As coxswain, you are part of the coaching staff.
While it is up to your rowers to effect a change in their rowing technique, you can improve the rowing in your boat by calling various flaws to their attention.
At the Catch:
- Timing All blades should be entering (catching) and leaving
(releasing) the water together. If not, call out “timing”, or specify
who is early or late.
- Pausing The stroke should be one continuous motion – sometimes
rowers hesitate, or pause, at the catch or release. The catch
should be smooth and quick and the release should be quick
out of bow. If a rower is going too fast up the slide and is
then pausing at the catch, you will feel a ‘stern check’ – your
body will get thrown forward at the catch. Call out “no pausing
at the catch”, “get rid of this stern check”, or try and work
out by looking at the blades who is pausing.
- Skying When the oar climbs in height during the recovery rather
than remaining a constant couple of inches above the water.
This occurs because the rower is dropping his hands towards his
ankles at the catch (diving towards the catch), often to get
- Deep The hands are lifted too high causing the oars to go too
deep usually at the catch. Only the blades should be under water,
not the oar shaft. Can be because rower is pulling with the
- Rowing in (Also known as catching on the drive or shooting the slide) The blade
moves back towards the
stern before it has been put in the water – the legs drive before the
blade is securely locked into the water.
On the Drive:
- Blade Depth Are the blades not moving evenly just under the surface of the water — are they washing out toward the release, or are they digging deep earlier in the stroke? Remind rowers to feel the water and call out who is digging deep or washing out.
- Easing Up Does the boat feel like it is coasting or following-through at the end of the stroke, rather than accelerating through the drive? Remind rowers
to accelerate through the drive.
At the Release:
- Hesitation Oar stops for a moment as it comes out before moving
away. Remind rowers “arms and backs quickly out of bow”
- Messy water White water being scooped up at finish. Rower is
feathering before the oar has cleared the water. Remind rowers
about clean finishes, tapping down before they feather and push the
- Washing out The oar starts out of the water before the drive has
finished – you can see white water. Tell rowers to pull their
oars into their chests
- Short Releasing early – usually not enough layback. See this
by looking at and comparing the distances between oars.
On the Recovery:
- Set The boat is not sitting level in the water. Can be due to
many causes: body weight leaning out of the boat; hand heights
uneven; release not clean and so on.
- Fast hands over the knees This is when the recovery is being rushed.
Hands should be quick out of bow and slowed over the knees
- Fast slide This is when the slide accelerates towards the
catch – this slows down the boat. You can detect this when
the oar speeds up towards the catch.
- Slides hitting frontstops You will hear a “thud” at the catch
when the seat wheels hit the front of the slide, which causes
a stern check. The foot stretchers may need altering
- Excessive oarlock noise The most common cause is the oar being
pulled out of the oarlock at the release and pushed back against
the button at the catch. Remind rowers to keep oar pushed out
and lean into their riggers.