Coxswain Clinic With Kayleigh Durm

The 9th seat is one of the hardest seat to fill. Our women’s competitive team’s coxswain, Abby Rezneck, shares her notes from the coxwain clinic with Kayleigh Durm.

Kayleigh DurmOn Wednesday, January 10, 2018, EBRC held a Coxswain’s Clinic with Kayleigh Durm: coxswain, former volunteer assistant and coxswain coach with the MIT heavyweight men, and currently the Director of Rowing Operations for Columbia University.

Kayleigh writes the blog Ready All, Row, “an aggregate resource for all those riding in the 9th seat,” and she generously shared her time and coxing expertise with our team. Over the course of the evening, Kayleigh answered all manner of coxing and rowing questions from Novice, Club, and Competitive Women’s Team members.

On Steering

She instructed us on proper steering technique in an eight and cautioned that many coxswains incorrectly use a “ski hold” on the strings, gripping them in their fists and moving their arms forwards and backwards with big motions. One of the most helpful tips was to steer straight by picking three points instead of one: one point ahead of you and two lateral points, one on either side; maintaining your distance from the lateral points will keep the boat heading toward the longitudinal point without drifting sideways.

On Tone of Voice

She also advised that all coxswains, including novices and those only occasionally in the coxswain’s seat, should aim for a commanding tone of voice:

“the same tone you would use when telling your dog not to do something!

  • Need more on tone and what to say? Check out Kayleigh’s Coxswain recordings to hear what good coxswains call for. 

And she even took a look at the Head of the Lagoon course map and gave us an on-the-fly assessment of how best to handle the very sharp turn in the first half of the race.

It was an honor to have Kayleigh with us, and we look forward to putting her great advice to good use on the water!


Head over to Ready All Row for coxing recording, tips on how to get recruited (for college, that is!), and more!

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