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About Mary Whipple

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9th Seat is the brainchild of Mary Whipple, Olympic gold medalist coxswain of the US women’s eight. Here you’ll find informative blog posts, tips and tricks, and opportunities to learn from the best!

4 Tips for Winter Training Camps

Q:  Being a recruited freshman coxswain to my university I got there and was ready to start. And found out I had a medical issue. I went the entire fall season not practicing with my team because I was not allowed to. I am allowed to practice starting with our winter training trip. I am nervous and I want to prove to the coaches that I am the coxswain they recruited. Whats your advice for a coxswain that has been on a team for an entire fall season and is just allowed to start up!? Thank you!!!


A:   It is perfectly normal to be nervous for your first couple of practice on the water.  Just remember why you love coxing and make sure that comes out in the first couple of practices.  You will make mistakes and when you do shrug it off and quickly move on to the right decision or direction.  Your goal for the first couple of practice on winter training camps should be about executing efficient boat maneuverability and executing your coaches directions as efficiently as possible.


For the first two water sessions I would:

  • Focus on steering straight
  • Notice technical focuses and changes
  • Get your boat spun and headed where it needs to be first
  • Then think about motivation

**Accuracy on execution of the workout should get you more coxswain street cred than cheerleading!


By the time your winter training camp is in full swing and short race pieces are being worked into practice you’ll be ready to handle all of the above bulleted items in addition to adding your personality and the vibe of your team’s goals into your motivations.  Never sacrifice accuracy and steering for motivating.  Use winter training trips to help you prepare for when you return to campus and start training for spring races.  That way the first day of practice back at home to start where you left off at winter training camp.


Steer Straight!





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Posted at Friday, January 11th, 2013 in: Advanced Coxswain, Coxswain Q & A

9 Responses to “4 Tips for Winter Training Camps”

  1. [...] new post by Mary Whipple….. http://www.9thseat.com/advanced-coxswain/4-tips-for-winter-training-camps/ Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like [...]

  2. Toony says:

    Good call MWhip,
    Remember, your coach will seldom (maybe never) hear what you say in practice and won’t really care either at the start of the season.
    They can very clearly see where you steer though and will want the drills and changes they request acted on promptly and accurately… So just make sure to do these things to make a good impression!
    The start of a season is a great time to shut-up, practice steering, and LISTEN.
    Try to get a feel for how the coach talks, what they focus on and some of the language and phrases they use. If you can pick up on these things to reiterate to the crew, and work on the same things later, you will make a good impression on them too.

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