Tim Edsell of Coxn School

 In RowingChat

Streamed live on April 2nd, 2017

Tim has set up the first online tutorial service to train rowing coxswains and I was delighted to be chatting with him on RowingChat.   His experience as a regatta referee and a coxswain coach has showcased the need for improved instruction.  In this interview we run through a range of tips and tactics coaches and coxswains can use to up-skill and improve their boat control.

Timestamps to the interview

01:00 Introduction and background in rowing

04:00 How to spot if coaches are failing to teach coxes well.  Rowers telling the cox what to do.

05:00 Keeping your point (what it is and how to do it)

10:00 coaching coxswains – books are hard to get people to read.

13:00 start coaching by listening to a recording of a race or a practice. How often do coxes repeat themselves?

16:00 Why coxing improvements is like getting rid of a computer virus

19:00 Should a cox also be a coach?

21:00 How to make corrective calls five different ways e.g. catch timing

24:00 Teaching HOW to make a correction

25:00 Taking notes after an outing – ride in the coach launch and watch rowers individually

26:00 What does a coxswain feel?  Rush and Check.

28:00 What a coxswain can hear

29:00 Simultaneously monitoring

32:00 How to choose a remedy – pick the biggest flaw first

33:00 Start by coaching the whole crew before doing individuals.  The power of positive calls

38:00 Exercises and drills to reinforce technical changes.  Use this to broaden vocabulary.  Try new words.  Pick a theme for the outing.

41:00 How to take the drill learnings into normal rowing

45:00 Encourage the crew to give feedback on pieces and what went well.  Ask people individually, don’t let one or two dominate.

50:00 www.coxnschool.com guided tour.  50% discount for April enrolments

55:00 The best way to know they have learned is to quiz the learner

60:00 Evaluating your recordings – number of words per minute.

Watch RowingChat with Tim Edsell of Coxn School


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Showing 10 comments
  • Graham Cawood

    Should a cox sit still in a boat, or move so that the boat pulses under him, if he is coxing near stroke? Without a back support it might be tiring to sit still.
    It can be shown that the boat may be faster if it is heavier than the required minimum. 21 rather than 14 kg for a single! The reason for this is that a heavier boat will pulse less.
    A cox lying in the bow of some boats becomes part of the boatweight, A cox sitting in the stern, however, can choose to become boat or crew weight.
    Sliding rigger boats would pulse a lot less than our normal sliding seat boats and be faster.They are therefore banned in our rowing competitions.

  • Tim Edsell

    Hi Graham,

    Thank you for the great question.

    It is recommended that the cox “anchor” themselves to the boat. “Anchoring” yourself to the boat involves 3 things: 1. Firmly set your feet to the foot rest. 2. Engage your core/abdominal muscles and 3. Support your torso by having your arms/hands firmly holding the gunwales (top edge) of the shell. By doing these three things you should prevent you from “pulsing” with the movement of the boat.

    Some coxswains lean a bit forward. A possible issue with this position is the cox decreases their field of view and must lean to one side or the other to check their point. Or, the cox must lift their head (and possibly their torso) up to see where they are heading. A cox should minimize as much of their movement as possible when doing pieces at race pace and/or when racing.

    To prevent any sores developing along the back (usually caused by lots of check and not keeping yourself anchored to the shell), I suggest finding some very lightweight foam which you may tape to the back edge of the coxswains seat. You may need to experiment with which foam density works best for you.

    Hope this helps!

  • Tim Edsell

    One further note:

    A cox should consider doing lots of abdominal exercises to strengthen their core. Having a strong core (maybe as strong as the rowers) will prevent that muscles from fatiguing during a long practices or race.

  • Susan

    Great podcast! Will or should the coxswain feel their back hit the boat during the initial drive? I understand that check comes from weight on the footstretcher too early, , but this is different. I mean, they have to apply pressure to drive. Should the coxswain feel this?

  • Tim Edsell

    Hi Susan,

    Another great question. Yes, you should feel the power of the crew being applied as soon after the catch as possible. Sometimes, you don’t feel the power until a few moments later. This is an indication that the crew is not applying their pressure equally and together. However, you should not be “rocking” back into back section of the coxswain’s seat (I’m presuming your question is in reference to coxing an 8).

    Please look at my response to Graham above for 3 ideas how to “anchor” yourself to the boat.

    If you are of very slight build and are coxing a “strong” 8, unless you turn into “Wonder Woman”, you probably won’t be able to absorb all of the power surge. In this case, please consider protecting your back by taping some lightweight foam to the upper portion of the back rest/top edge. The foam I use is approximately 1 inch thick.

    Hope this adequately answers your question. If not, please let me know what further information I may provide.

  • Jonathon

    Is Tim’s website still live. URL doesn’t work

    • Rebecca Caroe

      No Jonathon – he retired in 2020 and closed it down. Sorry about that.

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