Basic Coxing Commands

When giving commands, at all times it is important to be clear and be
CONSISTENT, so that the rowers always know what to expect. For instance,
always count down in the same way, or always give the same instructions when
putting a boat in the water. Below are some of the more basic commands that UBRC use (taken mainly from ‘Coxing the Right Way (Chris’ Way)’).

Note: dots indicate pauses.

On the Water:

  • When starting to row from rest:
    • First state who is to row: “All four”, “bow pair to row,
      stern pair set the boat”, “port side to row” etc.

    • Then state the type of stroke to be taken: “Full slide”,
      “half slide”, “backing strokes” etc

    • “Sit ready….” (wait till the blades are in their proper
      position – hands against chest, lay back position – and the boat
      is set) “…ready all…..row”
  • To stop the boat: “Way enough”
  • To stop the boat fast: “Hold water!” or “Hold her hard!” (with urgency) – the rowers
    will square their blades in the water to stop the boat

  • When rowing:
    • Always give your commands as the rowers take the catch
    • Say clearly what you are going to want the rowers to do,
      when you want them to do it, and then tell them to do it.
      In the following examples,
      the commands are said on the catch, and the dots reflect the
      pause during the succeeding stroke:

      • “take it up to full pressure in three strokes….three….

      • “half slide….next stroke…go”
      • “way enough in three….three….two….one, way enough”

      (I prefer to count down, though other people will count up. Never count
      above ten – count two sets of ten instead of one twenty)

    • When doing pieces, count out power tens every couple of minutes (in a
      short piece) or longer. Count groups of ten strokes concentrating
      on particular aspects of the stroke, such as fast hands or strong
      legs, to make the piece more interesting and focussed for the crew.

On Land:

With all instructions on land, tell the rowers what to do…say ‘ready’…
then tell them to do it (or count down) e.g. “up to shoulders on three…
one…two…three”, or “up and over heads…ready…up”. Rowers should
expect to wait for the command rather than just doing it in their own time.
You should not leave them waiting too long for the final instruction.

  • Taking the boat out:
    • Take out the boats from the lower racks first (Double, Capitalist,
      Paula) if there is a choice (don’t hang around waiting for a crew
      to turn up, though).

    • Have rowers organize themselves by height and stand two each
      end of the boat.

    • “Hands on, lift the boat an inch and slide it away
      from the rack”

    • “Walk the boat carefully into the boathouse watching the riggers”
      (For boats on higher racks, take it up to heads when the stern is
      clear of the end of the boathouse)

    • “Swing the stern round carefully”
    • “Lift on one side to avoid knocking the riggers”
    • “Way enough!” (loudly)
    • When out of the boathouse: “Take it up to shoulders…ready…up”.
      Walk with the boat to the ramp, checking bow and stern to see if
      all is clear.

    • On the ramp: “Up and over heads…ready…up; Walk it down slowly”
    • On the dock: “Feet to the edge….one hand center..” (don’t keep them
      hanging around at this stage) “..Lower it gently into the water”
      Be prepared to help here, especially with smaller rowers.

    • When the boat is in the water, stay with it to keep it from
      drifting away. It helps to hold onto the boat while the oars are
      being put in for extra stability.
  • Getting into the boat:
    • “Slide the oars across; seats back”
    • “All four, one foot in……down and in”
    • “Tie in your footstretchers and number off from bow when ready”
    • “Coxswain getting in”
    • When ready to go: “Push away from the dock”
  • Getting out of the boat and putting it away:
    • “Coxswain getting out”
    • “Untie and count off when ready”
    • “All four, one foot back…up and out”
    • “Bring the oars across”
    • Hold onto the boat while the rowers remove their oars.
    • The rowers distribute themselves along the boat:
      “Hands on…..up and over heads…ready….up”

    • “Walk it slowly up the ramp”
    • “Split and down to shoulders….ready….down”
    • “Slowly into the boathouse watching the riggers”