Hello! Sorry if this is a dumb question but I was wondering, what does it mean when coxswains say “cha”? Thank you!
Definitely not a dumb question. I didn’t know what this was for the longest time in high school.
“Cha” is just one of the words we use to help set or re-establish the rhythm in the boat. Some coxswains actually say “cha” or “ja” and really enunciate the “ch/j” sound whereas others say “ssshhhh-uh” and really build into the final “uh” syllable. If you’re trying to actually say that, you don’t say “shh” then “uh” like they’re two separate words, rather you say it as one word with a really sharp, aggressive kick at the end when you get to the “uh” part.
All in all though it’s exactly the same as saying “kick send“, “jump together“, “legs squeeze“, etc. I’m not a huge fan of using it myself (I’m more of a “ssshhhh-uh” person than a “cha” person anyways) but on the rare occasion when I do incorporate it (usually during hard pieces or long steady state rows) I’ll say something like “legs [at the catch], ssshhhh-uh [through the arms + finish]”, which usually gets blended together and comes out as “leeegssssshhhh-uh“, or if I’m calling a five or ten then I’ll say “1 ssshhhh-uh, 2 ssshhhh-uh, 3 ssshhhh-uh…” if I really want them to think about the rhythm. I also use it if I need something to say but don’t know what to say, can’t think of anything, and/or want to break things up if I feel like I’m starting to get repetitive.
Related: Race skills: All about Power 10s
I’ll also use it if I’m trying to focus on the bladework to figure out if I need to make a technical call but don’t want to put too much effort/brainpower into making actual calls while I’m trying to focus on/analyze something else. Normally when I use this though I never call it for more than three strokes in a row at most (unless I’m only calling a five, like I talked about in the post linked above), which is pretty standard for me with the majority of my calls.