Coxswain Tips: Know Your Squad

Your are the brain of the boat; the better connected you are to the rest of your crew, the better you’ll function as a single unit on the water.

  1. Go to meals with your crew. If you have morning practice, and a good part of the team goes to breakfast afterward, join them. Same thing if you have afternoon practice and the team goes to dinner.

  2. Form study groups with your teammates. If you share a class with someone on your team, take advantage of your similar schedules and study together. You can often take advantage of time that might otherwise be unusable, such as bus rides to away regattas and time spent waiting at a venue.

  3. Do the land workouts. Don’t complain

  4. If you’re having trouble connecting with someone, find an activity you don’t normally do and invite everyone in the boat. A change in scenery--away from the stresses of seat selection--can be just what your crew needs to iron out any interpersonal wrinkles.

  5. Ask for anonymous feedback. Someone in your crew may be really happy with the job you’re doing, but may be too shy to tell you in person. This happens more than you would think.

  6. Make a special effort to connect with people on your team who are in different class years. Not only does this create a better support system at school, it can also turn into a powerful professional network later.

  7. Make friends with the other coxswains. Do this for everyone. Coxswain drama is awkward for the whole team (and no one ends up looking good).

You’re not going to be friends with everyone on the team, some of your relationships may even be strained, but it’s your job to be the leader, be the bigger man or woman, and make the effort to get to know your crew as well as possible.