An important step towards improving your sailing is actively coaching yourself. This may seem obvious, but very few sailors actually manage to do this at all, and only a small minority do it effectively.
- What the Experts Say
- Videos for Becoming Your Own Sailing Coach
- Books for Becoming Your Own Sailing Coach
- Links for Becoming Your Own Sailing Coach
- What We Learned
What the Experts Say
Jon Emmett - Be Your Own Sailing Coach
You need to assess yourself and then spend your time training in the most efficient way. You can, after all, improve your sailing by going to the gym or reading from the comfort of your armchair.
Eric Twiname - Sail, Race and Win
If you are to do a good job of teaching yourself you should begin by understanding the role you must play in this game of self-teaching, since the job of coach is different from that of the sailor.
Videos for Becoming Your Own Sailing Coach
Jon Emmett literally wrote the book on becoming your own sailing coach, and all his videos are here. For example:
Books with information on Becoming Your Own Sailing Coach
Coach Yourself to Win - Jon Emmett
Sail, Race and Win - Eric Twiname (particularly the first chapter, but the whole book is superb on this area)
Be Your Own Sailing Coach – Jon Emmett
Helming to Win - Nick Craig
Start to Win - Eric Twiname
Websites and online articles for Becoming Your Own Sailing Coach
Ben Tan gives some useful tips on how to organise your training
This article covers self-coaching well
This article touches on self-coaching towards the end
What We Learned...
Most of the material around this area suggests that you need to find a way to become your own coach if you want to improve significantly and quickly. The racer in you is both hyper-critical and hyper-conservative. He doesn't want to make any mistakes, and he gets annoyed when they happen.
But a coach needs mistakes in order to improve performance (no mistakes = nothing to improve). Not such bad news for most of us - all those mistakes you make are brilliant for the coach side of you. An important step towards improving your sailing is actively coaching yourself. This may seem obvious, but very few sailors actually manage to do this at all, and only a small minority do it effectively.
How many of the following things do you currently do?:
- Set long-, medium- and short-term goals for yourself
- Analyse races after the event
- Keep a track of measurable things (like fitness) to check progress
- Sail regularly outside of racing specifically to practice and improve weak areas
- Practise skills that you are weak at
- Read books to help you understand the skills needed to sail and to race better
If you do all of these then you are already a pretty good self-coach. If not, then you need to start doing at least some of these to help your results improve.
A coach and a sailor have two different mindsets, and developing a coach's mindset towards your sailing will help you to improve. A coach sees mistakes as opportunities to get better, a sailor sees them as infuriating blunders that cost places. A coach looks at a sailor objectively, a racer tends to be far more subjective, either looking at his or her skills through rose-tinted spectacles or being excessively hard on themselves, even in areas where they are actually performing well.
To be a good self-coach you need:
- To be a little bit organised with regards to your sailing
- To be more analytical of your sailing than most people are used to
- To be willing to practise things that you aren't good at
- To sail outside of a racing environment (even for 15 minutes a week) in order to get good quality practice in
- To be able to prioritise
This website can help with all these things, and you'll find it easier and more enjoyable to improve your results than you thought.