Tag: flashback friday


Flashback Friday: November 26th – December 9th


Holiday Gift Guide 2016 (check out this year’s here, as well as ones from past years that are all linked down below)

Coxswains, get on the erg…

QOTD: Hello! I’m a collegiate rower currently at a D3 school. Recently I’ve noticed that my team’s top coxswain has seemed to have lost a lot of weight in the past few months. By this, I mean she seems to have lost 10 to 15lbs, which is a lot considering she’s 5’4″ and wasn’t over the 110lb minimum by more than 7 or 8lbs last season. I don’t believe she eats very often but when I do see her eat she doesn’t seem to have an eating disorder. I’m not sure whether or not I should be concerned about her weight loss and if I should bring it up with someone?


Top 20 terms coxswains should know: Quarter-feather

College recruiting: The process of being recruited as a coxswain

QOTD: Just wondering , what do you say to your crew after a training session and they say “Thanks cox”?

QOTD: Hi! I’m a junior in high school and I just moved up to the girls varsity team in September. I was on the novice team for fall and spring of my sophomore year and I was in the top boat but now since I moved up to varsity the playing field is a lot more competitive and I am worried about being recruited later this year. I’m also around 5’5 and 140lbs and I wasn’t sure if I should drop to 135 to be considered for “lightweight” considering my height. I was invited for winter training on our team (just finished our first full week) and I feel like I’m already burning out. My family and I are making over a 40 minute commute to get to practice each day, 6 days a week and I just feel like I cannot get, well, my shit together fully. The days are getting shorter and we have practice at 5:45 to 7:45 three days a week and its just a little tough. Mostly I just needed some re-assurance that all this hard work and commuting will be alright and I will get recruited. I was also wondering if its even possible for a 5’5 girl to get into a D1 program in college? I’m also looking at D2 and D3 possibly, but it seems if I want a scholarship D1 is the choice to go. Also I’m taking my SAT’s and ACT’s in about 2-3 weeks and I’m worried that this too late for colleges to see my scores? I heard some girls my age sending them in October for colleges but I think if I send them in December it’s still pretty early…? And should I shoot some coaches an email now about being interested in their team for the fall of 2017 before I even have my SAT scores? Thank you thank you thank you.


Coxswain evaluations + how I organize them Since I posted this in 2014 it’s become one of the most popular posts on the site – definitely check it out if you’re interested in doing evals with your team.

QOTD: Hi! My coach has been telling me the last couple of sessions that I’m opening up too early (both rowing and sculling). He says to imagine that I’m pushing my knees away from my chest rather than moving my chest away from my knees. I understand what he means and can feel that I’m doing it now but there is some mental block between that and actually fixing the problem. Do you know any other way I could think about it or what I could do to try fix it?



QOTD: Any tips on keeping a straight course in the dark when it’s hard to see things to point at?

QOTD: The other day in our eight we were doing some pieces in which the coach didn’t think everyone was trying. She thought only two out of the whole eight was actually trying hard. She didn’t name, names but you could tell some people she believed weren’t doing anything. In the defense of the crew, the cox wasn’t saying anything, no motivation or anything. After the session I was talking to one of the ‘spare’ coxes who was in the speed boat with the coach. We discussed how she judged who was pulling and her main answer was that the coach was looking at peoples faces and at the puddles but mainly the faces. Personally, maybe I wasn’t trying my hardest (I know, but its hard when the whole boat seemed to be powered by only yourself) but I do not believe looking at faces would be the most accurate way of measuring who is trying as I can easily make faces, and I know some people whose face doesn’t change no mater how hard they are pulling. How do you tell?

Holiday Gift Guide 2013 (here’s more ideas from 2013 for rowers + coxswains too)

VOTW: University of Wisconsin Rowing, 1929


QOTD: So I’m a novice coxswain and I’m really not athletic. The other coxswains told me that during winter training we do everything the rowers do but because I haven’t been erging and working out with the team, I’m scared I won’t be able to keep up with them. What should I do?

Coxswain recordings, pt. 3 Solid clip in here from the Aussie men’s national team

QOTD: Interesting question: How often do you think a cox should talk during a race? I feel really awkward and useless if I stop talking for more than a few seconds, and when I rowed our cox would talk almost constantly during races. However, at a regatta briefing the other day the OU Captain of Coxes implied that coxes should only be talking every few strokes. I guess it depends on the standard and nature of the crew, but what do you think?

