Coxing for the Opposite Sex
The topic of coxing the opposite sex is one that does not receive enough serious attention in the rowing world and is a debate that seems unlikely to fade any time soon. You need only take a moment to peruse online rowing forums to see that this hot topic is full of misconceptions and stereotypes. So what is all the fuss about?
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With female athletes and female coxswains, it’s harder to use anger as a lever to greater endeavor. With a men’s team if you can get their blood up, they will fight harder, sometimes just to prove you wrong. Women will often give up if you push back too much.
Based on this, effective calls for women may be along the lines of ‘That’s great girls, I know we can take another seat!’ where there is both encouragement and positive reinforcement. In other words you need to keep them fighting! In comparison, an effective call for a men’s crew may be ‘Take that seat now! Prove that you’re not the weaker team!’ where a clear call to action has been made that will appeal to their more aggressive nature. But some motivational techniques could work for either gender, Rebecca Caroe, rowing coach and athlete recalls: During the Head of the River Race in London our female coxswain once promised each member of the crew a pint of beer for every boat we overtook. We overtook six!
The key here, is that you need to know the sensibilities of your crew, and whether or not anyone would be easily offended by innuendos. Note: A male coxswain cannot make the same jokes to a female crew as he would to a male crew. The same is true for a female coxswain. So don’t go there until you know crew, know how they respond to humour, and what they think is funny.
Here is a story of one young coxie who leads her men’s crew to victory time and again in the juniors. Her name is Nicole Venditti, and her strategy: "She's hard on them but loves the team like they are her brothers; that's why she's not afraid to kick their butts once in a while. When she is frustrated she yells at them but it's because she cares about them. Nicole keeps the boys on an even playing field,” says Mother, Donna. This is not how you would approach a women’s crew, and Nicole knows the difference, which could be why she has about 13 medals swinging around her neck. Get her full story.
Females coxing males:
Males coxing females:
Tell us your experiences - what motivated you as an athlete and as a coxswain how have you managed to get your crew going?
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