Tag: college

College Coxing Q&A Teammates & Coaches

Question of the Day

Hi! I’m in my third year of coxing in college. I coxed the 2V my first two years but this fall I was moved up to the 1V. There are a few other coxswains on our team but honestly, most of them don’t know what they’re doing and won’t put in effort to improve. I’ve noticed that when I’m occasionally put back into the 2V (which is mainly made up of the same rowers as last year’s 2V) for practice, the rowers have lost a lot of technique. Stroke seat (who was my stroke in the 2V last year) has told me that the other coxswains don’t know how to correct technique and will either ignore it or tell them to do the wrong thing. She has also said that the coxswains don’t know how to call pieces and aren’t helping them get to the stroke rate or split they need to be at. I also found out that several of 2V rowers no longer trust coxswains because the other coxswains have constantly lied to them about stroke rate, split, distance, time, etc.

What can I do for them? I love the 2V; it has a special place in my heart and I’ve had some of my best races and practices in that boat. I really want them to do well this spring, because we were amazing last year, but they don’t seem to be on that track now. Several rowers have talked to our coaches about how those coxswains are negatively affecting their boat but our coaches don’t seem to be very concerned and haven’t done anything to help. They’ve also talked to these coxswains but they get offended and defensive when the rowers ask them to change things. I really want to see the 2V do well this year but I don’t know what to do at this point for them.

I have a lot of thoughts on this so it’s gonna be kinda long.

First, this obviously doesn’t have anything to do with you but to any coaches who are reading, if you’re seriously that lazy or unbothered by your athletes coming to you and saying “this is a problem … help“, you really shouldn’t have to think too hard at the end of the season about why certain crews underperformed. You’re part of the problem.

I agree with the point you’re getting at, that the coxswains play a  role in how good (or not good) the rowers technique is, but I do think a line’s gotta be drawn somewhere. The rowers regressing in their technique can’t totally be put on the shoulders of the coxswains, regardless of how inept they are. There’s a lot of personal responsibility that has to be factored in there and if they’re not making some kind of effort off the water to work on whatever technical issues they’re having, then their own inaction is just as much to blame as the coxswains not taking their jobs seriously in pointing this stuff out.

As far as wanting the 2V to do well – I get that. I respect the fact that you want to help them but keep in mind that they’re not your primary boat anymore, even if you are occasionally switching between them and the 1V. I’ve been in that position before too, as I’m sure plenty of other coxswains have, and all that willing your old boat to do well does is distract you from coxing the boat you’re actually in.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you shouldn’t help them but it should be less about the 2V specifically and more about helping the other coxswains get their shit together. You can’t complain about other people’s ignorance and then contribute to it by not sharing what you know. You’re in the 1V, presumably you know what your team’s top 3-5 technical focuses are, how to compare and contrast what you’re seeing and feeling vs. what you should be seeing and feeling, how to call a piece, how to get the crew on rate, how to earn your crew’s trust, and most importantly, how to check your ego and learn the difference between critiques and criticisms. So … share that.

And yea, I get that you and half the coxswains reading are probably thinking “…but if they have shitty attitudes and aren’t even gonna try, then what do I do?”, to which I say nothing. You do nothing. I say this to our coxswains all the time: if it gets to the point where I’m putting in more effort than you are to help you get better, I’m walking away and you’re on your own. I actually did that with one of our coxswains this past spring and it sucked and I felt like a dick but the  point was made pretty quickly that they needed to get over themselves and actually take the advice and feedback that was being given otherwise they were gonna continue to be perpetually disappointed with their standing on the team. It’s my job to share my experiences, explain stuff, and give you the “tools” to figure it out on your own. It’s not my job to will you to care, tell you what you want to hear, or spoon feed you so you can avoid having to do any actual work.

