Saturday, 31 July 2021

The cox: A perfect puppet master

THE perfect cox is the “puppet master” of the boat.

THE perfect cox is the “puppet master” of the boat.

That’s according to the Leander Club crew which is competing in the Ladies’ Plate at this year’s Henley Royal Regatta.

Morgan Baynham- Williams, who is coxing the eight, says: “To be a good cox you have to be confident but have a really good relationship with the crew and the coach.

“When we race, the coaches aren’t around so they can’t affect what’s going on and I have to initiate the race plan, help motivate the guys and keep all the technical points and coaching points rolling out.

“From inside the boat you can see if the timing goes off, if the crew are having a little trouble or other little technical points. You can call them up on it and help them make a change. Let them know how they do — if it’s better or not.

“What you try to do is keep the guys relaxed and calm so that when the going gets tough and you really need to go somewhere you have got somewhere to go with your vocals and the guys have got somewhere to go.

“At the end of the day you cannot physically start pushing hard, you cannot make a difference that way. All you can do is trick the guys into pushing harder when they really don’t want to.

“When they are in that pit of darkness and you have watched the whites drain from the stroke’s eyes you know you have got to pull him back. Having good relationship with them and mutual respect makes a big difference.”

Francis Highton, who is the bow, says Morgan is “crucial” to how the boat performs.

He says: “She has to make sure that we are within ourselves, in control, and that she is getting the most out of us.

“We have to make it as far we can. The idea is not to blow before the end — we have to have a little bit left to just push us further and  further.

“Some of the races at Henley regatta are lost by one or two feet so she has to ensure that we are on the right side of that one foot win.”

Matt Rossiter, steersman, says the crew have to keep their emotions and thoughts on the race in check.

He says: “If all eight guys are listening to what she’s saying it will make the boat go faster. The key is to listen to her and not let your personal emotions get in the way.

“There’s eight guys who all think very differently and could row very differently so it’s important we’re her  puppet.

“She’s pulling the strings, she’s the tactician. She’s almost our brain so we just do what she says and when she calls for more we give her more.”

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