Coxswain Clinic Presentation

Coxswain Clinic
For the novice to intermediate coxswain
Adam Withycombe
(865) 406-1073
[email protected]
Role of the Coxswain
I encourage you to Google “What is the role of
the coxswain?” I found a ton of definitions, but
the following are common themes:
 Safety – this is always listed first
 Steering
 Facilitating practice
 Executing the race plan
 Serving as the eyes, ears, and voice of the
 Motivating your crew
(Notice I did not say coach…)
Learn the Language
Rowing has a language all its own. As a
coxswain, it is your responsibility to learn it and
speak it better than anyone else.
Boat Basics
 Direction
Stern Pair
Bow Pair
This is my oar…
In the Cockpit
Left hand forward, boat goes left
Steering Cables
Cox-Box/Pace Coach
Stroke Rate
Stroke Count
Come Prepared!
Every good coxswain carries gear (either from the team or
your own):
7/16th Wrench
1/2-Inch Wrench
Adjustable Wrench
Electrical Tape
Spacers for the oarlock
Small Spiral Notepad
Small Roll of Athletic Tape
Steering Fundamentals
Steering is about where you are going to be…not
where you currently are. You have to plan ahead!
 Left hand forward goes left
 Boat takes about 2-3 strokes to react
 Turning causes you to lose your balance
 Find a point (target) far in the distance
 Consider wind and current
Steering an 8 is like driving a school bus from the back seat. You can’t see
over the person in front of you. It doesn’t turn. It doesn’t stop on a dime.
Bow Loaders – A.K.A. “The Coffin”
Pros and Cons:
 Better visibility of
obstacles in front
 Restricted tunnel vision
 Very difficult to
see/correct your crew
 No communication with
the stroke
 Less likely to notice if you
are over-steering
Take it SLOW!
Row by stern pair only and stop early
Float in to the dock
Have rowers “Lean Away” to protect riggers
 Note: this will cause the boat to turn slightly in the
direction you are leaning
 Consider wind and current
 If at first you don’t succeed…back up and try again.
 All help should come ONLY from your stroke seat,
everyone else needs to be quiet and listen for commands
Looking Good…
• Slight angle into the dock
• Not rowing…drifting in
• Rowers are paying attention
• Leaning to starboard
Body Position/Rowing Stroke
1. Sitting Ready/Release
Legs flat, up tall, slight lay
back, handle in to the body
2. Hands Away
4. ¼, ½, ¾ Slide
Break the slide length into
these increments. This is all
about legs and knees.
Hands only thing to move – 5. Full Slide/Catch
no body, no knees
Knees at 90-degrees, up
tall, not over-reaching, not
3. Bodies Over
over-compressed (heels just
Up tall, pivot from the hips, come up), rotate towards
reach forward, knees down your rigger
What to Watch
New coxswains often have a hard time knowing how to help their
crew. The best place to start is with the oar.
 Timing is everything!
 Catch and Release – In together, out together
 Blade Depth
 Hatchet should be completely buried under the water throughout
the stroke, but not too deep (1-inch under max)
 Square Blade Release
 Blade should be vertical when it comes out of the water
 Blade Height and Roll Up
 Blade stays 2 inches above the surface (no “sky” at the catch). Roll
up to vertical as the hands cross the knees
 Puddles – spacing, quality…this takes a bit of time
Facilitating a Practice
Understand, Anticipate, and Execute
 Learn the workout plan
 Write it down!
 Warm up
 Pick Drill
 Drills
 How does it go?
 What is the purpose?
 Pieces
How many?
Stroke Rate/Pace?
Is there a particular focus?
 Communicate
 Coach (2-way)
 Other coxswains
 Stay near other boats
 Start even
 Don’t cheat a course
 Your stroke
 What does s/he feel?
 What does s/he want?
 (cover your mic for this
 Pick Drill
 Always square blade
 Blade depth
 Reach and Leverage
 Intentional focus on body
 Build the entire stroke
 Wide Grip
one step at a time
 Inside hand halfway up
 Catch and Drive
 Timing
 Rotation/Body Position
 Suspension
 Outboard Arm Only
Command Your Crew
 Know your commands
 Speak with confidence
 Your voice is a cadence
 Crisp, clean, enunciate
 Calls on the catch…1, 2, 3
 Give commands “in two”
 “In two (strokes), stern four
out, bow four
 “In two way enough and let it
 Know what individuals are
working on.
 Ask the coach and/or the
 Less is more
 Common Commands
Way enough = stop
Sit Ready
Ready and…row
In Two…
Hold Water/Hold Down
Check it down
On the feather/square
Stern four/bow four
____ to back/____ to row
Counting/Power 10s
Up tall, level hands,
suspend, catch timing,
breathe, outboard elbow
Execute a Race Plan
 Know your course! The shortest distance between
two points…
 Rowers want to know 2 things…
 When can I quit? (How much longer? Distance markers)
 Where is everyone else?
 Follow the race plan
 Start sequence, stroke rate, sprints
 Strategic power 10s at specific places
 Motivation
 Know your crew…what makes them turn on the speed?
Home Water
 The internet has become a treasure trove of great
coxswain stuff!
 US Rowing
 (Mary Whipple – US National Cox)
 Youtube – watch coxswains call races
 Google “Coxswain Training”
 You won’t learn if you don’t ask…
 Call me or email if you have
 [email protected]
 (865) 406-1073

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