Coxing Experience Advisory Standards

By Sparks Editorial Staff | November 19, 2017


Coxing advisory standards are meant to support coxswains and their parents in managing their expectations as they pursue the recruiting process. 

Coxswains are recruited on a number of factors. It is possible for a coxswain of lesser experience but higher ability via their recordings or collegiate coaches’ faith to be a serious prospect in the recruiting process. Regardless, network or skill without experience are not enough in and of themselves; a combination is required.

Experience may be utilized as a leading indicator - by which coaches can judge skill, commitment, and achievement. Some programs will not recruit a coxswain every year, instead using the space for an extra rower and seeking a walk-on coxswain. Regardless, the level expectation on the coxswain remains the same after an initial ramp given programs' competitiveness. 

These levels should be achieved by summer before senior year. 

We score coxing experience as number of ten, with ten representing the highest level of coxing experience - multiple world championship regattas or Olympic experience. 

9 of 10 

  • Competitive Experience: Top boat junior national team experience or a number of significant results at the amateur international championship level (Henley Royal, etc.)
  • Amount of Experience: Average of three years prior to college application
  • Preparation: Continued access to resources that steered talent insofar as development and strategy beyond camps.
  • College Expectations: Desire and expect extremely intense competition everyday in collegiate practice; are willing to give the time to live for the sport.
  • Ideal Skill Sets: Excellent ability to reflect and correct on their own, Near Perfect Steering, Near Perfect Command Structure, Near Perfect Organizational Skills 

8 of 10 

  • Competitive Experience: Top boat quality coxing at the amateur national championship (USRowing Juniors, Club Nationals) level. First boat coxswains from well-branded programs with a large number of lower boats may fall into this category. 
  • Amount of Experience: A minimum of two to three years prior to college application
  • Preparation: Most have attended coxswain specific camps and/or USRowing ID and/or pursued extracurricular (summer) coxing outside of their school team.
  • College Expectations: Desire and expect intense competition for their seat everyday in collegiate practice and be willing to give more to the team than the rowing athletes in some cases. 
  • Ideal Skill Sets: Above Average ability to reflect and correct on their own, Excellent Steering, Excellent Command Structure, Above Average Organizational Skills

7 of 10 

  • Competitive Experience: First or second boat quality coxing at the high school championship (NEIRA, Dad Vail, etc.) level. 
  • Amount of Experience: Average experience is around 2 years, though there are some late bloomers who show promise. This category may include older coxswains who started late from well-branded junior programs.
  • Preparation: Many (but not all) will have attended coxswain specific camps and/or USRowing ID camps. 
  • College Expectations: Desire and expect to have to earn their seats multiple times a year over their college career and be willing to put in the work themselves to continue to succeed.
  • Ideal Skill Sets: Basic ability to reflect and correct on their own, Above Average steering, Above Average Command Structure, Basic Organizational Skills 

6 of 10 

  • Competitive Experience: First or second boat quality coxing at the high school level. 
  • Amount of Experience: Coxswains generally in their second year of coxing or later prior to college applications.
  • Preparation: High school racing experience that includes both head and sprint racing outside of the novice category. Many will have attended rowing camps.
  • College Expectations: Desire and expect to grow an extreme amount as a coxswain in college and recognize recruiting is a gift.
  • Ideal Skill Sets: Understanding of what reflect and correcting on their own means, Understanding of the fundamentals of excellent steering, Understanding of the fundamentals of excellent Command Structure

These levels should be achieved by summer before senior year. As such, levels 1-5 are reserved for younger coxswains making their way through the sport.