Novice Rowers – Coxes' Checklist


In advance

  1. Reassure yourself you are familiar with and confident that you meet the criteria in the Cox’s self assessment guide.
  2. Study the weather and be confident that it is suitable for novices
  3. Know whether the tide is coming in or out
  4. Ensure the crew in your boat has at least one other rower who is qualified and willing to cox
  5. Ensure you or another member of the crew has a means of communication with the shore and the coastguard – usually a mobile phone in a waterproof case
  6. As a club we want to encourage modern outdoor activity coaching techniques which favours experiential learning. That means learners are given more chance to explore and work out for themselves. In this guide you are asked to challenge the crew to work things out for themselves – obviously only when it is safe to do so!!

Meeting at the yard

  1. Introduce yourself and the crew.
  2. Ask about any former water based experience, can they swim and are they fit and well – no medical issues you need to be aware of.
  3. Explain procedure for getting the boat ready and to the water – include safe handling of the boat, lifting on and off trolleys, care on the Prom etc

Meeting at the shore

Follow step 1 and 2 above (Meeting at the yard)

On the shore

  1. Ask the crew to study the water. What do they see; what implications might this have for the boat/rowing; what is the state of the tide and what difference might this make to plans i.e. trolley positions, steep beach, sandbars etc. Encourage the crew to discuss this and don’t just tell them.
  2. Brief description of boat set up and rower/cox position (could draw in the sand)
  3. Outline the stroke – rower’s seated position, getting ready, catch, drive, finish and recovery. This can be reinforced by a practical demonstration seated on the sand or by one rower in the boat. It may be necessary to leave this step until the boat is launched and away from the shore but again another rower can demonstrate. All novice rowers will have received the link to the SCRA learning films for fixed seat technique –
  4. Life jackets – assist the new rower to put on the lifejacket ensuring the correct fit and explaining manual inflation by yellow toggle, and pointing out the safety whistle and manual blow up nozzle. This would be a good time to explain how stable the boats are but in the unlikely event of a capsize to make sure they are clear from underneath the boat before inflating their lifejacket and to follow all instructions from the cox thereafter.
  5. Remind all rowers that if anyone is nervous or uncomfortable about conditions before going out or when out on the water they must say and the boat will come in.

Ready to launch

  1. Understand the best positioning of the crew. Who will you put in stroke and why? Where is the optimum place for the novice and why? What if you have 2 heavy people, 2 light people?
  2. Explain the procedure for getting the boat launched. Rowers standing behind their oars, bow going in first, two second etc on the cox’s command.
  3. Explain the commands “ready to row” and “row” and that the boat will row out from the shore then stop “oars” to make adjustments.

At sea

  1. At this point take the opportunity review good personal set up for novice rowers. Correct posture, correct seating position, hand position on the oar, relaxed shoulders etc
  2. Nice relaxed slow rowing
  3. Don’t overload the newbie with information but gentle reinforcement and encouragement of good technique.
  4. Simple pick drills, single handed rowing, eyes closed rowing, increasing/decreasing pace and pressure and turns can be practised. Occasional stops for drinks, stretches, chats and changing positions can be fitted in. Changing position – one person at a time, keeping low etc. All of these will be at the discretion of the cox and dependent on conditions.

Returning to shore

  1. Well off shore inform the rowers they are returning to shore and explain the procedure – reverse of launch.
  2. Comment on conditions and how they may vary – mention the drogue as an option in certain conditions. It is good practise to ask the crew what they can see when they look to the shore. What’s the water doing? How does it sound? What might they need to think about?
  3. Emphasise that the cox is in charge and that the crew must be attentive and follow his/her instructions at all times.
  4. The cox should focus 100% on the water. The boat normally beaches near the groyne (convenient) but this is not necessarily the safest place in certain conditions.

On shore – until the boat is safely handed over to the next crew the cox is still in charge.

  1. Explain turning the boat in the water.
  2. Lifejackets off
  3. Debrief of experience on the first outing.
  4. At this time, it may be necessary to return the boat to the yard so, again, this should be fully explained before starting.

13 March 2020