“What is a coxswain?” You may be asking. The simple answer is that a coxswain is a person who sits in a rowing shell and directs the rowers like the quarterback on a football team. But the role of a coxswain is much bigger than that and it is a very important position on a team and in a boat. A coxswain is a leader, cheerleader, tactician, driver, and coach all wrapped up into one. A cox (or “coxie”):
- Maintains the safety of the shell and athletes (or “crew”) they are with both on and off the water.
- They steer the shell (the proper name for a rowing boat).
- They give commands instructing the rowers what to do like how hard, how fast, and when to row.
- Coxswains relay instructional information about rowing technique or a workout to the rowers from the coach and then reinforce that information to help the rowers succeed.
- During races, they are the eyes and ears of the crew using tactics and experience to compete at a high level against their competitors.
- They help maintain the equipment the athletes use like the boats and oars.
Sound like a lot? It is but with training, time, and experience you can do it! The next question is how you go about becoming a coxswain?