Holiday gifts for coaches (and rowers and coxswains)

How to steer an eight or four


Flashback Friday: November 12th – 25th


QOTD: I really want to practice making small steering adjustments but my team has the great misfortune of rowing on a river that is in the midst of extreme drought. When I say extreme, I mean we can’t have two boats next to each other because anything but a very specific course in the very middle of the river can break off a fin. Because of the drought, there’s debris everywhere, and coupled with the bridges, I’m basically on the rudder at all times. How can I practice minimal steering in this situation?

What makes a good coxswain recording?

Training: Pushing hard and pain vs. soreness



QOTD: Hi, do you have any tips on staying motivated through a long winter? This is my fifth year coxing at high school and as usual we are heading into a long winter and the girls are doing a ton of small boats stuff. This means I am rarely out on the water coxing (once since May last year, actually). I feel like I’m losing all my motivation, I don’t want to attend practice as I used to, and dread every session even though I love my team. I really don’t want to be training at the moment but I know if I quit now I will regret it in the summer, thinking about how amazing it was racing at nationals last year, and how much I want to do so again. The summer really is amazing but at the moment it is too far away to even comprehend!! Obviously watching them row in smaller boats from a launch can be beneficial but after so many hours it gets a bit tiresome. I know winter isn’t the most enjoyable for rowers either but at least they are developing and improving… I hope this makes sense! Have you ever felt like this?

QOTD: Any ideas for a holiday-themed practice?

VOTW: Pete Cipollone podcast

College recruiting: Interest from coaches + coming from a small program

Top 20 terms coxswains should know: Suspension


VOTW: Snowflake Regatta Carnage

QOTD: So I’m the most experienced coxswain on my juniors team, and was asked to cox a master’s eight. It isn’t a racing boat or anything. Some of the masters just wanted to try sweep. The thing is both of my coaches and a few of the board members for the juniors team will be in the boat, as will my dad. I’m afraid that if I mess up, or if my coach isn’t a fan of my style, it could affect boat placement going into spring. Any advice?


QOTD: Hi! I’ve been rowing for four years and recently I’ve been getting some sort of tendonitis in my forearms: the forearm swells up a little and it feels very stiff and it is very painful to row with. This usually happens when I’m in a single or a double, but it has happened before in an eight and a quad. It has never happened to me so often, last year I got this twice throughout the season, but it went away the same day. I’ve talked to my coach and he said I might be gripping too much with my fingers, I’ve changed my grip since then and it was fine for a few weeks, however over the course of this week, it has come back and I’m not sure what I am doing wrong. I know it’s caused when I row long distances and when my forearms tense at the catch, but I don’t think that there is any other way to row (without tensing the forearms at the catch), when I relax my arms I end up pulling more with my fingers. As far as I’m aware, no one else in my crew has this although some say that they have had it before, but very rarely. I was just wondering if you had any tips for correcting my stroke if it is what is causing this? Thank you.


QOTD: Hey! How do you record yourself during a piece etc. if you can’t buy a GOPRO or a recorder? I don’t want to take my phone on board but I still want either race footage or just sound recordings. Thank you!

QOTD: Hey! So I’m a coxswain in high school and we (all the coxswains) want a coxswain evaluation/ranking from the rowers. Some coxswains feel like they should be in a different boat and we all want feedback from the rowers. How do we go about asking our coach about it?

QOTD: Hi! I just started coxing this fall, and towards the end of the season my rowers told me that the calls I was making during our race pieces were good but that I should work on being more controlled with my voice. I think it’s because I’m nervous about being silent for too long so I rush everything out but then I also run out of things to say. I also think I need to work on being less repetitive and have a little more intensity to my calls. However, we went off the water right after that. Is there any way I can work on this over the winter? I really want to work on these things and I’m bummed I won’t really have a good opportunity the whole winter. I cox the guys on the ergs but it’s very different than being in the boat. Right now I’m just listening to tapes when I have spare time and taking notes, but is there any way to actually practice this before spring?

QOTD: We have a coxswain who always covers his microphone with his hand which he thinks gives him this like gruff thing going on, but the problem is we can’t always understand him and quite frankly, it’s annoying. I don’t get why he needs it when we’re not going into the wind but what should we do? Would it be rude to ask if he could please stop or what?


How to survive winter training … as a coxswain

Holiday gifts for coaches

Holiday gifts for rowers

Holiday gifts for coxswains

VOTW: Lewis & Clark Men’s Rowing


Flashback Friday: October 29th – November 11th


Talk by Penn ’15 coxswain Lou Lombari – this is an 11 minute clip from a talk he gave at a camp I was at two years ago

QOTD: Hi! I’ve been a novice at my local rowing club for about two months now. I’m a coxswain but I’m not sure if I’m cut out for it. I enjoy it but I have so much trouble making calls and being motivational and speaking throughout a whole piece. Is this just because I’m new to this? Or are most coxswains good from the very beginning? I guess I’m wondering if it’s possible to improve or if I’m just not cut out. If you have any tips that would be great. Thanks!

