row2k Features
row2k Coxswains Corner
In the Driver's Seat, with Lauren Peters
March 28, 2022
John FX Flynn

Next up In The Driver's Seat—where we hear from the folks who keep the shells straight—is coxswain Lauren Peters.

Lauren coxed her boatmates in the US Junior Women's eight to a gold medal in Plovdiv last summer, capping off the historic 3-win day for the US as the Junior Team swept the eights races and won the JW4+.

Stateside, she coxes for Atomic Rowing in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Let's take a ride with Lauren, In The Driver's Seat:

row2k - What are your Top 3 essentials for being ready on Race Day?
Lauren Peters -
1) I always make sure that I know the time, wind, lane, and crews racing in the lanes next to my boat. I think knowing all these small logistical details is so essential to ensuring that racing runs smoothly. A coxswain should always know these things so that they can be quick to respond to whatever is happening on the course. This builds trust with the athletes.

2) My next essential is to be ultra-calm and positive no matter what boat I am racing in. This seems simple, but the rowers are trusting the coxswain to guide them down the course. If a coxswain has fear in their voice, this can stir up even more nerves. Even when I have raced in boats I am not as excited about, a lack of enthusiasm can make everyone feel disconnected. I try to make every practice and every race count no matter the lineup!

3) My final tip is to be confident. Once race day hits, you have to be ready. You may not always feel ready, but coxswains should be confident in their calls. They have to decide when the best time to make a move is. Coxswains are leading the boat, and once something is called, they must stick with it! If a coxswain second guesses themselves, this can cause rowers to tune them out. So, be confident and assertive.

row2k - What is your favorite drill to run with your crews? Any tips on how to do the drill well, for maximum effectiveness?
Lauren Peters - This is a difficult question. If 8x250m were a drill, then it would be my favorite! Since I really like to go fast, I would choose the windup drill. This is good for practicing jacking up the rate and matching lengths from the catch. In this drill, you start with only going top quarter. You gradually take the rate up going only the top quarter of the slide. It can be fun to get the rate up in the high 40s-50s. Then you can lengthen out to half slide, and then full. You usually do 10-20 strokes at each length. To run this drill well, the boat will start at the catch from a complete stop. You then call the lengths and the rates. It moves fast, but I think it can be especially helpful in the spring season to practice the lengths you will be doing in your start sequence. If everyone goes the same length in the start, it can make a big difference. It can also just help to see what different rates feel like. Sometimes when I have a boat struggling to hit rates, this can be a fun way to really get up the rate.

row2k - What's some of the best coaching advice you've received about your coxing?  
Lauren Peters - Some of the best advice I have received is from my coach at Atomic Rowing, John Davis. One time I recorded a piece and he told me he did not like it. He said it didn't sound like me. He said I needed to be more demanding and try to make things happen. Of course, this stung a bit, but he said that it was not my usual style and I needed to change it. I was trying too hard and not being natural. I went back out that same afternoon in a different race and I was more myself. I was more aggressive and demanding than I had been that morning. Over the five years I have been coxing, I’ve realized that having my own style is important. Coach Davis helped remind me of this. While criticism felt bad at the moment, his advice pushed me to just be myself and not change my style. 

row2k - What is a mid-race call or move that you've made that you'll remember for the rest of your life? What did it involve and how did you call it?
Lauren Peters - A mid-race call I will remember for the rest of my life was in the JW8+ Final at the Junior World Championships in Plovdiv. My coach, Mike Wallin, had talked to me beforehand about when to make the big move during the race. He told me that I would just know when it was the right time. He said that I would feel it and that he trusted me to make the right call. He was definitely right. I just knew the exact moment when we needed to make the move. We were leading, but I could see Germany coming up a little bit out of the corner of my eye. Right then, I knew in my gut it was time to make the call. I will never forget the assurance I felt. 

I am a big fan of tonal change in my voice, so I brought my voice up and I let my boat know it was time to make the move and push off of Germany again. All nine of us really wanted to win and each person gave everything at that moment. 

row2k - Can you tell us a bit about how you learned how to make motivating calls?
Lauren Peters - I would say I am a pretty aggressive coxswain which is where my motivating calls come from. I have played sports all my life and am a very competitive person. When I get into a racing setting, I will do everything in my power to win. I think this is reflected in the calls I make. To make a motivating call, you have to know the boat and read what they need at the moment. Using tonal changes can be very motivating and grasp a rower's attention. Having a relationship with the rowers and getting to know your crew is so important because then you share an unbreakable bond that helps them believe in what you’re saying.

I also think there needs to be a balance between motivation and statistics. I always make sure that my rowers know where they are and what is happening. Then, the motivation can intertwine with this to make some really great calls.

row2k - Best race/practice you've ever had?
Lauren Peters - My best race was the JW8+ at World's. I was so honored to be able to race for the United States as well as with all eight of the women in my boat. We had all worked so hard and gotten close. The race was thrilling. I loved to be at the start with different countries; the experience was unforgettable. The race itself was exciting and intense. It had been 12 years since the USA had won this event so it was surreal to be able to be a part of it. I am forever thankful for this race and the opportunity to get to go down the course with my team and bring home a gold medal.

You can check out Lauren's "debut" at stroke seat afterwards in the row2k Gallery from Plovdiv, starting here.

If you enjoy and rely on row2k, we need your help to be able to keep doing all this. Though row2k sometimes looks like a big, outside-funded operation, it mainly runs on enthusiasm and grit. Help us keep it coming, thank you! Learn more.


Log in to comment
There are no Comments yet

Get our Newsletter!

Support row2k!

Tremendous thanks to our
row2k supporters!

Get Social with row2k!
Like row2k on Facebook Follow row2k on Twitter Follow row2k on Instagram Follow row2k on Youtube Connect with row2k on LinkedIn

Get the row2k app!

row2k rowing store!

Get our Newsletter!
Enter your email address to receive our weekly newsletter.

Support row2k!

Advertiser Index
Advertise on row2k