College Coxing Q&A Teammates & Coaches

Question of the Day

My transition from novice to varsity has been a nightmare. I was the top novice cox, but my coaches told me the highest they’d boat me was 3V b/c I’m a senior and they want to ‘invest’ in training younger coxes. My rowers from last year are on V8/JV8 & I never get to see them. I had a panic attack 2 weeks ago from being switched into the worst boat. There are too many coxes on the team & I feel like it doesn’t matter if I’m there or not. Is it time to quit? How should I tell my coaches/team?

Aw man, that sucks, I’m sorry. To an extent I guess I can understand the coaches wanting to “invest” in training the coxswains that will be able to race at the varsity level for more than one season but I don’t think that means you should just write off another coxswain just because they’re older. You should invest equal amounts of time in training all your coxswains, regardless of what year they’re in, and then decide what boat they’ll cox the same way you would any other time – evaluations, observations, etc. It’s really frustrating when it doesn’t work out that way. It doesn’t exactly put forth the message that “you’re a valuable part of the team”…instead it says “great, now that we’ve got somebody to throw in that boat we don’t really care about we won’t have to worry about putting any of our good coxswains in there”. Everybody needs to cox the 3V at some point, regardless of how good of a coxswain they are. It teaches humility and punches down the ego a bit, which is something that coxswains tend to need every so often.

If you don’t feel like you’re going to have any opportunities to compete for the V8+ or  JV8+ and that your time isn’t being well spent while you’re at practice then I would say you have a good reason to talk to your coaches. If you think those reasons are good enough reasons to walk away from the sport, then that’s your choice. I’d think about the next few months, getting ready for college, all that fun stuff, and ask yourself if crew is going to be “good stress” on top of all of that or if it’s going to be something that causes “bad stress”. You don’t have to say anything to the “team” if you don’t want to. If you just want to tell your friends that you don’t feel like crew is working out for you, then do that. I’d save all your actual reasons for your coach(es) and tell them the same thing, although maybe elaborate a little more so that they understand that you have legitimate reasons for quitting and that you’re not just throwing a temper tantrum because you’re not getting the boat you want.

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