Defining the role of the coxswain: Leadership

VOTW: “So long, Huskies!”


Top 20 terms coxswains should know: Body angle

QOTD: Hey, quick question: I’m a coxswain on a collegiate club team and lately we’ve been having some issues with sick people missing practices. Our (very old-school) coach’s opinion is unless you’re dying, you’re at practice, but some of my teammates want to stay home if they’re feeling a little sick because they think rowing while sick will make the illness a lot worse and take them out for longer. I’ve also heard that it’s safe to row if the sickness is below the neck but that you should stay home if there’s an issue with the head or throat, but I’m not sure if that’s medically accurate. So I was just wondering, at what point is someone “too sick to row” in your opinion?

How to train when you’re sick … as a rower

The bitch in the boat

QOTD: 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.



QOTD: Hey, thanks for answering everyone’s questions on your blog! It is a really nice thing to do for the younger generation of rowers. Anyway, I’m a varsity coxswain on a student-run college club team and I’m getting to be fairly concerned about my 7-seat, who is the Team President. He handles almost all the administrative work for both the men’s and women’s side and in addition, he has to liaison with the university’s Rec Sports department, organize all the outside workouts, make the regatta travel plans, et cetera, et cetera. He spends hours and hours on the team every day, and this is on top of a really tough biology major too.

Although he puts on a brave face in public I feel like he’s starting to crack under the pressure. He’s a really nice person but his patience is just becoming shorter, he seems exhausted, and apparently his classes aren’t going well – he’s already to the point where he’s sure he’s failed one and is going to have to retake it next semester. I’m just a freshman, new to the team, and he’s a senior so I don’t want to step out of line. At the same time, however, I don’t want to watch a teammate become overwhelmed as a result of rowing and not do anything. If I talk to the coaches or directly confront him about delegating some of the workload I feel like it might be embarrassing or come off like I’m questioning his leadership. I don’t want to start any drama this early in my college rowing career but I don’t really see any other options to help the situation. What should I do?

VOTW: 2004 Men’s 8+ starting sequence

QOTD: I’m living with one of my captains and we’re having issues. Even though she works hard and her erg scores are consistently top 8 she’s in the 3V and our coach won’t tell her why. She was reasonably upset and she had every right to be and I was there for her. This was around mid to late September. A little while later, she started seeming annoyed, I tried being nice, and I tried giving her space, either way she’s been very snippy. More recently we went away for a race and only our 1V and 2V went. When I got back I tried to be quiet about it and not bring the trip up. I talked about these issues a couple times with another girl I’ve been rowing with since high school who also lived with her last year. She gave me some advice and I was planning on following it.

That night though she had another breakdown because she was so frustrated and upset because she didn’t even go as an alternate. I felt really bad and knew if I was in her position I would feel the same way, why do I work so hard if I’m not getting anywhere, but it also feels like she wants me to say that she deserves to be in the 1V over all 8 of us. She also has been making me feel really shitty about myself, the other day for example we were given a workout to do on our own because our coach could tell we were tired and was giving us the chance to sleep in and do a steady state work out. I decided the night before I was going to go at 7 but when my alarm went off I realized exactly how tired I was and decided to go after class. When she got back from doing the workout I went to ask a question but she got really sassy saying “So much for going at 7”. I tried to explain but she shut the door on my face before I could say anything. I only have a little over a semester left with her but I feel like I’m walking on egg shells around her and don’t know how much more I can take.

QOTD: Hello! Sorry if this is a dumb question but I was wondering, what does it mean when coxswains say “cha”? Thank you!



QOTD: When we row with our feet out of the foot stretchers I have a lot of trouble getting up the slide never mind getting up on time, and it’s really embarrassing being the only one in the boat who obviously struggles with these drills. Is there any thing I can work on to improve this area?

QOTD: Hey! I just had a really bad practice and I need some advice. So I have the top eight right now but our coach changes it up all the time. There is a race coming up but I’m not going so naturally I’d be moved down to the boats that aren’t going. Today for practice he kept me on the A boat but I screwed up and steered into another boat and my steering was just bad overall today. He seemed really disappointed and the last time he seemed so disappointed, he moved the A cox down to B. I just really want to make up for today and I’m scared tomorrow I won’t be on A boat. What do I say/do? Also can you link me to the post about what to do after a bad practice? I just really want to make up for today and prove to my coach that even though I’m not going to the next (last) race, I’m still worthy of A boat. Thank you so much.

