In coxed boats, the cox (or “coxwain”), plays a crucial role in steering the boat and providing motivation and technical guidance to their crews. They also direct the crew to ensure the boat is safely handled on land. Crucially, the cox is in charge of the crew with responsibility for safety. In coached outings, the cox acts as the coach’s assistant and translates the coach’s intentions into practical calls. Their unique position in the boat means that an experienced cox can also diagnose problems and coach the crew into appropriate corrective action. An effective cox must be positive, a good motivator and very encouraging. Whilst errors must be spotted and corrected, it is also important to catch someone getting it right where they have been struggling. When racing, the cox makes tactical calls for pushes and rating changes, mostly according to the race-plan or under the direction of the coach, but also in response to changing circumstances in the race.
- “Coxing in the Bumps” – a guide by Mike Arnold is available to download here.
- CUCBC’s guidelines for Coxes and Coaches has useful general advice and local information.
- First and Third Trinity Boat Club and Kings College Boat Club both provide useful introduction to coxing in general as well as Cam-specific information.
- For members of British Rowing, instructive and interactive material on effective coxing is available on RowHow (set up login details on the British Rowing website and use the same details to login to RowHow; if you access either of the coxing courses, you will be asked if you wish to enroll in the course – click Yes: there are no costs or other commitments incurred).
- A Guide to Advanced Coxing on the Isis, by Rehan Ali, has some Oxford-specific sections, but much that is also applicable elsewhere.
- The Just for Coxes page at Rowperfect includes a downloadable cox’s logbook, and the opportunity to sign-up for weekly e-mail tips from Andy Probert. They have various articles relevant to coxes, including one on the Quickest way to improve your coxing.
- Coxwaination has some US-specific materials and terminology but also some articles of general interest.
- The coxing blog, Ready All, Row is another US-based site with some interesting-looking content.
- The Coxswain Perspective blog by Rory Copus is aimed at rowers and coaches as well as coxes.
- Another US-based site, Row2k, has advice for coxes on looking after your voice.
- Chattercox offers cox-coaching on a commercial basis. Their News section contains some interviews and tips which may be of interest.
- Another US-based site, CoxPod has coxing podcasts and associated community resources.
Coxing on Tideway
- Here is a video guide for coxing the Mortlake to Putney Head of the River rowing races (the Oxford vs Cambridge Boat Race course in reverse).
- Tideway maps with distances to key landmarks may be useful.
- Coxing the Tideway guide from Twickenham Rowing Club.
- Google Maps has ‘streetviewed’ the Tideway from a launch – click here to access the map, which will put you on the Thames near Chiswick Bridge, facing towards Putney. They haven’t driven exactly on the racing line, but you won’t be too far wrong if you follow where their launch went. It is a useful way to see what the various landmarks look like from the river.
Race Examples A few interesting examples of race coxing:
- The Ready All, Row blog has a large set of articles critiquing the coxing calls in various race recordings, inlcuding
- Australia’s LM8 in the 2011 Rowing World Champs final – “Courage…nowww!”
- Upper Thames IM2 HoRR – camera footage, course and split data
- Oxford Cambridge Boat Race 1993 – a fan of the Cambridge cox writes “he’s just so positive & manages to say a lot, but keep a good rhythm to his voice. I also like how he calls on individual rowers & gets excited. I guess it’s easy when you’re ahead, but I like it”
- Thames RC 2012 WEHoRR – edited highlights with music, but most calls audible