RowingChat: Adrian Ellison Olympic Coxswain


Adrian Ellison won Olympic Gold in 1984 at Los Angeles with the British Mens coxed four crew including Sir Steve Redgrave, Martin Cross, Richard Budgett and Andy Holmes.  He continues to cox and coach and gives us his insights into how to up-skill yourself as a coxswain and how to coach coxes.

Listen to RowingChat with Adrian Ellison on SoundCloud

Timestamps to the interview

01:00 Introduction and background in rowing

02:00 My first coaches – Tony Martin and Tony Tinckle at Reading University Rowing Club

03:00 What was international selection like in 1981? How I got selected for 2+ at World Championships and I won my first international medal.

08:00 working and training through the year in 80s?

10:00 the lead up to 1984 Olympics and selections.  Initial crew was coached by Mike Spracklen.  Initial crew was Richard Budgett, Martin Cross, Andy Holmes and John Beattie and Steve Redgrave pushed Beattie out.

15:00 The Olympic final 1984 narrated by Adrian.

17:00 USA jets squeal overhead and Adrian’s push isn’t heard leading to switching Martin Cross as race tactician

21.00 The calls in the race including the “desperation in his voice” The feeling of relief at the end of the race

23:00 The skilful execution of Plan A, Plan B or Plan C is the definition of a skilful rowing crew and coping with unexpected circumstances.

26:00 How to spot significant moments in a race when win or lose can be decided.

28:00 The mark of a really good cox / crew is sometimes taking the rate down not up

30:00 How to improve your coxing skills.  Get into a crew with someone more experienced

34:00 Listen to what top coxswains say – get audio recordings and videos as training

35:00 Cox as the technical coach in the boat – what you look out for

40:00 Understanding the calls and what they mean and how to do the same thing in the same way

42:00 First outing with a new crew and what I feel when in the boat

46:00 What numbers do your follow on the Coxmate SX?

48:00 What do you do to prepare to race with a crew – what do they want me to do?  The best coxswain for a crew is one who gives them what they want.

51:00 The coxswain in the gym – how do you work with a coach as an effective coxswain?

54:00 How can coxswains be effective working with a coach?

60:00 Comparison between New Zealand and Great Britain rowing

64:00 Reflections on coxing for 40 years – I’m a better coxswain now than when I was on the GB national team

Watch RowingChat with Adrian Ellison on YouTube


Subscribe to our Newsletter for more information:

Our Rowing Network

Did you like this post? Support this blog and our network by donating

Feel like Rowing again? Visit the Shop at!

Accessories, equipment, boats, clothing

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Stephen Walker

    Excellent interview Rebecca. Fascinating and insightful too. Being a super-lightweight, I started rowing and coxing at the same time and that’s how I learned to coach. The comments about understanding exactly what each call really meant and how and when to execute it really rang true. An essay becomes a paragraph which becomes a sentence and then a phrase or even just a word. But using that turn of phrase in a new crew doesn’t have the same effect until you have gone through the same process of explanation. All good stuff. Well done, both of you.

  2. Rebecca Caroe

    Thanks very much for your appreciation. Nice summary of the effectiveness of cox to crew communications!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Posts

Oliver Zeidler on RowingChat

Oliver Zeidler is the sculling phenomenon racing for Germany as their single sculler, in his second year after learning to row! Oliver Zeidler Germany 1x.Photo

Read More »

Whether it’s sports, nutrition or equipment, you’ll find what you’re looking for in one of these categories


Everything about rowing – browse through our large archive or search for articles of your choice


Search Blog


Rowing Network

Do you like our posts? Support this blog and our network by donating


Get all latest content and news!