In the last article, we talked about the qualities that separate top coxswains form the rest of the pack.
We learned what top coxswains say when asked about their success. However, the things that they say represent only half of the story. By watching what those coxswains actually do on and off the water, we dig out the real underlying skills that separate them from 99% of fair-to-middling coxswains.
There on the right, we have the list of skills that most top coxswains mention when we ask them why they became so successful. Then on the left, we have a different list – a list of things that few coxswain mention.
Top coxswains are, invariably, autodidacts – they teach things to themselves. They have a skill (or, really, a set of skills) that allows them to develop still other skills without explicit direction. We call those skills core skills, and they lead directly (see the green arrows) to the development of the very coxswain skills that so many coxswains wish they had.
This stuff is central to the behavior of the top coxswains.
There’s something else cool about the core skills: they are not independent of one another. Rather, a coxswain (or anyone, really) can use the first one to develop the second one, and the second one to develop the third one, and so on. Then a coxswain can use the full suite to develop insights that render their competitor’s platitudinous coxing knowledge completely obsolete.
The pink arrows indicate how, in most cases, coxswains seem to progress from one core skill to the next.
Ponder this picture for now, but throughout the rest of the year we’ll follow the green arrows to find out how the core skills translate into coxswain-specific surface abilities. After that, we’ll rewind to the beginning of the core skills and talk about how one leads to the next.