QOTD: Hi. I walked on half a year ago as a coxswain knowing absolutely nothing, and this blog was such a godsend for me. Thank you! I was the absolute worst when I started – steering all over the place and almost dead silent during practices because I was so nervous about what to say. I’ve come a long way since then. My steering is much more consistent and I feel pretty confident about the things I’m saying in the boat but I feel like I’ve plateaued in my progress because I don’t know how to bring personality into the boat. I can rattle off canned phrases and words, but I don’t know how to really MOTIVATE the boat and get the rowers riled up. I’ve been told that I’m “too nice” when I’ve asked for criticisms from the rowers. I am not an inherently sassy person – I am actually pretty calm and mellow and I’m not sure how to address an issue like temperament. Is this something I can fix or was I just not meant to be a coxswain in the first place? All of the successful coxswains I know are so outspoken and I feel like I have a more quiet intensity that I try to bring into the boat. Thanks!


How to cox a boat in and out of the boathouse

Coxswain recordings, pt. 2 St. Ignatius vs. Shrewsbury (a classic) and Bucknell’s frosh 8+ vs. Holy Cross

An Irresistible Pull

QOTD: I was wondering what the difference is between checking it and holding water. I think checking it is just once side and everybody holds water? But I’m not sure. and then also what do you think is the easiest way to turn around? I usually have my stern or bow four row with ports backing. Is that pretty standard would you say? Thank you again so so so so so much.

QOTD: Advice for coxing a 5k on the erg? There are only so many times I can remind my boys to keep their back straight and drive with their legs.


Flashback Friday: October 15th – 28th


Coxswain skills: Evaluating races

VOTW: Behind the Scenes of “The Boys of ’36”

VOTW: That time a boat sank at HOCR



QOTD: 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.

QOTD: Hi, I love your blog! I just started coxing this year and it has been so helpful and informative so far. My question: for my team’s first regatta this fall, I coxed the 3V which I was pretty proud of considering I’m a novice cox and the 1V and 2V are coxed by upperclassmen. However, for the next regatta, I found out I got moved down to the 4V. I want to know why and how I can get back in the 3V, but don’t want to annoy my coaches or seem like I’m resentful or overly focused on myself instead of the team as a whole. I’m not super upset by the switch but I’d really like to be back in the 3V for the spring. Also, I was told to be more “bitchy” in the boat, but I want to make sure I’m constructively assertive and not mean or unnecessarily aggressive. Do you have any suggestions for how to talk to my coaches about this or to get back into a higher boat, or tips for being “bitchy” in a helpful way? Sorry if this question has already been answered! Thanks so much!

College recruiting: Highlight videos + the worst recruiting emails (Posting a pt. 2/follow-up to this post next week based on an email I got this morning. Stay tuned.)


QOTD: Hi! I’m a freshman coxswain on my college’s club crew team and I coxed for four years in high school. My team is going to our first race this weekend and it’s a head race. We only have about 1000 meters of water to use when we practice, so we haven’t actually rowed a 5k at practice and my boat has only really had one practice together. How do I go about coxing a head race when my boat hasn’t been together very long and some of the boys in my boat have never even rowed 5000 meters continuously?

VOTW: What makes the fastest crew?

QOTD: Hi! I’m a high school junior and I’m fairly certain I want to row DIII in college. When does it make sense to fill out recruitment forms? I’m going to visit a college I’m potentially interested in in about a month and I was thinking of filling out their form and maybe sending the coach an email but I’m not sure if I’m serious about the school yet and I don’t want to waste their time. Thank you!


QOTD: How do you as a coxswain help your rowers when they are erging in the winter?


QOTD: Hi Kayleigh! Last week, I lost my voice after one of our fall head races. I was talking to my coaches and they said that your “coxing voice” shouldn’t come directly from the throat or something like that – it should come from deep breaths from your stomach or the bottom part of your throat. I am now officially confused and don’t know who else to ask! Help please? Thanks!

QOTD: Hey, so I am the 2V coxswain and we almost always practice with the 1V. Our coach usually starts us a length ahead (or something like that), but the 1V always comes back up. I was just wondering how I can keep the rowers calmer and still take great strokes as they walk on us (and if that happens in a race situation).

How to strap a boat down

QOTD: Do you have any advice for a novice coxswain who just crashed for the first time? It really shook me up and I know I won’t be able to get back in the boat for a few days (due to our walk-on coxswain rotation) but I want to get over it.


VOTW: Gold Fever


QOTD: What should be the difference between 5k and 2k splits?

