Coxing

IMG_2974
Putney Town winners of the Greenwich Challenge Cup, WIM2 8+ at Poplar Regatta, May 2010. From left: Sofia Nilsson, Amelia Smith, Louise Bartlett, Tuyet Wu (cox), Hayley Cripps, Julie Lewis, Elizabeth McLoughlin, Kelly Thomas and Kate de Bruyn.
Henley Women's Regatta 2009

Putney Town recognises the vital role that coxes play in the sport of rowing. All of our squads depend on coxes for both training and racing, particularly during the winter season. As such, there is no charge for membership.

Experienced coxes

Our squad captains would love to hear from any coxes who would like to join Putney Town, whether you wish to occasionally join in or train full-time with our squads. Experience in London or on the Tideway is not necessary. Click here to email them!

Beginner coxes

Coxing is a vital part of rowing – every eight or coxed four requires a pair of eyes, ears and a voice of authority to make sure it is safe and working together to go as fast as possible! Like rowing, it takes skill and time to master. Just as the club has introduced many people to rowing, we have introduced many people to coxing too.

We have developed a framework to ensure that your development as a cox is structured and you continue to learn and improve. We have experienced coxes and coaches at the club, as well as experienced rowers who are always willing to help you get the most from your crews.

If you think you might like to give it a go, please email  one of the captains who will invite you to the club to meet one of our experienced coxes where you can ask questions and get ready to take the rudder!

Coxing: frequently asked questions

What does a cox do?

A cox doesn’t just sit there while the rowers work hard. The cox is responsible firstly for the safety of their boat and crew, and then for ensuring that the rowers work together to go as fast as possible. This starts with steering but extends to being the link between the coach and rowers during training and then to being the voice that keeps the rowers going through the toughest of races.

Are all coxes small?

Typically, coxes are small, but this is not always the case. There is in fact a minimum weight and coxes below this weight have to carry weights in races. A good cox who carries extra kilograms can easily make up for it in a race by out-thinking and out-manoeuvring their lighter opponent.

Do coxes have to starve themselves?

No, this just isn’t necessary! There is a minimum weight for coxes and so this would only get you so far anyway, but every crew needs a cox that is alert and thinking about the boat; not thinking about how hungry they are, or, if too hungry, not thinking at all! No cox is ever expected to eat less.

Can coxes row too?

Yes, it is not unusual for smaller rowers to become coxes, or for coxes to learn to row.

What does a cox get out of it?

Coxes experience winning just like rowers, and winning as a cox can be hugely satisfying. No one rower in a crew can win a race for their team-mates, but a cox most definitely can through understanding their own crew’s potential, working to achieve that potential and by out-witting their opponent.

How will I learn?

Usually a prospective cox will go out in a launch with a coach and watch an experienced cox and crew in action to get a flavour of what is happening. Then, typically, a complete beginner would cox an experienced crew with an experienced coach close at hand while you work out how to use the rudder and make some basic calls. Once you have mastered the basics, you would probably join one of our development squads and learn coxing as the rowers develop their rowing.

Putney Town has a coxing development framework and your coach and other experienced coxes would help you follow it to learn new skills to progress to coxing better and faster crews!