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Coxswain Clinic - Sprint Racing

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Kate Grimaldi

on 14 September 2014

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Transcript of Coxswain Clinic - Sprint Racing

Dennis Ferrer
Kate Grimaldi
2k Racing
Knowing the Course
Rower Responsibility
Breaking Down the 2k
Knowing the Course
Pre-Race Research
You are responsible for knowing everything there is to know about the race course
you arrive.

*Especially is this is your first time on the course.
Course map and length
Warm-up patterns
Buoys, landmarks, meter markings, potential obstructions, etc.
Brentwood Course
Rower Responsibility
Take Charge!
You are completely in charge of your crew on race day.
Making sure your rowers know what time they need to arrive
Managing efficient boat rigging and/or tightening
3hrs before your race: You must know where each rower is at all times from here on out.
Bathroom breaks, listening to ipods in the shade, getting a snack...everyone checks in with you first.
Race Officials
Calling the Start
Find Your Zen.
The most important thing during the warmup is to stay relaxed, composed, and calm for your crew.
"Fake it till you make it!" - Dennis Ferrer,
Words of Wisdom 2014
Your job is to get your crew as prepared as they need to be for the line...to do that you need a clear & focused mind!
Nothing new: stick to your warmup plan.
Approaching the Line
Have a plan & stick to it!
Have an on-land conversation with your crew.
Do they prefer to be at the line & locked in early?
Or would they prefer to be a later crew approaching the line?
be locked into the stake-boats
before your race, or you may receive a penalty.
At the Line
On the Water
(Pre Race)
What race is coming down right now?
Are the races still running on time?
Clarifications regarding the traffic pattern.
At the
Starting Line
The officials will (hopefully) give you a 5min warning & 2min warning, but do not rely on these.
If an official gives you a command for any reason at the start (regarding your point, boat position, question, warning, etc) respond quickly and always raise your hand to acknowledge.
the Race
Managing the Start
Small words, quick calls.
Know & Communicate what kind of start will be called to your crew (normal start, quick-start).

During polling:
You can adjust your point (very quickly) if needed.
Blades in. Sit up. Remind your rowers to look at the flag.
How the start should sound:
Official: "Attention."
You: "Flag." (or whatever word you choose)
Official: "Go!"
When to NOT Start
No point, No go.
If you feel your crew is unprepared in
, DO NOT START. It is better to receive a warning and start prepared, than start with an unprepared crew.
Calling the Start
Small words, clear & quick calls.
Be proactive, respectful, and communicate clearly with all on-land launching officials.
(If required) check-in with launching officials (*Know your event #, event name, lane, club you're racing for...)
Manage your rowers/boat quickly if officials need to check heel ties, bowballs etc
Launch from the dock/side, or beach spot the officials designate for your crew.
60 seconds on the dock. Get out, get going!
Launchboats officials are there as your tool. Use them!
Always acknowledge that you've heard an official, and thank them for answering your questions.
Coxswains at the starting line = superheroes with supersonic hearing & quick thinking skills.
If an officials mouth opens, your mouth closes.
Always react and respond as quick as possible
Bob Nerenberg
Former USRowing Official
Current Sammamish Master Rower
Quick Start
If weather or other conditions prevent use of the normal start-ing procedure, the Starter first shall announce to the crews that a “quick start” will be used.
When all crews appear to be properly pointed and ready to race, the Starter shall immediately call out “Quick Start!” "Attention. Go!"
Once the announcement of “Quick Start” is made, the
starter shall disregard any crew signaling that it is not ready
*Remember: white flag means aligned, red flag means racing.
Types of Starts
Countdown Start
No longer exists.
Types of Starts
False Start
A crew starts before the flag has dropped.
The officials will raise the red flag, yell "Stop" and sometimes an bullhorn alarm will be sounded.
Listen to directions from the official & quickly return to the stakeboats.
*You can receive a warning penalty for a false start.
Failure to Start
A crew fails to leave the starting line after the flag has dropped.
Same as false start, the official will pull all crews back the line.
*You can receive a warning penalty for a failure to start.
At the line, it is 1000% business.
As soon as you are locked on, have your rowers sit at 3/4 slide, ready to race at a moments notice.
Blades to not need to be squared & buried, as you many be adjusting your point still.
Communicate clearly with your bow pair.
You may need to be adjusting your point up until the flag in high-wind conditions. If they will have minimal time to regrip before their first stroke, communicate this with them.
No more slide lengths.
Rowers should know the sequence, use words to convey what you want out of each stroke.
Tone: Aggressive and composed.
What to Look For:
As little white water as possible
Sharp catches, no hacking blades
You will never win a race off the start, so don't let your rowers try to do too much.
Straight Courses off the Start
At all costs, stay straight.
Lot of different opinions about steering off the start.