QOTDSo I know you mostly get questions from coxswains but do ya think you could riddle me this? I’m a high school rower (started last winter) so technically I’m still a novice but since the beginning of summer I’ve been rowing varsity. I absolutely love the sport but I sometimes feel a bit intimidated by the fact that I’m constantly racing girls older than me! I’m only 15 and most of the girls I race & row with are getting ready to head off to college! Any advice on how to face the competition?


Flashback Friday: October 1st – 14th


VOTW: HOCR River Operations

Race skills: Calling a head race

Things that affect the set: Timing


Taking the Weeks turn with the Carl Douglas “Aerowfin”


College recruiting: Contacting coaches, pt.3 – How much info is too much?

HOCR: Weeks, Lowell House, and “the turning tree”

The four defaults



Pete Cipollone’s 1997 HOCR Recording

QOTD: Hey, I was wondering if you could explain the difference between seat racing and matrixes? Thanks!

Coxswain recordings, pt. 25 Two HOCR recordings from the women’s champ 8+ event

VOTW: The first 50 years of HOCR

QOTD: How do you beach launch? It’s going to be my first regatta and I haven’t beach launched yet. My coach isn’t showing any signs of teaching me. Is it similar to regular launching off the dock? Thanks!


QOTD: Hi, I’m debating talking to my coach about why I am not in the first boat. I am not trying to be cocky I just want to know what’s preventing me from being in the top boat. I’ve consistently been within top 5 for both raw scores, and weight adjusted on the ergs. My coaches tell me I have a great attitude and I’m assuming my technique is fine because he has never said otherwise, plus I stroke 2V. When we do pieces at most 1V is a seat ahead of us. Do you think asking could come off as egotistical?

Coxswain recordings, pt. 13 Purdue-Notre Dame duel and Purdue V8+ at SIRAs

QOTD: Hi, I never know what it means when someone asks me what the boat “feels” like. Like the rush for example. I’m not sure what that feels like vs. a boat with no rush. Just in general, I’m not sure how to gauge whether a piece felt good or bad. I feel like the only things I can see are blade height, square up timing, catch timing, and if bodies are moving together, and I can tell if the boat was really moving and if there was power. But what else should I be aware of?

QOTD: In your opinion, what is the worst mistake a coxswain could ever make?

QOTD: How did you know when you were ready to go back to rowing? I am in a similar situation; I was burned out and took a few months off. During my time off I realized I wasn’t coxing for the right reasons and I think I’ve discovered what the right reasons are. Now I miss it like crazy but I’m worried about going back too soon.


Coxswain recordings, pt. 1 Pete Cipollone’s 1997 HOCR race and Upper Thames 2011 Head of the River

HOCR: Steering through the bridges

QOTD: My rowers told me after practice today that I should focus on the tone of my voice and not be so “intense” during our practices. I don’t really know how to fix that actually. Like I don’t think I am so “intense” but rather just firm and trying to be concise with the command I give out. They said that they really like how I cox during a race piece because my intensity level fits the circumstances. But they also said that if I cox in a similar tone to race pieces, they can’t take me seriously during the races. But my problem when I first started coxing was not being firm enough and getting complaints about how I should be more direct on my commands. Now when I am, my rowers say this. I don’t really know what is the happy medium. Like I listen to coxing recordings and I feel like I am doing fairly similar tones.

HOCR: Landmarks along the course

QOTD: Do you recommend carrying a small pocket notebook or having a regular size notebook for notes? I currently have a pocket notebook during erg pieces to jot down splits and times. How do you organize all your thoughts and coxswain information?


Flashback Friday: September 17th – 30th


Race skills: Managing the nuances of a head race

Coxswain skills: Evaluating practices

Video of the Week: Boat strapping failure

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)?



Coxswain skills: Steering, pt. 2 (Always steering vs. never steering)

Question of the Day: Hi! This is my second year as a coxswain on a girls’ high school team. We just had some novices come in so they’re relatively new to the sport. I’m worried that I may be too mean/harsh with the rowers. Earlier today I was coxing a quad back to slings to wash it. It is difficult to move the boat from the dock to the slings – there are quite a few poles on the dock and around the slings area. I’d already told the rowers not to move and the next thing I hear, one end of the boat had come in contact with a pole (not exactly a crash but the boat had hit the pole). While the sound wasn’t too loud I immediately yelled, “I said, DON’T MOVE until I give a command!” I feel like I may have been too mean but at the time my only concern was to not wreck the boat. What is your opinion and how should I effectively take control calmly in this situation?

