Tips for Coxswains

Here is the outline of a Coxswain Clinic held at our boathouse.


It was presented by Sarah Obernauer – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Check also out our video page with some very useful coxing instruction videos.


I.  Safety

                - #1 job

                - Observing traffic patterns

                - Handling wake

                                - Always parallel to wake, never perpendicular



II. Steering

                - Always look ahead; Watch for hazards to avoid large steering changes later

                - How to steer- small motions; Less is more

                - When to steer?

                                - Blades in v. blades out

                                - Tell crew “on the rudder”

                - Picking a point

                                - One on port, one on starboard: keep your boat in the middle

                                - Or, pick a center point on the horizon

                - Working with other coxswains

                                - Coxswain on the right sets the course unless otherwise instructed

                                - Communicate regularly re: points, starting pieces, bringing boats even, etc.

                                - Keeping boats together: why is this important?


III. What to say?

  • Practice v. racing: You get out what you put in
  • We v. you
  • Command v. conversation
  • Tone
  • Confidence & ownership
  • Speak clearly & controlled
  • When to speak
  • Embrace the silence
  • Fillers
  • Technical calls
  • Identify. Correct. Assess. & What. How. When.
  • Speaking to individuals v. boat
  • Kick, send. Rhythmic calls
  • Motivational calls
  • Internal v. external coxing
  • Meters, time, rating
  • Moving on crews; Taking seats


IV. Demeanor

  • How do you want to be n [by teammates, other crews, coaches, etc.]?
  • Element of professionalism & composure
  • How your attitude affects the team