Role of the Coxswain

Basic Responsibilities

  • Safety of the boat and rowers on and off the water
  • Launching
  • Steering (most important – concentrate on this to start with). This includes directing rowers to power up or down on port or starboard to achieve a course change.
  • Executing Drills as directed by the coach
  • Landing
  • Taking care of equipment (eg cox box, lights)

Later Responsibilities

  • Giving individual feedback to the rowers to help them towards better rowing style — as a coxswain, you are a member of the coaching staff!
  • Add drills during warm ups or when rowing on the paddle to fix a problem in the boat (CARE HERE! Use drills very sparingly to avoid confusion, especially with a novice crew. Don’t throw in drills during power pieces. Always listen to the coach, and don’t ask the crew to do anything you are not sure about). Coaches will generally have a “theme of the day” for their drills. Ask the coach before introducing drills that stray from the areas of focus for that day.
  • Provide enthusiasm and motivation for crews, particularly during race training. In this regard, pay attention to whether the boat is fading and call power tens to bring attention back onto the power in the stroke. And if the boat is beginning to fall apart, call a concentration ten to bring your rowers’ attention back onto their technique.