Before you approach them, go to your coaches and get them on board with you working with the other coxswains. Don’t ask if it’s OK or if they mind or whatever, just put on your assertive varsity coxswain adult pants and say “hey, I wanna meet with all the coxswains at X time on Y date at Z location to go over some of the technical stuff we’ve been working on this week, can you make that announcement at the end of practice?”. That’s literally – literally – all you need to say. Hopefully having them say something will get the coxswains’ attention and add an air of legitimacy to what you’re trying to do (since that can sometimes get lost when you try to organize it on your own).

Whenever you meet with them, rather than trying to do a deep dive right off the bat, just talk to them. Sure, there’s a chance that they actually are as apathetic and pissy as the rowers imply but in my experience, at least a third of them are that way because no one’s ever bothered to sit down and explain anything to them. So, start by figuring out where they’re at. I usually try to do this by asking what 2-3 things they’re struggling the most with and then follow up by asking what I can do for them, rather than asking what they need help with. That’s what works best for me personally because it feels less burdensome on the other person than if I were to just ask for help outright. Plus, if you ask me what I need help with, more than likely I’m not gonna have any idea how to respond because I’m too frustrated to have any coherent idea of the stuff I don’t know … I just know that I don’t know it.

Once you’ve got an idea of where their weaknesses lie, parse it down into more manageable chunks (i.e. the basics of bladework, body positioning, etc. instead of just “technique”) and find a time that works for everyone so you can meet to talk about it. This doesn’t need to be some super formal thing either – when I do this with our coxswains we either hang out in the boathouse lounge during practice while the guys are doing steady state or we’ll grab breakfast afterwards and talk while we eat. You should make it clear though that you want to help them get better, not just for their own sake but for the team’s as well, and that you’re happy to be a resource but the onus is on them to actually apply the stuff you’re helping them with. Like I said before, if you start putting more work in than they are, walk away.

If after all that nothing changes, go back to your coaches and have a serious sit-down conversation with them. Explain the issues the rowers have with the coxswains and that you attempted a solution without much luck so now it’s their turn to address the problem. Obviously you can rephrase the latter part of that to whatever you think will make your point the best. At some point though they’ve gotta take the hint that they need say something to the coxswains directly about their performance and it needs to go beyond the same half-assed, immediately written off “you need to do better” platitudes that tend to get thrown out in situations like this.

College Q&A Rowing

Question of the Day

Hi Kayleigh! I’m getting pretty nostalgic as I’ve been following you since my high school days! But in a few weeks I begin my final season as a competitive rower. I started back in 2009 and instantly fell in love and haven’t looked back. I know that I can coach and row masters, but it’s just not the same. My heart is already breaking thinking about how this is the end of the line for me unless by some miracle I get accepted into a U23 program and can further delay said retirement. Do you have any tips on coming to terms with my impending retirement and coping with “post competition depression”? (I believe that’s what Google called it.)

Totally feel ya on this. I felt the same way, that being on the water coaching was the next logical step but it wouldn’t fill the void of not coxing on a regular basis. I tried coxing a few masters crews and … it sucked, honestly. I knew it wouldn’t be the same as coxing people my own age who have similar levels of competitive fire but I thought that as long as I was coxing and doing something I loved it wouldn’t matter. That wasn’t the case so I stopped and threw myself into coaching. The fact that it was something new motivated me in a lot of the same ways that coxing did, which helped me not miss it as much since I wasn’t coxing much outside of HOCR and whenever whoever I was coaching needed me to hop in a boat.

Once I started the blog and definitely once I got to MIT though, that urge to regularly go out and cox dwindled a lot. I’ll still jump at the chance to get in a boat and I love when I get to go out and cox our guys but being given the opportunity to coach our coxswains and do all the stuff I do on here and behind the scenes with the blog fulfills me just as much, if not more, than actually coxing does. That’s something I’ve really struggled with too because it’s like, if you really love coxing (or rowing) isn’t that what you’d want to be doing instead of this tangential stuff like coaching, blogging, etc.