College recruiting: Contacting coaches, pt. 1

Coxswain skills: Boat feel

Question of the Day: Hey, so I’ve been dealing with a lot this past month. A kid who I went to elementary school with killed himself in a very public way at the start of the month, which was the Friday of preseason at my high school. I am a coxswain for my school’s varsity team and ever since he died I’ve been slipping in terms of my coxing skills. My coach hasn’t really noticed much change because this is my first season with her as a coach and we could not get on the water the entire first week of the season due to several factors. All she really has noticed is that I am not as loud this year as I was last year (I was the coxswain who didn’t have a box in the 8 so I got to yell and have everyone on this side of Cambridge hear me during practice…)

Unfortunately I do not go to school in my town and no one at my school knows the kids who I grew up with and when I try and bring up the topic with them, conversations die because who wants to talk about the death of a kid who they never met. I feel like it is really hard for me because last year when a girl from my school died suddenly all sports and activities were canceled for a while and grief counselors were brought in, where as I went directly from hearing of my friends death to coxing a boat the next day. Also during the summer a girl who I played youth sports with died of cancer and it was a tragic even for my town’s community, whereas now where nobody knows my friend in my current community I feel like no one really cares about it. I have tried talking to a counselor and friends but no one knows him so they don’t really understand.

I am finding it hard to motivate my self to get out of bed in the morning so how can I motivate my rowers to push them selves during a 2k test or a HOCR piece? I have been thinking about quitting crew but a) it’s just getting to racing season for us and I have no replacement, b) WTF who does that, c) crew is basically a third of my life (my days go school, crew, homework repeat) so if I quit I will end up moaning in my room all the time which is not something I want to take up.

Do you have any advice? Also PS I am only a sophomore in high school as were all my friends who died. Thanks and sorry this is so depressing.


Rowing Blazers Launch Party

Question of the Day: Hey! I’m the head cox on my team now (I’m a junior in HS) and I’m packing my very first fanny pack. Right now I have electrical tape, a 7/16 wrench and a Vespoli tool. Do you have any recommendations about what else should go inside? Also, I’m looking to buy a voice recorder. Obviously I want one on the cheaper side but it also obviously needs to be good. Any recommendations on that? Thanks so much!!

Interview with 2004 Men’s 8+ gold medalist coxswain, Pete Cipollone

Race plans for practice pieces

Question of the Day: I went on an official visit about two weeks ago. I am very interested in this school but I am still looking at some other schools (that don’t have rowing). I want to keep up a relationship with this school but I’m not sure what to say in an email to them. Thanks!


How to pass crews during a head race

Question of the Day: Hi, I am a college freshman, and am in an uncomfortable situation with one of my assistant coaches. I like her and think she is a good coach however other girls have said she’s a bitch. At first I thought they just didn’t like her being a hardass (even though I didn’t even see her as that) but then the other day I found her a walk-on and she said I was her favorite freshman. She also said it to everyone else at practice. At first I was thinking she was joking around but I also see the way she acts around all the other freshmen and she can be pretty mean to them, especially our cox. She also came up to me while we were erg testing and was saying what our top freshman split was and how I was under it and that she wanted me to beat it. She didn’t say much to anyone else. The others have noticed the favoritism and personally I don’t think it’s fair to them because they work just as hard as me. Any advice on handling this situation?

Navigating the starting chute at a head race


Question of the Day: Can a coxswain back out of a verbal commitment? I want to tell a very good D1 school that I will commit to go there but my coach said I should wait until after HOCR because I might be able to go to a better school if I do well. What should I do? Can you still go on an official to another school if you verbally commit?


Flashback Friday: September 3rd – 16th



Practice calls

Five things to do as a novice coxswain

QOTD: Hi!! I have a plica in my knee, I got the okay from our AT to row but it hurts a lot when I do. We’re in an erging stint right now and I don’t want to be seen as a slacker but I also don’t know if I can effectively do the workouts on the erg. I have no clue how to go about handling the situation.

QOTD: Do you have any advice on dealing with a coach pressuring you to continue practicing through injury?


Managing novice coxswains

QOTD: Hi, I recently was asked by my coach to cox again this season like I did last season and I am really excited. My dad however thinks that coxswains don’t even do anything and they just sit there and yell at people. I keep trying to explain that it is a lot more than that but keep messing up. Do you have any ideas for how to explain what a coxswain does to my dad? Please help! Thanks!

