Don't you just love it when you get the opportunity to try something new? Well back in September I was approached by St Mawes Sailing Club about coaching their 'Team Feva'. Team Feva is an RS Feva squad with 10 kids aged between 11 and 14. I had very little coaching experience apart from the odd boat on boat stuff I had done with other Topper & Laser sailors at Porthpean. Despite this they were still very interested in signing me up. Maybe the fact that I had sailed Feva's from 2004 to 2013 was a big advantage.
I was very unsure about what to expect, the first week I was shadowing a top coach, Ian Mills from Torbay, then for the next 7 weeks I would be on my own. I took pointers from Ian and set about planning sessions for the remainder. This was fairly easy, using the RYA Coaching Handbook I rustled up 7 sessions ranging from Starting to Team Racing and Tactics to Rig Set Up. The hard bit was when it came to delivering the sessions. Nothing ever goes to plan. Incorrectly rigged boats, sailors not understanding the brief properly (thats down to me) and also time, you never seem to have enough time.
We are now on week 7, one to go. I have learnt so much about coaching, my own sailing and also myself. St Mawes SC have been very impressed and would like me to come back next year during their Spring training. With this in mind I am going to be working towards the RYA National Race Coach qualification during the Winter. The Laser squad coach at St Mawes, who is a national coach, has invited me to come and shadow him at the Oppi & Cadet SW coaching weekends to enhance coaching techniques. I feel I'm starting to develop my own coaching style/techniques and I love to get in the boat demonstrating key boat handling skills. So would consider myself a hands on coach.
Clothing for coaches is fairly basic although the Pro Aquafleece Beanies
are an absolute god send sitting in a rib all day. A drysuit is really uncomfortable all day so I will definitely be getting the Rooster Pro Jacket and Trousers
combination for the winter. Pairing these with PolyPro's
should keep me warm all winter. Not forgetting the Pro Aquafleece Beanie & Aquafleece Multifunction Neck Gaiter.
I would just like to thank St Mawes SC and their young Feva sailors for giving me the opportunity and having the patience whilst I adapt. The bottom line is I've absolutely loved it and cannot wait to do more coaching during 2016. If you get the chance to do some coaching please take it, its amazing what opportunities can arise.
A few things that are worth remembering are... "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work" and 'self coaching' is the best tool for personal improvements.