I don’t know if it’s different for rowers but one of the things I love most about my role is that feeling of being useful and making an impact and those were some of the things that I thought I’d miss the most, outside of the obvious stuff like racing. I knew that if I was going to try to stay involved with the sport without regularly being in a boat myself I’d have to find other ways of experiencing those same feelings if pursuing coaching as a career was going to be worth it. That’s probably the biggest suggestion I can offer, regardless of whether you think you might want to try coaching or move on completely to something new – think of the top two or three qualities, feelings, whatever that you love most about rowing and see if you can get involved in something that fulfills those same things.

You’re lucky in that you know now that you’re down to your last few months as a collegiate athlete. You can say right now that this is going to be your best season – “last one, fast one”, as they say – so that when you get out of the boat for the last time you have absolutely no regrets. Having that closure will, I promise you, make the transition easier. Well, maybe not easier necessarily but less emotional because you’ll know that you left everything you had on the water, every stroke you took throughout the season was the best one you could have taken, and the people you did it with made you better in every way imaginable.

If you’ve already got a job lined up (or even if you don’t), see if there are any local universities nearby where you can be a volunteer assistant. I could go on for days about how great of an experience the last three years have been for me and even though there are definitely some downsides, you get to experience the sport from an entirely new perspective which, like I said earlier, fills the void of not being in a boat as regularly as you once were. Plus, I know several rowers who are volunteer assistants who continue to train out of the boathouses they’re at and are still competitive and making plans to try out for the national team in the coming year. It can be done.

Once the season ends, take some time off – like, some real time off – and let your body and mind decompress. It’s easy to think now that there’s no possible way you can live without rowing but even though it might feel like that’s coming from a rational and relatively unemotional place, it probably isn’t. Once you’ve had time to clear your head and relax, you might look at it differently and realize that having all this “free time” is actually pretty awesome, which means you can try new things or pursue something that you didn’t have time for before. Bottom line, one door is closing and another is opening … and that’s OK. Enjoy your final season and don’t let stuff that’s 5-6 months away get in the way of that.

College Q&A Recruiting

Question of the Day

Do you have any advice on how to deal with getting offers during official visits (particularly when you have more in the coming weeks/month)?

Just approach it the same way you would when you’re going on job interviews (which I get you might not have done a lot of yet if you’re only in high school) – say thanks, let them know where you’re at in the process with the other people you’re talking to, and find out when they would need an answer from you.

This past weekend was, for most teams, only the first or second weekend of official visits so if you got an offer then the coaches have to know, or at least assume, that you’ve got a few more scheduled in the coming weeks. I can’t imagine they’d push you for an answer right away but they’re probably hoping that by putting it out there before everyone else that that will help sway you a little bit. I’d keep that in mind, assuming it’s one of your top choices, but don’t let it influence your other visits. Collect as much info as you can from all the teams you visit/coaches you talk with and give yourself plenty of options so you can make the best decision possible.

College Coxing Q&A

Question of the Day

Hi Kayleigh! I’m a bit confused on filling out recruiting forms as a coxswain. A fair amount of the schools I’m looking at have men’s heavyweight, men’s lightweight, and women’s rowing; if I’m open to coxing all three, do I fill out all three even though it’s at the same school? Thanks so much!

Yes, just be prepared for them to ask you early on which one you want to cox for. Even if right now you’re open to coxing any of the three, don’t just say “I don’t know” or something equally vague because that just makes coaches (at least the ones I’ve worked with and heard say this) think that you have no clue what you want. You should prioritize them based on your level of interest (and ideally narrow it down to two before you get too far into the process), that way you can tell coaches that you’re interested in all three, right now this is your order of preference, you’re hoping to learn more and narrow it down further over the next few months, etc.

Five things to do as a novice coxswain

College Coxing High School Teammates & Coaches

Five things to do as a novice coxswain

If you’re new to the sport of rowing and got tapped to be a coxswain, here’s a few things you should do to help make sure your first few weeks go smoothly.

