Coxing Q&A Teammates & Coaches

Question of the Day

Hello! I was wondering if you have any tips for when you feel burned out with coxing. I just don’t feel like I’m really doing my best in the boat and I feel like I have rowers who do not appreciate me or all the stress that I’m putting in to be the best I can be. I’m not getting any feedback even though I repeatedly ask for it and just don’t feel like a respected part of the team and while I love this sport I don’t really know what to do.

It’s easy to get burned out on coxing, especially when you’re trying to get better and feel like you’re hitting a wall with every attempt you make. When it comes to asking feedback, more often times than not the reason you’re not getting any is because you’re not asking the right questions. That may or may not be the case here but whenever you talk to your rowers (or coaches), ask them about one or two specific things rather than just “how did I do today”.

Related: Okay. I know you have gotten questions like this before but how do I get people to respect me as a coxswain? I mean I’m fairly knowledgeable, I know how to correct people’s technique and how to work with them to improve. I do most of the workouts with the team but I feel like there is something about me that makes them not respect me. I’m a camp counselor over the summer and I feel like the campers don’t really respect my authority either.

For example, if you’ve been working on your technical eye say something like “I’ve been trying to get better at spotting and calling out technical issues, particularly when we’re going through drills. Today I was focused on the catch and wanted to know if you had any feedback on the calls I was making – were they still too vague or do you think they were better at pointing out the issues and what changes had to be made?” The caveat to asking the rowers stuff like this is that there’s a 50-50 chance they’ll say “uh…I wasn’t paying attention sooo…” or “I don’t remember…”. To combat that it’s best to talk to a couple rowers before you go out and say “this is what I’m working on today, can you give me some feedback after practice?” and then approach them again later once you’re off the water. The same idea applies to your coach when it comes to stuff like steering, developing a better understanding of drills and workouts, etc. The more specific your questions the better the feedback you get will be.

Related: Hey, This past spring season was my first season and I am a novice coxswain. Now I am training with mostly varsity kids for the summer. I want to be be able to get them to respect me but I am really short and weak. I have already tried working out with them. Is there any other way to get their respect? Also, what are some drills that I can do on the water when I am waiting for my coach so my rowers aren’t just sitting around? Thanks for the help!

As far as not feeling like a respected member of the team, talk to your team captains about this (if you have any) and explain why you feel that way. If you don’t have team captains or a varsity rower/coxswain you feel comfortable talking to, approach your coach and ask to meet with them one-on-one. Tell them how you’re feeling and that the result of everything is that you feel really burned out and aren’t sure where to go from here. Hopefully they’ll be able to give you some advice on ways they feel you can improve that you might not have thought of yet and how to work towards earning the respect of the rowers. The thing about coxing is that you have to accept early on that pretty much no one is going to know what you’re doing off the water to get better so you have to take all that behind the scenes work and manifest it into actual actions  on the water … otherwise you’ll just come across as all talk and no game and people will wonder why you’re so stressed for seemingly no reason.

Related: This kind of sounds weird, but I’m a novice coxswain, how do I get my boat to respect me? I feel like (with the exception of calls related to steering and drills) they don’t listen to anything I say in the boat. They talk a lot and I tell them not to but they continue to. They point stuff out to me on the water that I can clearly see and I just feel like they are always yelling at me and telling me what to do. Sometimes I just need to make a decision but I can’t if everyone is yelling at me. I don’t know what to do. I’m learning but the coaches don’t really help me out. Most of the things I’ve learned about coxing I’ve learned from other coxswains on the team or your blog. Do you know how to fix this and get the rowers to listen to me?

If worst comes to worst, you can always take some time off to clear your head and figure out what your next move is. Sometimes taking time off is a good solution because it lets you look at things more objectively whereas when you’re stressed and irritated it’s harder to see where you can do things better/differently. You might also come to the conclusion that as much as you love coxing, the team environment isn’t giving you what you need to make continuing to cox worth it and that walking away from the sport is your best option. The good thing is that we’re nearing the end of the fall season which means you’ll likely have some time to do this before winter training picks up or if your team doesn’t do winter training, you’ll have plenty of time to think about all this before the spring season rolls around.

Leave a Comment

Comments (1)