bg-3 Progress


By Chelsea Dommert · June, 2013

We made it through day three, the most coxing-intensive day so far of our coxswains-only camp.

We got on the water not once, but twice today – and that was just the morning! The coxswains practiced their steering exercises in two groups from early morning to mid-morning, then came inside for a talk from Marcus about specific head race courses, different venues, and the best way to acquaint oneself with a new venue before race day. So far we have taught the coxswains how to prepare themselves to practice or race, and we have also prompted them for their own ideas about how to prepare. As their confidence grows, the coxswains are more readily offering answers to their coaches’ questions and mock scenarios. Progress!

With that done, the coxswains hopped on the water once again to practice their docking skills. While some of the coxswains docked, other coxswains got to sit inside the boat and listen to how their peers made calls. And then something amazing happened; a few of the coxswains started helping each other before any coaches prompted them to do so. Over practice, several individual coxswains improved dramatically at docking. Conversely, almost all of them now have a recent memory from this practice of something that happened because they did not pay attention to all their surroundings. That recent memory will motivate them to keep working on this.

Off the water, after a quick lunch and reflection period, Laura and Marcus reviewed practice with the coxswains, impressing the importance of using the surrounding conditions and communicating clearly with their rowers.

Later in the afternoon, Ryan Sparks explained the college recruiting process and delineated the steps that coxswains can take to get the most out of college recruiting. Outside the floor-to-ceiling windows of the fourth floor meeting room, the coxswains could watch the national team practicing on the river below.

Finally, back at the hotel, Chelsea led a mid-week review session where coxswains took stock of what they have learned so far. Since we’ve done lots of individual exercises and partner exercises, this time we tried some whole-group exercises; coxswains in the group presented challenges that they foresaw in trying their new skills back home, and other coxswains suggested what they might do to introduce the changes to their rowers and fellow coxswains.

Now we’re all off to bed; tomorrow will be just as intense as today, and the coxswains need their rest to prepare!

Below you can find links to learn more about Sparks Rowing camps.

Learn more about our coxswain’s only rowing camp by following the link.  Or, read some excerpts from the the coxswain only rowing camp blog.  Our next round of summer rowing camp information can be found here.  Follow this link for information on our New Zealand rowing camp and here for their NZ camp blog (with some great videos).  We also have some great information on our winter rowing camps  and you can get another perspective through our blog on the advanced winter rowing camp here.

Lastly, if you’re interested in our consulting services, we help guide college bound high school athletes through the college recruiting process for rowing colleges and universities.  Learn more at or about the phenomenal staff at Sparks.

Thanks for sharing!