Establish a relationship with your coach

Don’t be intimidated by them. Communication and trust are intangible assets when it comes to the coach-coxswain relationship so establishing them early on in your career can only help you. Talk to them regularly before and after practice and find out things like how they like to run practice. Coaches will vary on how much involvement they have, as well as how much involvement they’ll want from you when you’re just starting out. It’s definitely their responsibility to tell you this stuff up front but some won’t or will forget so take the initiative and ask yourself.

Listen and learn

Observe everything. Ask lots of questions – even if you think they’re stupid, you get a pass because you’re new. Engage. Seek out and accept feedback/critiques on a regular basis.

Related: Advice from a former novice

Use your time wisely

As a novice you’re not going to have a ton of responsibilities right off the bat so use any “down” time (i.e. when the rowers are erging or you’re riding in the launch) to talk to the other coxswains and learn about the boathouse (where stuff is), procedures (getting the boat in/out), equipment (which boats/cox boxes you use), team culture, etc. Don’t be a wallflower or you’ll fall behind fast.

Reflect

There’s a lot you have to learn and be in command of so establishing what your personal goals are (why you’re doing this, what you want to get out of it, etc.) and prioritizing the skills you need to master ASAP (steering…) will give you a framework to go off of, which will give going to practice every day an added sense of purpose that you might not otherwise have right off the bat.

Find a mentor

Ideally this would be a varsity coxswain but it can also be a coach, team captain, etc. Basically you want to find someone who can help you get up to speed, answer questions, and just be a resource when needed. We did this in high school and we do it here at MIT too. It’s great because you have single source of contact so you never have to worry about who to ask if you have a question. Here we try to pair the guys off with other guys in their major so that if questions arise about classes, professors, advisors, internships, jobs, etc. they’ll be able to ask someone who’s experienced it all while also being a full-time student athlete. Plus, it helps with retention if people feel like they’ve got a friend on their side from the beginning vs. feeling like they’re going at this on their own.

Keep in mind too that this doesn’t only apply to novices, it applies any time you join a new team, even if you’re an experienced coxswain. If you’re a week or two into your freshman year of college and haven’t done any of the above yet, make it a priority this week to, at the very least, have a conversation with your coach and find a peer mentor on the team if they’re not already assigned to you.

Image via // @annabelleprescott

College Q&A

Question of the Day

Hi Kayleigh, I’m entering my senior year of college and 8th year of rowing. Our team has 1.5 coaches, 3 coxswains, no academic advisor or AT and once our class graduates our team is going to be half the size it is now. Do you have any advice on how to make the best of a seemingly crappy situation?

Not to diminish the situation or anything but that doesn’t sound that crappy, unless there’s something I’m missing. It actually sounds like what a lot of club teams experience each year – minimal resources, coaching inconsistencies, varying class sizes, etc. I guess what I’m saying is that it can be done, it just might take a little more work, flexibility, and sacrifice than in years past.

I think the best thing to do is work with what you’ve got and be very clear in your goals, priorities, and responsibilities this year, in addition to making sure the classes below you (particularly the juniors) are prepared enough to take the reins next year. The current team leadership is definitely gonna have to step it up on all fronts to make all that happen.

If you don’t have trainers you can go to when you’re sore or injured then the team needs to make sure they’ve got a recovery plan in place that minimizes residual soreness and prioritizes injury prevention … and you’ve gotta make sure everyone buys into that and actually stretches, rolls out, etc. before and after practice. Everyone also needs to commit to acting like athletes outside the boathouse too, not in the how you carry yourself kind of way but in how you treat your body. That’s one of the big things our captains want to focus on this year is making sure the guys are sleeping and eating enough so that their bodies are consistently ready to go and not always on the brink of crashing and burning. We’ve already got some strategies in place to make this happen so that might be something you do as well, come up with something that holds everyone accountable and consistently reiterates the importance of recovery, sleep, good nutrition, etc.

