Coaching

SOME THOUGHTS ON COACHING SAILING GENERALLY AND TEAMS IN PARTICULAR.

Contributed by Derry Godbert.
1. COMMUNICATION. It is a verifiable FACT that a good coach giving excellent spoken advice for half an hour or so does their ego a lot of good unless they check to find out how much the sailors have actually picked up. Older sailors are sometimes more receptive.
If you are talking to sailors limit the amount of information at any one time and check that it has been absorbed. Ask them questions and get them to re explain in their own words.
Information is best passed by getting the sailors to SEE what is wanted then try and DO it themselves, in the boats.

2. COACHES, the best coaches are the sailors once you have got passed the total beginner stage. If the sailors are waiting for you to tell them what skills to practise they are not learning very effectively. They need to build beyond your ideas and think things through for themselves. 

3. BRAINS, The most important skill in coaching is to try and switch on the sailors brains. Not easy but can be done  Talking to them is the least effective method. Getting them to DO as much as possible themselves is better. For example rules and tactics, get them to learn up a small area of the rules themselves then teach the others what they have learned. Boat handling skills such as tacking, after suitable demonstration, get them to work in pairs one watching and commenting while the other is trying out the tacks. Then have tacking competitions, then go back to the drawing board and make improvements. If you can get your sailors to think for themselves you have made a major break through.

4. ATTITUDE, a co operative team attitude is not automatically present and even if it is can be lost if you do not keep working on it. The sailors may not all be friends, but while they  are dealing with the boats off or on the water individuals need to provide positive support for all members of the squad. This means reasonably careful control of the team humour by the coach, also physical and mental help from sailors for all members of the team.

5. LOVE YOUR BOATS, All team members have to be taught how to look after their boats but they also need to develop a positive attitude to whatever boat they are sailing. 

Loading and unloading, rigging and tuning boats is an essential part of the sport and needs TEAM WORK! 

6. TECHNIQUES, This section needs a complete book if you want detail. Luckily Steve Tylacote has written a whole book on the subject and most of the detail is there. Some of the areas to focus on are listed below.

7. STARTS, These are the moat important part of team racing and need a huge amount of practise. As a coach you must maintain a fun element but lots and lots of start practise is essential..

8. BOAT SPEED, is essential on all legs of the course except when doing a specific trapping manoeuvre. It is particularly vital on the first leg. Points 7, and 8, are 90 % of winning team racing.

9. MARK TRAPS, these are the fun part of teams racing and take up more training time than they should but it is fun. However knowledge of the rules is important and boat damage should be avoided at all costs. Crews and skippers need to keep their heads out of the boat at all times watching for other boats, as well as, of course, for wind, marks etc.

10. COMMUNICATION, again, this time within the team and within the boats. In this case spoken communication is essential to make sure all the team skippers and crews know as much as possible about what is going on. This needs working on as it is not as easy as it seems.

THE WINNING TEAM IS THE ONE THAT MAKES THE LEAST NUMBER OF MISTAKES

Team Sailing Training Exercises: http://www.rya.org.uk/sitecollectiondocuments/racing/Web%20Documents/Coach%20Development/Resources/TeamRaceTraining%20Exercise05s.pdf

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