But keep this in mind: you can lose half a boat-length if you take an angle off the start versus steering or using pressure to stay straight.
The 'High' Strokes
Every crew rows hard for the first 150m. Your job is to make sure your crew is rowing well in order to advance your position.
Bring the intensity up but keep the focus on simple, clean technique.
When calling the shift to base pace make this call one of our clearest calls:
in-two call, use tone to help the rowers lengthen the recovery then really accelerate the first drive.
You must tell your crew where they are on all other crews by the end of your shift strokes (preferably sooner!)
Prepare. Execute. Deliver Information.
What it Means to Race a Crew
Alright QB...gametime!
When asked by non-rowing individuals what a coxswain does, I usually say the coxswain to a crew is the quarterback to a football team...only smaller.
What to Analyze
There are certain things you should be constantly looking for, listening for, and mentally preparing for.
Picking up on other crews racing strategies
Timing your counter moves
Timing your moves
The importance of sticking to your race plan
Manipulating your race plan to get the most speed out of an fluctuating race situation
Race Plans
Race plans are designed to be executed accurately & precisely. They are designed to maximize your crews racing speed, so why bother changing it?
The above statement is 98% true. Below are situations where you might consider adjusting your race plan:

Adding an extra move into your race plan to counter a crews move
Shifting your move early or late to counter a crews move
Preparing your crew to sprint early
Wind/wake conditions
'Accident' conditions: other crews collide or catch a crab, perfect time to add a move!
How to Manage Windy Race Conditions
Preparing for Unpredictability
Wind can hit the course at a moments notice, therefore you must be able to prepare & manage your crew appropriately so as to produce the maximum speed for your crew in wind conditions. .
If you can see a wind line/shadows, delay strong moves for calmer/better water or after a gust has passed your hull
Lower the stroke rate if needed
Always attempt to do a practice start or two in the direction of the course so the rowers can adjust to the course's wind conditions
Head Wind
...wind coming from your bow...
Focus on swinging the bodies into the wind together as one, unified force
Watch your rowers catches and make calls for direct blades to the water; blades are likely to sky in a head wind.
Rate may come down naturally, as the load will feel heavier for the rowers
Tail Wind
...wind coming from your stern...
Set will be very difficult to maintain
Focus on unifying all movements out of bow (hands away, body swing)
The rhythm needs to be very quick off the feet, quick blades and a strong,
drive acceleration
The rate may creep up, this is ok as long as there is
Keep your rowers relaxed and stick to your race plan
Cross Wind
...wind coming from your port/starboard...
Set again will be very difficult to maintain
Identify which side the wind is coming from and have
side tap down at the release harder to find set
Make sure the other side has really clean, shape releases, to allow boat to set up
Steering straight will be the next challenge
In a strong cross wind, line up on the side of the lane the wind is coming from and prepare for gusts to blow you to the other side
Don't be afraid to go down the course 'sideways'!
The Sprint
Goal: Win the Race...
...By Increasing Boat Speed!
Sprinting & increasing boat speed is
synonymous with bringing up the rate.

Your Calls Should Be:
Simple & precise
Composed & in control
Tangible information
Remember: you are either preparing, executing, or giving information.
Goal: Win the Race...
...By Increasing Boat Speed!
Q: What about motivating my crew?