If you don’t have advisors from within the athletic department then you’ll need to rely on the advisors you have within your individual colleges to help you navigate your classes, requirements, etc. There’s a lot of discussion on our team about classes, professors, which academic track to follow, etc. so using your teammates as a resource if/when necessary is always a great and easy option too. (I assumed when you said you don’t have academic advisors you meant ones that the athletic department assigns you in addition to your regular one. That’s how it was for us at Syracuse but I know not everyone does that. I can’t imagine you meant that you have no advisors at all though … that doesn’t even seem possible.)

Only having 1.5 coaches – by which I assume you mean a full-time head coach and a part-time or volunteer assistant coach – can be tough but ultimately the responsibility is going to fall on the coxswains to pick up the slack and help the coaches out. Your practice management skills have gotta be on. f-ing. point. this year in order to maximize your time on the water and ensure you’re actually getting shit done. Communication is gonna be even more imperative between the coxswains and coach(es) so that if the coach says they’re going off with Boat C today so A and B are gonna be on their own for most of practice, the coxswains know exactly what the plan is and can execute it accordingly.

I wouldn’t focus on the things you don’t have though, otherwise that’s just gonna make you bitter and introduce a lot of stress and resentment to the overall atmosphere … and ain’t nobody got time for that, especially when you’re a senior.

Coxswain Recordings, pt. 38

College Coxing Racing Recordings

Coxswain Recordings, pt. 38

University of Michigan 2014 Head of the Charles men’s Collegiate 8+

Something I noticed in this recording was a distinct lack of decisive calls/moves. There was a lot of “get me XYZ”, “we need to XYZ”, “I need you to XYZ”, etc. but there was never a follow up that actually said what needed to happen in order to accomplish whatever the coxswain was saying needed to be done.

One thing this coxswain does in contrast to some of the other head race recordings I’ve posted is she stays very chill throughout most of the race. There’s obviously a benefit to this style of coxing but I think you end up walking a fine line between “composed” and “low-energy”, and for me it came off as more low-energy than not for most of the race. There were times where she’d put a bit more emphasis on her calls (she did better with this towards the end) and others where she’d try to rush through them – several times when she’d say “one … two, on this one” it felt like she was saying both numbers on the same stroke because she’d say them so quickly. You might as well just say “on this one” and skip counting the strokes. Point being, I wish there was a bit more energy and more targeted calls since a lot of it came off as just filler.

She did do a great job steering though and ultimately I think that’s the big takeaway from this piece. Her turns were good, she was right on the buoy lines, and did a good job of managing the water when she was coming around the first turn with Drexel at the beginning.

Radcliffe 2014 Head of the Charles Women’s Champ 8+

This is just a short 40-second long clip from the start of Radcliffe’s turn around Magazine Beach but I wanted to share it because I like this coxswain’s energy as they move through the crew on their port side. She starts off saying she wants to take them out early before calling a ten that begins with her saying “here we go, on this one NOW … we go NOW” in a really intense, clear, direct voice that sets up the rest of the move really well.

You can find and listen to more recordings by checking out the “Coxswain Recordings” page.

College Coxing Racing Teammates & Coaches Video of the Week

Video of the Week: Harry’s Last Interview

I’ve posted this full interview/story before (definitely watch it if you haven’t) but this clip with the coxswains is one of my favorite parts of it. The contrast between the Yale coxswain saying “We’re not gonna fucking go away, you Crimson bitches!” and the Harvard coxswain saying “Good, boys. Confident, comfortable … they’re already screaming their heads off over there.” really says something.

What it means to be a “walk on”

College Coxing Novice Recruiting

What it means to be a “walk on”

Now that the start of a new school year is fast approaching, I’m getting a lot more questions about being a walk-on. Based on emails I get throughout the year it seems like something that not a lot of people are aware of or know is an option … despite the majority of college programs being made up of walk-ons. Today’s post is going to quickly highlight what it means and how it compares to being a recruit.

There are two types of walk-ons: the ones that have no prior experience with rowing and pick it up for the first time in college (a good number of the rowers in Rio right now did this) and the ones who rowed/coxed in high school but weren’t supported by coaches throughout the admissions process (meaning you can be actively recruited and still be a walk-on) or didn’t go through the recruiting process at all.

