Confessions of a Novice Cox

I started rowing as a novice in Michaelmas 2008 and quickly developed a passion for all things rowing related. Inspired by Christ Church Regatta success I moved up the ranks to rowing in the mens first eight in Trinity term. This term I decided to have a go at coxing. I assumed that coxing would come easily having seen and listened to them for 3 terms, however this was far from the truth…
I survive the long novice coxing lecture and my first challenge at the river became apparent.  At 6 foot 3 fitting into the tiny cox seat is not easy and certainly not comfortable. But no pain no gain right? My first outing passed without incident and I really enjoyed piloting. It made me appreciated how differently coxes have to think, rowers have to have focus on narrow range of thoughts, making sure they are taking the stroke correctly, in time, the same every stroke. Time not spent thinking about stroke is spent focusing on the goal and pushing hard. Coxes, however, have to think about many things at a time and multi task massively. Steering the boat becomes natural after a while, but then you have to think ahead to what other crews are doing, giving encouragement to your crew, getting your crew in time, making them square up early etc. When you are coxing you can’t afford to miss a second not thinking about the task in hand, if you do you may end up in the bank!
Having only had about 5 outings I was thrown in to the deep end with Isis Winter League. I won’t hide the fact that I was a little terrified at the thought of coxing a race, even if it was just a head race. I had my plan in my head and my calls all practised and the race went really well. I have to thank my crew for being so alert and racing so well. I have a good feeling about Christ Church regatta next week, let’s take the competition inch by inch. No surrender!
Alex Yudin
Cox

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