By George Kirschbaum

Coxswains – Watch and Learn

Dartmouth, USA, Afternoon training session with Dartmouth College Ladies BC, on the Connecticut River. Hanover New Hampshire Tuesday 06/10/2009 Autumn/Fall foliage, boat Class, Women's coxed fours. W4+ [Mandatory Credit Peter Spurrier Intersport Images].

Days at the course offer plenty of down time, but it doesn’t have to be wasted time. Like coaches, coxswains must also be scholars of the sport. Fortunately, there is a lot they can learn by watching and listening to other crews. Technique and tactics, in particular, are elements that can be gleaned with patience and a watchful eye.

From the shore, you have the perfect vantage point for learning.

From the shore, you have the perfect vantage point for learning about the rowing stroke. Watch the crew in the lead and the crew bringing up the rear: How do their techniques differ and how do these varying styles impact the outcome of the race? Break the stroke down by looking at stroke length and catch timing. Do they swing as a crew? How far do they lay back? Picking out these difference allows you to fine tune your eye and gives you a greater ability to influence the changes needed in your own boat. As you watch a crew come down the course, also note where they are in relation to others. There are many ways to run a race plan and you can often observe how crews implement them by watching the action unfold on dry land.

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