Related: I am currently a senior in high school and have been rowing for a while. If I am interested in walking on to a team in the fall, should I fill out the questionnaire on the website?

Athletes who do this are also sometimes known as “preferred walk-ons” or “experienced walk-ons”, which basically just means that they get lumped in with the recruits once the coach knows you’re interested in the program. A lot of coxswains tend to fall into this category since most coaches use their available slots on rowers and their grades are typically good enough that they don’t need that boost from the coaches. The only disadvantage in not having the coaches support you is that you don’t get that extra boost that could get you into your reach/”dream” school if you’re on the bubble.  In most cases though after talking with the coach (and doing a pre-read, if that’s an option) you’ll have a good idea as to whether or not your reach school is actually within reach, so it’s not like you’re applying while being completely unsure of where you stand.

Related: College Recruiting 101

It’s important to keep in mind that coaches can only support so many people. An example is one of the (Ivy League) coaches I worked with over the last couple of weeks. They’ve got 350+ athletes in their current recruiting database and of the 200-250ish that remain once those without the grades or erg scores are eliminated, only 14 will be offered slots. That doesn’t mean that their incoming class will only have 14 rowers, it just means that anyone outside of those 14 will need to have the grades to get in on their own. If they’ve got a strong academic resume then they’ll probably be told that they’re wanted on the team but there’s not really a point in using a slot on them since they don’t need the help, whereas someone who has a more “average” academic resume (accompanied with big ergs and a solid rowing background) might be offered a slot so the coaches can wield their influence (I use that term very loosely and borderline sarcastically) to ensure they get who they want.

Related: How do you respond if you aren’t chosen to be recruited?

If you already know as a junior or senior that you want to row in college but don’t want to go through the recruiting process, don’t have the erg scores, etc. you should still loosely go through the process anyways. All that entails is reaching out to the coaches once you’ve been admitted and saying that you’re interested in walking on to the team. Not only does this help them get a sense of what their numbers will look like, it can also let you get a lot of your NCAA compliance paperwork out of the way sooner.

Related: As a coxswain are you treated differently as a recruit to a D1 college as opposed to a varsity cox who walks on the team? Or is it rare to have someone walk on a crew team who coxed through high school?

The last two years I’ve helped manage the walk-ons at MIT and one of our walk-ons emailed me in July last year to say he was interested in joining the team. Reaching out early like that allowed us to get him set up with the athletic department at the same time our current guys were filling out their paperwork, which we have to do every year. It all has to be completed by a certain date in order to guarantee everyone is cleared to practice at the beginning of the year otherwise you get moved to the very bottom of the list behind all the other teams, which means it’ll take for.freaking.ever. to get cleared. Two to three weeks is about how long it’s taken since I’ve been there and most of you know how brutal it is to miss out on that kind of water time. Moral of the story/pro tip, if you know you want to walk-on, even as someone who’s never rowed before (like the guy on our team I just mentioned), the sooner you reach out, the better.

Related: How hard is it to just start rowing in college, especially at a D1 or Ivy League school?

I anticipate getting a lot more questions about this as we get closer to September so I’ve kept this post kinda vague in order to just cover the basics and leave room for another post in the future that answers your more specific questions. If you think of anything, leave a comment or shoot me an email!

Image via // @kmillerottier
Coxswain recordings, pt. 36

College Coxing Racing Recordings

Coxswain recordings, pt. 36

University of Washington 2008 San Diego Crew Classic Mv8+ Grand final

Washington lead for most of this race but going into the 1000m Cal had a two seat advantage before UW took a move to retake the lead. They finished first in 5:39.9, two seconds ahead of Princeton (5:41.8). Harvard finished third and Cal fell back to fourth.

