Coxing Masters Q&A

Question of the Day

Our (predominantly) Masters club rows out of a college boathouse and we have been fortunate enough over the years to have some of their coxes cox for us over the summer. Now it seems we need to “grow our own” as the college rowers are less available and the subject of a coxswain clinic has come up. Do you have any suggestions about how to structure this clinic?

I think the simplest way to do it would be to advertise it to any/all local coxswains, partner up with the college coxswains you’ve been working with to have them teach part/all of it, and make it known that the masters club also just happens to be looking for coxswains.

Structure-wise, I’d probably make it a three-hour thing on the weekend (like 9-12pm) or since it’s the summer, something in the afternoon/evening (say, 2-5pm or 4-7pm). Regardless of whether the people you bring in are total novices, experienced coxswains, masters rowers-turned-coxswains, etc. I think it’s worthwhile to start off with something like this, that way everyone knows right off the bat where motivation falls on the hierarchy of things people expect coxswains to do (hint: it’s not even remotely close to being your most important responsibility), and/or this, again just so they can get a sense of what their priorities should be. It can also serve as a good reminder for the experienced coxswains that execution and steering trump everything else.

From there I’d just keep things simple and talk about the basics of steering, boat handling (aka how to get it out of the boathouse and into the water (PS that’s a good post to share with the novice coxswains you know)), and what the stroke actually looks like. I don’t think you need to get super in-depth with any of the technical stuff because that can get boring (fast) and it’s just not necessary (yet) for what you’re trying to do. I would also spend a bit of time at the end talking about the masters program, what you’re looking for, who would be eligible to work with you (i.e. anyone, only people two years of coxing experience, etc.) and then get a list of emails/phones numbers from everyone so you can stay in contact with the people who are interested in coxing for you.

Definitely get the college coxswains involved though. You’re more likely to attract junior coxswains that way and it can be reassuring to masters rowers-turned-coxswains to hear from people who actually know what they’re talking about (vs. just having another adult who’s maybe “coxed” three times explain what coxing is all about).

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Comments (2)

  1. I haven’t followed all your links yet, but I want to mention that to encourage participation by coxswains in our masters club everyone in the boat tries to chip in a few dollars for our summer college coxswains and we sign community service paperwork for the high school students.

    1. Oh yea, paying your coxswains is a HUGE incentive if you’re trying to entice new people to join the team. You have to be careful though if they’re in college because they can run into compliance issues, especially if they’re D1. I like the community service idea for the high school kids … I never would have thought of that!