Coxswain skills: Steering, pt. 1 (Oversteering)

College recruiting: The recruiting timeline + things to consider


Defining the role of the coxswain: The type of coxswain you don’t want to be

Coxswain recordings, pt. 24 Recordings from the HOCR collegiate 8+, champ 8+ and youth 8+

QOTD: Our assistant coach is not here this season and won’t be back until winter training so our head coach introduced a new assistant coach earlier this week. Every time she tries to correct someone’s form she says it in a way that sounds really mean and negative. After our last piece today our head coach gave us some feedback and told us what he thought was good and what could be improved. After he went to the other 8 she came over and told us we were “ridiculous and mediocre”. The other coxswains and the rowers on my team feel like she’s being way too negative and it’s making everyone feel awful. Sorry that was really long, I just want to know how to handle that kind of coach.


QOTD: Heeey so at the moment we’re doing a lot of work on the finish and the release but I am struggling to come up with calls that really work. I have a few basic ones but not many so I find myself repeating them over and over and over and over. Do you have any calls for technique at the finish and release that I could borrow or modify to suit my crew?? TY x


QOTD: So I’ve noticed that most recruiting questionnaires ask for your coach’s phone/email. What do college coaches who are talking to your high school coach ask about? I’m not nervous about it cause my coach and I have always had a good relationship, I was just curious.

Understanding what the buoys mean

The hardest core workout you’ll ever do

Coxswain recordings pt. 12 Recordings from the HOCR collegiate 8+ and champ 8+

QOTD: As a coach, do you feel that it is ever acceptable to refuse coaching to one specific individual solely on the basis of personal differences? My coach of two years this morning threw me out of his squad, not on the basis that I am a poor rower, that I don’t have potential, or that I don’t train, simply because he finds me difficult to deal with.


Flashback Friday: July 2nd – 15th


The “inside arm, outside arm, wide grip” drill

QOTD: Could you explain lunging a bit more? Such as what it looks like on an erg, and how I would be able to tell that say, four seat, is lunging? I know that rushing the top quarter of the slide and skying blades is a sign of lunging, but how do I know for sure that they’re lunging and not just rushing/not controlling their hands?

Race skills: Calls for when you’re behind

Qualities of a varsity coxswain



QOTD: 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?

VOTW: USA Men’s 8+ in slow motion

“Do you really need that?”

QOTD: Hi! Love your blog! I was just wondering if you have any tips as far as steering a buoyed course and what to do during the first strokes of the race if for some reason the rowers’ powers are uneven and the boat gets lodged towards one direction. Thank you!


QOTD: I am very shy and talking to college coaches is super intimidating to me. I really want the chance to row in college and I don’t want my shyness to get in the way.


VOTW: Allen Rosenberg on coaching (and coxing)

QOTD: Hey! I cox a HS women’s bow loader 4+ and after looking over some footage from our past regattas, my coach noticed that many rowers are “missing water” and not getting the oars enough behind them enough at the catch to produce a maximum length and power stroke every time. She asked me to try to make calls and to focus on things that will help get the length behind them, and also to have them think about rotating out towards their rigger at the catch. Would you be able to clear what she means up for me, and possibly demonstrate the way something like this would be called? Thanks!


Books on rowing, pt. 2

QOTD: Hello! How do you get adjusted to a new team and location? I’m wondering because I am transferring schools and I’m really nervous about getting adjusted. I know that each team might have a different way of docking or calling different things. I’m coxing and I worried that if I don’t know those specific things because they are different that I won’t seem as authoritative.

QOTD: Hey there, I have a question about coxing. I’ve been coxing for a couple years now and just realized that I call my calls on different times. I mean, for power 10’s I’ll call the numbers when they are half way through the drive to the finish. But for starts, I will call the numbers at the catch such as (1/2, 1/2, 3/4, full, full) as well as 10 highs at the catch. I don’t know if I’m doing this right, but I’ve always done it this way and my crew goes with it. How do you personally do it?

QOTD: What can I do during an official visit that will help my chances of being a recruit? I am one out of 35, and they choose about 10. Also, do you have any links for previous posts on this subject? Thanks!

QOTD: In the past, I’ve had a lot of trouble with my coach thinking I’m talking back to her which ended up bumping me down a boat (I’m a coxswain). Last week she told me to have the rowers pause at arms and body and didn’t tell me how often so I just had them pause every 3 which is typically how often we pause and then she yelled at me that I wasn’t listening and that she told me to pause every 5 … what do I do? If I tell her she didn’t say it then she’ll think I’m talking back again.


Flashback Friday: June 18th – July 1st

• one YEAR AGO •

Coxswain recordings, pt. 25 Three UW recordings from the San Diego Crew Classic

Qualities of a varsity coxswain

How to cox (and coach) novices Especially worth reading if you’re coaching learn-to-row camps this summer.

