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The Coxsain

Coxswain (rowing)

In a rowing crew, the coxswain /ˈkɒksən/ KOK-sən (or simply the 'cox', or 'coxie') is the member who sits in the stern (except in bowloaders) facing the bow.[1] The coxswain is responsible for steering the boat, and coordinating the power and rhythm of the rowers. In some capacities, the coxswain is responsible for implementing the training regimen prescribed by a team's coach during practice. A coxswain is necessary in the first place because the rowers sit with their backs to the direction of travel.


Role

The role of a coxswain in a crew is to.

Keep the boat and rowers safe at all times by properly steering the boat (according to the river or regatta rules and safety for the crew)

  • Be in command of the boat at all times
  • Coach the crew when the coach is not present
  • Provide motivation and encouragement to the crew
  • Provide feedback on the crew's performance both in and out of the races
  • Make any necessary tactical decisions
  • Organize and direct the crew at all times, including when putting the boat away etc.
  • Be responsible for the vessel; in the event of a collision, the coxswain is accountable under maritime law as 'Master of the vessel' (although the stroke may sometimes be the captain of the boat).

The coxswain is in charge of the shell. They are responsible for crew safety, which must be the prime concern. Along with steering, their role is to coach the crew. The cox acts as the coach's assistant, but in the absence of a coach, as is the case in a race, the cox becomes the coach. Being in the boat, the cox has a feel for what the crew need and a good view of technical errors. The cox needs to translate the coach's concerns into practical calls. The cox must be able to diagnose problems such as balance and coach the crew into appropriate corrective action. At the start of an outing the cox must be able to take the crew through a technical and physical warm-up so that the coach is presented with a crew which is able to start the training program and has recapped any points that the coach has been emphasizing in previous outings. It is essential that the coach and the cox work in good harmony and show respect to each other all the time. It's essential that the cox is briefed on what the coach wants to achieve in the outing from the point of view of building physical fitness, technical skill and team spirit. A 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.


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