row2k Features
Rowing 101
Coxswain Calls
October 1, 2008
Erik Dresser,

A commanding presence is essential for all coxswains.

A starting guide of basic calls for all the novice coxswain's out there. The key to making calls is to deliver them with confidence and to sound like you know what you are talking about. Rowers will do just about anything a coxswain tells them to do.

See anything we missed or have a better definition? Contact row2k!

"Back it down"With the shell sitting dead in the water, the rowers bury squared blades in the water and push the handles towards the stern. Result is that the shell moves backwards.
"Check it down"With the shell moving, the rowers partially bury squared blades at the finish to bring the shell to a stop as quickly as possible.
"Easy"Called to end a piece or race so that the rowers know when to they can ease up on the pressure.
"Easy on port/starboard"Called to assist in steering the shell when the rudder is not enough. The side called drops down to paddle pressure.
"Hand is up"The coxswain communicates with coaches and officials by raising their hand to acknowledge they heard the given instruction. Also, when aligning the shell prior to a race, the coxswain will raise their hand and ask the bow seat to raise their hand if their point is off. When all hands are down, the race will begin.
"Hands on"Called when the shell is on the water and the coxswain wants the rowers to move the shell. Let's the rowers know to get ready to pick up the shell.
"Hard on port/starboard"Called to assist in steering the shell when the rudder is not enough. The side called increases to max pressure.
"Heads up"Called when the crew is carrying the shell across land to alert nearby pedestrians to be aware.
"Hold water"Called when crews are attemption to align prior to a race or piece. Once the adjusting crew has nearly reached alignment, the rowers bury squared blades to stop the shell.
"In two"Used to call changes during rowing, it's most common for the coxswain to give the rowers two strokes notice before changing drills, stroke ratings, pairs, etc.
"Let it run"Called when the coxswain wants the rowers to stop rowing and let the shell's momentum continue to move the shell through the water.
"Oars across"Called once all the oars are secured in their oarlocks prior to launching. The rowers then push the oars out to the button.
"On the feather"Called to let the rower's know to feather their oars on the release of each stroke.
"On the square"Called to let the rower's know to maintain squared oars on the release of each stroke. A variation of the is the 'quarter feather' where the rowers slightly feather their oars on the release.
"On this one"Another way of calling shifts between pairs and drills.
"One foot up, and out"Called when the shell has pulled up to the dock to let the rowers know that they can get out.
"Over heads, ready, up"Used to alert then tell the rowers to lift the shell over heads.
"Paddle"Notifies the rowers to row at light pressure, usually prior to the start of a piece or immediately following.
"Power 10 or 20"A move or part of a race where the crew takes 10 or 20 strokes at maximum effort to increase hull speed.
"Ready all, row"Called to alert and tell rowers to begin rowing.
"Set it up"A technical call used when the shell is leaning to either port or starboard.
"Sit Ready"Used prior to a racing start to inform the rowers to move to the starting position, usually three-quarters slide.
"Settle"Called during the race following the start sequence to have the crew settle to their base cadence.
"Scull"Used when sitting in the starting dock to move the point of the shell to port or starboard. To move the point to starboard, the bow starboard will take the port oar behind them and take short strokes to move the point to starboard. The call is either, "3 scull 2" or "2 scull bow".
"To shoulders, ready, up"Used to alert then tell the rowers to lift the shell to their shoulders.
"To waist, ready, up"Used to alert then tell the rowers to lift the shell to their waists.
"Ship oars in/out"To slide the oars out to the oarlocks, or to pull them back across the shell; whether on the dock or to avoid clashing oars with another crew.
"Spin it"Called to turn the shell around. When the shell has been stopped, one side will back it, while the other side takes arms only strokes.
'Way Enough' or 'Weigh Enough'A very common call by a coxswain to tell the rowers to stop whatever they are doing.

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