it but as long as you’re not coming off as whining and “why am I not getting my way, you have no idea what you’re missing, I’m so much better than this person”, I don’t think there’s any harm in you asking. I would actually encourage you to talk to your coach and see what he/she says. If you truly think you’re on par with the rowers in the 1V and your coach doesn’t give any indication that he/she disagrees, I would ask for a seat race.

If your coach gives you a reason or reasons as to why you’re in the 2V, take it in and make an effort to work on whatever things might be keeping you out of the 1V. It’s possible that there’s nothing keeping you out except for the fact that only eight rowers can fit in the boat (which sounds like that might be the case). As annoying as it is, let that motivate you to work harder so that when it comes time to make lineups your coach says “this guy who’s been stroking the 2V has really been stepping up lately, let’s see what he looks like in the 1V”.

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Comments (2)

  1. I have the coxswain version of this problem!
    My coach has started me in the 4+ for the HOCR last year. He pulled me out the day before the Charles in favor of a novice coxswain and didn’t even tell me. The girls in the boat had to tell me. Then, in spring of last year, I started the season in the 1V. We had a great first two races, winning one( beating D1 schools- we’re D3) and beating our PR for the second. I felt I was making massive improvements and the girls were GREAT at giving constructive feedback. Then he pulled me out, put an injured rower in the 1V coxswain seat and kept me bouncing between the 3V, 2V, and sitting out for the rest of the season. This year, he started me in the 1V for a total of 2 practices, pulled me out, and put in a freshman coxswain. She’s had high school experience, so this hurts the least of all the other times, because at least he’s put in someone who knows what she’s doing! Still, the past two years I’ve told myself that I just had to wait and bide my time till I was the most senior cox on the team. Now I am. I don’t know how I should feel. I’m trying to stay calm and rational and not get upset about what boat I’m coxing, or if I’m coxing. A good majority of the rowers prefer me- I don’t want to be mean to our other cox, but doesn’t that count ?
    My coaches blame me for everything- when other coxswains crash, when the cox box is busted, whatever. I tell myself it’s because I’m the most experienced coxswain and I know what I’m doing- but it feels like they don’t see me that way. What should I do?

    1. Hmm. I don’t think my advice would really be any different in your situation. I’d definitely go to his office and talk to him about all of this and get some feedback/insight from him. I don’t think it’s fair that your coaches blame you for things that are out of your control and you really shouldn’t try to justify or rationalize it by saying it’s because you’re the most experienced coxswain. There are definitely responsibilities that go along with being the one with the most experience but being at fault for every minor or major mishap is not one of them.