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Coxing and Commands

Some boats require a coxswain to steer them. The cox also calls commands to the crew to manoeuvre the boat, will provide feedback to the crew and will work very closely with the coach during training exercises. During races the cox will try to steer the most competitive line, will provide much needed encouragement to the crew and will be instrumental when deciding when to make a tactical ‘push’ for the line. It is important that the crew and coxswain learn the correct calls and what they mean. On land the cox will instruct the crew how to safely remove the boat from the rack to the water and back again post outing. The only voice you should hear in the boat during an outing is the coxes. A good experienced cox can be the difference between winning and losing a race.


Coxes are rare, be nice to yours.






Coxing Commands

Here are some commonly used commands that you will hear the cox call.

Hands On - ’The coxswain is in charge of lifting the boat from its rack and this is the command to get everybody ready with their ‘hands on’ the boat.‘

Number Off When Ready - 'This is used when the crew is in the boat and has pushed away from the shore or pontoon. It is usual for each crew member to shout out the number of their seat, in order, starting with the bow seat which is number one. If someone is not ready then they will not shout their number.

'Go' - A command only ever takes effect when the cox shouts ‘go’ to make sure that the whole crew acts together e.g. ‘whole crew, lift to heads, are you ready, go’.‘

Are You Ready? - ’Is used to make sure everybody is ready for the command 'Go' which follows.

‘Back Down’ - Is used to reverse the boat.

'From Backstops’ - This is the command for a stationary crew to get ready to row, It makes sure that everyone starts in the same position, which is with the legs down flat and the handles at the body. To get the crew to row the cox might say ‘Whole crew, from back stops, medium pressure, are you ready, go’.

'Wind Down’ - Is the order to slow the rate and ease off on the rowing pressure.

'Easy Oar’ - Means stop rowing. A good way for the cox to use this would be ‘next stroke, easy oar’ in time with the rowing so that the crew stop all together.

'Hold It Up’ - An emergency stop and is used if the boat or crew are in danger of collision or accident.

Richmond / Teddington Riggers Up – In order to remove or return a boat to a rack it often involves turning the boat on its side so it can be carried in and out of the narrow boat bay. The coxswain will instruct which way the riggers need to be turned. If away from the club at an event a cox will typically pick an obvious physical feature and make a rotation call based on that, for example: “Riverside riggers up”, “Trailer side riggers up’, ‘Clubhouse riggers up’ etc.

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