Tough subject but necessary.  How to pick the right coxswain for your crew.

There are two parts to this

  1. training and improving the skills of your coxes
  2. selecting a crew including the cox

All coaches should be doing 1 through the year.  Every cox needs coaching and developing to improve their skills.  

The best way to do this is to ask your coxswain at the end of each practice to tell you one thing they did well, one thing they think they could do better and use that as the basis for discussion about how to improve.  In this way you don't have to set the discussion theme - the cox tells you what they need!  [Anything to make the coach's life easy eh?]

How to choose a coxswain

Selecting a coxswain is more subjective.  If you are fortunate to have several candidates - you should read our article What's the Most Important Skill in a Coxswain?

This may help you form a short list of attributes.  You may choose to give them scores (points out of 10) for each one.

My preferred way is to form my own view but then to ask the crew in a secret ballot to write the name of their preferred coxswain and vote.  You don't need to reveal the results, just check that their view aligns with your own.  The secret nature of the ballot is important. 

A crew will work hard for a coxswain they respect and usually they respect the coxswain who will get them the race results they desire.  

This isn't a perfect system as "voting for your friends" can give a biassed result, but I have confidence if you ask them to vote for the cox who will help you deliver the best possible race - you'll get an honest vote.

Resources: Other articles which may be useful

  1.  a Reddit thread on How Coxswains are Chosen 
  2. Rowing Magazine short article about How to Select a Cox (not the greatest detail....!)
  3. Rowperfecrt's Duncan Holland on Does Size Matter? - How I choose a cox