A: Will your motivational call increase the speed of the hull?
Primary duties of officials per the USR Rules:
1. The primary duty of every race official is to provide for safety

2. Officials ensure all crews have fair and equal chance of winning or placing. Where a crew has been disadvantaged, officials are to restore fair racing conditions

In situations not specified in Rules, Officials are empowered to act IAW 1 & 2 with wide latitude
Understanding What Officials Do

Referees may penalize a boat for interfering with another crew by changing finish placement order, if requested

Penalties may be imposed on a crew for acts of all or individual members.

Penalties may be imposed at the judgment of Officials as authorized by the Rules
Key Rules

Normal Start
Judge aligns bows and raises White or Green Flag
Starter calls name of each Crew (no crew hands noticed)
Starter raises Red Flag calling “ATTENTION”
Starter lowers Flag quickly calling “GO”

If alignment is lost Red Flag is lowered “AS YOU WERE”

Quick Start
Starter announces that Quick Start will be used
Starter calls “QUICK START”(no crew hands noticed)
Starter raises Red Flag calling “ATTENTION”
Starter lowers Flag quickly calling “GO”

Types of Starts

If Interference may occur, Ref will raise a White flag, call the crew’s name and drop the flag in the direction should row.

If Interference will occur, the Ref will raise a White flag, call the crew’s name and calling “STOP”

If a crew may continue rowing, the Ref will raise a White flag, call the crew’s name dropping the flag forward, and calling “CONTINUE ROWING”

Understanding The Flags
If a crew is on course to hit a fixed obstacle, the Ref will raise a White flag, call the crew’s name and call “OBSTACLE”

To stop a race in progress, the Ref waves a Red flag calling “STOP” (if there’s no RED flag, don’t stop)

At the Finish, if the Ref sees no Protests, he raises a White flag to indicate race is officially over

If the Ref has a penalty to assess or receives a Protest, he raises a Red flag

Understanding The Flags (Cont.)

- an informal caution

– crew receiving 2 Warnings shall receive an Exclusion.

- removal from a single event

- individual or entire crew is removed from all following events in same regatta

– crew may be placed last, despite actual finish order


may be assessed for:
Insignia and Advertising violations
Any other minor violation at Ref’s discretion

may be assessed for:
Violating Safety rules, e.g.
rowing near course while race in progress
entering starting area before cleared to do so
warming up on race course without permission
Starting issues
not attached to station 2 minutes before scheduled start time
False Start

What Earns a Penalty

may be assessed for:
Not attached to station at scheduled start time Interference with other crews

may be assessed for:
Unsportsmanlike Conduct or flagrant Interference

may be assessed for:
Racing with underweight boat, e.g. cox dead weight
Racing with disallowed equipment

What Earns a Penalty (Cont.)

Pay attention to Official’s commands, but don’t over-react

Be polite

Ask questions about your rights under the Rules

Assert your rights when it makes a real difference

Dealing With Officials

Regular Start
If alignment is lost during the announcement of the crews, the Starter may suspend the process and resume when the previous condition is restored. If there is a significant delay, the Starter may repeat the entire procedure.
Once the announcement of the names of the crews begins, the
Starter shall disregard any crew signaling that it is not ready
under this procedure regardless of when such signal is given.
Attention. Go!
*Remember: white flag means aligned, red flag means racing.
Types of Starts
"Pry, Jump, Drive, Lengthen, Full!"
"Hold, Squeeze, Press, Accelerate, Full!"
Counter Moves
A good counter move can be the difference between a great race and an awful race
The goal of a counter move
Stop another boat from moving on you, and gain a mental advantage
When to call it
When you feel the race is at its "breaking point"
Keys to successful counter
Give a goal
Give a technical focus to achieve that goal
Convey control, and don't settle
You are completely in charge of your crew on race day.
Rowers (when anxious, stressed, or trying to mentally prepare themselves for a race) tend to wander.
If you want your crew to execute exactly what you call on the water, you need to start commanding that respect on land.
The Start
Composed before the start?
'Flag' call?
Simple calls?
Clear quick technique fixes?
Clear shifting call?
Used tone during lengthen shift?
Where other crews were?
NCAA Heat - Michigan 2V
The Sprint
Clear shift calls?
Where the other crews were?
, motivation?
Full transcript