There are two things of note to pay attention to in this race (as well as the others in this post). Note the balance in her tone between being calm and being aggressive. There’s an awareness there for when to employ each that is a huge advantage for her crews. Also, you’ll see me say “awareness” a lot in this post and that’s because it’s one of things she excels at. It’s a crucial skill for coxswains to have and there are several great examples in here for where it can/should be applied.

At 1:06, I love how she called the stride here and that she said “you know how to do it together”. The start of the stride is executed really well – the change in her tone is great when she calls “striiide powerhold the knees…”. Another call I liked was at 2:41 when she says “bend now…”. There’s nothing groundbreaking about it but it’s simple and her tone makes the call work.

At 2:45 when she says “You’ve got good water, take advantage of it. Row smart Roko…”, which is a good reminder to the crew (and individuals if/when necessary), especially if the conditions aren’t perfect. When you see good water in your lane make sure the crew knows so that you can sharpen up and take full advantage of it before you hit the next gust or batch of chop. This is another instance where awareness can give your crew a huge advantage.

The 3rd 500 is almost always one of the toughest parts of the race which is why your energy has to be high here. How she called “3rd 500 now” at 3:25 is a good lead-in to this section and through her tone you can tell that she’s not fading which is going to help keep the crew from fading.

Most of the time when I hear coxswains call 10s they get super overly ambitious and say “power 10 to get even” when they’re a length down on the boat they’re trying to walk on. At 4:08 they’re taking a 30 for inches. Inches. I also like the added call to lengthen both ends of the slide. You guys know this but the further you get into the race and the more fatigued you become the more likely you are to start shortening up – this was a well-timed call to get them to get their length at the catch and hold on to the full stroke through the finish.

Related: All about Power 10s

The last minute (starting around 5:07) shows how you can call a burst, in particular a long one like this 30, and not count every single stroke. If it’s a well practiced move like this was then the rowers will know, not just because they can count but from muscle memory so to speak, how long the 30 lasts. What I like about this is she tells them when the last 10 is instead and then when the 30 is done instead of starting the 30 and not saying anything else about it, which is something I hear a lot in recordings.

Calls like her “up two for 10 with power” one at 5:23 that emphasize something rather than just saying “up two for 10 in two, one … two …” are smart. Whether it’s awareness on your part because you want to remind the crew of something, you see something starting to fall off, or it’s just part of your race plan, this is a much more effective way of calling your build strokes, especially as you get into the last 300ish meters.

Another example of her awareness of the race evolving around her was that she saw Princeton start moving early at 5:40 and made the call to go with them. This shows how important it is to not just be focused inside the boat but to keep your head on a swivel and be aware of what’s happening around you so crew’s don’t sneak up on you like Princeton tried to do here.

Other calls I liked:

“Strong Husky rhythm…”

“Splits are dropping and you are in the fucking lead!”

“Those are your fucking jerseys!”

University of Washington 2009 San Diego Crew Classic MV8+ Heat

I think my new goal when I get time to go on the water is to work on refining how well I balance my calm/aggressive tones. She does it so well and it just makes me want to do it better.

The defining part of this recording for me was at 5:25 when she said told them to “stay in time … stabilize at the 38” then recalls back to builders they did the other day and how their directness at the front end then was what they needed right now. Sit up, loose shoulders … now they’re connected, now they’re walking, now they’re moving. Again with the awareness thing but that’s really all it comes down to. Knowing what your crew is working on, knowing their strengths, weaknesses, etc. and knowing just what to say to them to snap them back into rhythm.

University of Washington 2009 San Diego Crew Classic MV8+ grand final

Listen to how she calls the move at 900 and then carries that energy over into the third 500, in addition to what specifically she’s saying. All listen to how towards the end of the race (when the pack is tight) she’s keeping the focus on her crew instead of making a lot of calls about where the other crews are. She still tells them where they are but the primary focus is on getting her boat rowing well and maintaining it because without that, the moves they make won’t be as effective. Again … awareness is what helped give her crew the edge.

You can find and listen to more recordings by checking out the “Coxswain Recordings” page.