go pro 2
On Racing days
1. Morning briefing
After checking the notice board have the tactician, strategist and the coach meet and go over the days weather forecast, current and strategy.
2. Get to the race course early
This goes for both the coach and the sailors. Getting to the race course early allows you to get a grip on what kind of day its going to be. Take a wind and current reading and get everyone on the same page. If you’re allowed to have on-the-water coaching get feedback from your coach on how your setup looks and how it compares to the others. As a coach put yourself in the position of the sailors and ask yourself: What information would be most important to me right now in order to win that next race?
3. Focus on the next race
In between races focus on what will actually make a difference in the next race. There is plenty of time to talk about details once you get to shore.
4. Be the rock in the storm
Sometimes after a really good or bad race emotions can run pretty high on a boat. As a coach its your duty to level things out and get everyone sorted for the next race. Its not exactly helpful having the coach scream at you for messing up.
5. Find what is working and what is not
As a coach you have the luxury of seeing how the races unfold and observe the patterns that are working (and aren’t working). Often the view from on the boat looks different and the coach’s perspective can provide a good un-biased opinion.
6. Debrief quickly
Once back at the dock set a time for the debrief and keep it nice and sweet. As a coach you need to work through all the noise of the day and give a concise summary of what was working. End the de-briefing on a good note.
Here are some more tips for coaches:
- Know at all times where your team is on the race course
- aGet good at taking video and commenting at the same time.
- The better your sailors are, the less you need to tell them what to do. Instead you must figure out the important questions that will spur the right discussion. Remember, its difficult to teach old dogs new tricks
- Have your shit together. Low batteries in your electronics or VHF, low on gas etc. is just plain unprofessional
- Meet the sailors with beers at the dock after a tough day of racing, or maybe just always meet them with beers…
- At the end of a regatta or a practice session provide a write-up with the most important conclusions and a work list.
So the next time you’re looking for a coach for some practice or a regatta, maybe just send him a link to this article. If you do your homework you might actually get your money’s worth.