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20 Journal Prompts for Coxswains in Quarantine (or anytime!)


Most of the time when people tell coxswains to journal, they’re referring to writing down things like how that day’s practice went, and how you can prepare for the next day or for an upcoming race. Unfortunately that kind of reflection isn’t available to us right now, at a time when coxswain seats in shells around the world remain unoccupied during the coronavirus pandemic. We came up with some prompts that will encourage you to think deeply about yourself as a coxswain, without dwelling too much on the absence of regular practices and racing.


If writing about yourself isn’t your thing (we get it), why not type up a response to one of these and share it on our Slack channel to get a discussion going? Or, leave a comment on our social media. Our community would love to hear from you!


  1. Recall a time when you felt unprepared as a coxswain. What caused it, and what could you change in order to be more prepared next time?

  2. If you could do one thing differently when getting a fresh start on a new team where no one knows you yet, what would it be?

  3. Looking back from where you are now, what’s one thing you would tell your novice self?

  4. Recall an interaction with a rower that you don’t think you handled well. What information would have helped you handle it better? How can you respond to that situation if it happens again?

  5. What experiences have you had while racing that really threw you off your game? Think about how you would react if they happened again.

  6. What’s a drill that you struggle to call? Script out how you can do it clearly and succinctly for next time.

  7. Listen to one of your favorite race recordings from another coxswain. What do you love about it?

  8. If you had all the time in the world (newsflash: now you do!), what would you devote your time to learning about to improve your coxing? How would that knowledge help you?

  9. What aspects of your non-rowing life have helped your coxing?

  10. What transferable skills has coxing given you, and how do you apply them elsewhere in your life?

  11. Is there a time when you didn’t respect the fact that you were mic’d? What were the consequences, and what did you learn from that experience?

  12. If you’ve had the opportunity to row, how has that informed your coxing? Or, what’s something surprising that was only revealed to you by rowers having to explain it?

  13. What’s the most useful piece of information you’ve learned from talking with or observing another coxswain?

  14. Has there ever been a moment where you lost your crew’s respect? What happened, how can you learn from it, and how did you earn their trust back?

  15. What’s one thing that a rower, coach, or fellow coxswain has told you you’re really good at? How could you distill your knowledge into a concise tip for other coxswains?​

  16. What drew you to coxing? Is that still what you like about it, or has that evolved?

  17. What defines your coxing style, and how do you leverage that for success? How do you overcome any weaknesses it may bring compared to another style?

  18. When have you felt most undervalued as a coxswain? What are some things that only coxswains do or deal with that rowers and coaches may not even know about?

  19. What’s one of your biggest coxing pet peeves? Is there a way to mitigate it, or to succinctly explain to others how to act in a way that limits it?

  20. What’s the hardest piece of feedback about your coxing that you’ve ever had to receive?

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