About Mary Whipple

Photo of Mary Whipple


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!

Whip’s Tips

1.  Next time you feel the urge to call a Power 10 during a practice piece, make sure you give your rowers a reason.  The reason can be to increase acceleration, speed, to stabilize your competitor’s boat, to execute a part of your race plan…etc.

Ex:  “In two we’re taking a power-10 to move through the JV. One, two, on this one.

2. Know your audience.  Tailor your motivational phrases to what your rowers need to hear. Sometimes it not a motivational phrase but rather information of what it is going to take to win to make your rowers go harder then they think they can.  (Find more in depth explanation on my blog.)

3.  When locked in to the stake boat be proactive with your point and plan ahead by reviewing what rower will have to scull whose oar to move your bow to port or starboard.  By thinking about it on land it will make your decision come faster on the water.

4.  Docking: When approaching the dock, your starting position and angle will be the difference of a botched dock job or a successful dock job.  Choose wisely and approach safely.  There is no shame in backing down and trying again when dealing with a very expensive boat.

5.  When coxing side by side with another boat, communication with the other coxswain is very important to executing the workout.  Don’t be afraid to talk to each other while the boats are rowing along.

6.  To prevent yourself from oversteering, try to absorb check from the boat in your feet by pressing firm into the footboard.  Sudden jerks often make coxswains move the rudder without knowing it.

7. Lead your team by example, get your sweat on and workout with your team. The next time you ask them to work harder or push harder they’ll know that you really mean it and know how it feels.

8.  Steering in current: Know where you are spatially in the body of water BUT where you want to END up is how you are going to adjust and pick your steering points to get you there.

9. When the boat is feeling really good during a race piece…Tell your rowers or rather ask your rowers..”You feeling this?”  “Let’s GO.”

10. Docking: Think of it in a different way.  Instead of thinking about rowing right to the dock, try thinking about how you would use momentum to float into the dock..

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