VOTW: The history of the Harvard-Yale race

Question of the Day: Hey! I have a couple questions.

1. I’m not very good at taking criticism. Mentally I don’t mind it and I try to use it and everything, but for some reason emotionally I seem to take it as an attack and always feel close to crying. I’m not sure why this is and I was wondering if you have any tips.

2. We just got a new coach and he’s doing a summer rowing program, which is great, but he’s trying to completely change my style of coxing. I understand that repetitiveness is something I need to work on, but he’s telling me that while I was coxing the rowers on the ergs that I was “singing” to them. He expects me to be much louder (which I can be when I choose to be- I prefer to save it and use it as a “wake up” call kinda thing to change the pace of the race) and also be more direct and short (which I understand that part of and agree with). How should I deal with this? Should I try to explain my ways (I did a bit) or just go with what he says? And how do you work on being less repetitive ?


VOTW: Adjusting the tracks

Coxswain recordings, pt. 22 Henley, Dad Vails, and Kent vs. St. Andrews

QOTD: I’m the senior girl’s cox for my school club and my crew is really struggling with having a slow recovery then accelerating to the finish and putting in pressure. When I call to go slow up the slide they might slow down 1 or 2 points or not even at all. And the pressure dies when the rating slows. Then the rating goes up when I call pressure. Do you have any ideas about how I can help them get into a slow steady rhythm but still put in pressure?


• three YEARS AGO •


“Weigh enough” vs. “Let it run” Again, not the same thing.

QOTD: Can you explain the term “rowing it in”?

Coxswain recordings, pt. 21

QOTD: I am going to be a senior and I have been looking at this one school that I could potentially row for. I have spoken with the coaches via email and I really love the school. The head coach seems to be interested in me but the thing is, I am not the tallest or strongest rower on my team and I am worried that I won’t be able to live up to the expectations of the college coach or college rowing in general.

• four YEARS AGO •

QOTD: What is Radcliffe? Is that another rowing team? I’ve heard they also row under Harvard’s team?

QOTD: I used to cox women for all four years I was in high school. I’m in college now and on a men’s team. In an eight or a stern loader four I have a hard time seeing things in front of me since my rowers are so much taller than women I’m used to coxing. This had led to close calls with logs floating in the water and other obstructions. HELP!

QOTD: Hi today was my first day coxing and my coach told me I had to talk the whole time. I tried but I felt really silly and I had nothing to say. I would really appreciate just some things to say! Thanks!

Training: Carbohydrate loading and rowing

VOTW: The Social Network


Flashback Friday: January 15th – 28th

• one YEAR AGO •

Defining the role of the coxswain: Motivation

Words. Solid take on what it’s like to be a coach.

Top 20 terms coxswains should know: Check

Coxswain recordings, pt. 23 Three recordings from Katelin Snyder – two from UW (including the UW-Cal duel from 2009) and one from the World Cup with the USA women’s eight (my fave of the three).


VOTW: Dirty Dozen Rowing Club. Don’t skip out on the article, it’s a long read but it’s so good.


QOTD: I emailed the coach of a college I’m interested in about two weeks ago and she hasn’t emailed me back yet. I’m going to look at the school in a week and I’d like to meet up with her. Would it be worth sending her another email or should I just drop it?

Words. Good to remember/emphasize during winter training.

• three YEARS AGO •

QOTD: Any tips on being clear and concise with calls during race pieces? I tend to get a little overwhelmed by everything going on around me and I sometimes trip over words or get too wordy.

VOTW: How it’s made: Rowing shells

QOTD: Hi! In a race, when you call a power 10, do you call it two strokes ahead (Power 10 in two, that’s one, two,) or do you just call it?


Teachable Moments A semi how-to guide on not losing your patience with novices.

• four YEARS AGO •

QOTD: Hi, I’m on a novice crew team and I’ve enjoyed it, but I want to quit. My team will have enough girls to fill an 8 but how do I let my coach know? I’m an engineering student and my schedule is too demanding for this sport. I know I’ll miss it but I need to focus on my schoolwork. Any advice?

Basic gear for novice coxswains

QOTD: Transitioning by fours in an 8+ always confuses me. I know you start with stern four, then stern pair out, then three four in, but what’s after that? Who goes in and out in what order? Thanks!

QOTD: As a coxswain, I guess you could say this is my first actual leadership position. I’ve had a little experience with being in charge of activities, but never the safety of a 30 thousand dollar boat … or people. What would you say makes an effective leader? Most people if they are, are born leaders. How would you bring that out of someone, if that’s even possible?

QOTD: Is it better for a cox to be feared or loved?