Handbook: Coxing

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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.

Cambridge-Specific Resources

General Resources

  • British Rowing’s coxing education materials are highly recommended. You do not need to have British Rowing membership but you will need to have set up a free account in ClubHub (which is the system used to pay for Cantabs membership).
  • 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

  • Presentation and discussion about coxing Tideway races with Phelan Hill and Sophie Shapter. Quite long but covers a lot of ground, including thoughts about race plans. Content starts about 9 minutes in. Watch the next video to see the images that they talk about when talking about steering…
  • This “Steering the Tideway” guide by Phelan Hill and Sophie Shapter focuses on how to actually steer the race.
  • 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.
  • A number of crews post race videos online which may be useful to watch. The ULBC Women’s 1st 8+ WeHorr 2014 example has been suggested by an experienced cox as illustrating a good line.

Race Examples A few interesting examples of race coxing:

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