In my last post I depressed everyone enough by listing Nick Craig's achievements. So I decided that I wouldn't mention the fact that Jon Emmett has coached a Laser Radial sailor to an Olympic Gold Medal as well as winning 3 World Championships, 3 European Championships, 6 National Championships and a bunch of other important events. It's best that you don't know about all that, or you'll just have to go through the whole depression cycle again.
There's a good chance that many who read this will already have one or both of Jon's previous books - Be Your Own Sailing Coach and Be Your Own Tactics Coach. If you've read the former (as I have) you'll already be familiar with many of the ideas in his new book, but this new publication has much to offer. If you haven't read Be Your Own Sailing Coach then Coach Yourself to Win will really help you develop your sailing and improve your results.
Unlike me, Jon is very methodical in his approach to sailing. This may be why I haven't won any World Championships and he has. What Coach Yourself to Win does is show how easy it can be to be a little more organised in what you do, and therefore greatly accelerate your learning curve. It is notable how many top sailors and coaches talk about the importance of analysis, of understanding and working on your weaknesses, and of keeping records of what you do for future reference - something almost all of us could do a little better.
Coach Yourself to Win is especially useful because he doesn't just emphasise how important these little changes in our habits can be, but he also shows exactly how to do it. This is incredibly helpful because it is one thing to know what you should be doing, it is quite another to know how to do those things effectively. This book provides that information, making it easy to get started and to keep at it.
Funnily enough, the book is also a step forward in terms of Jon's writing. I enjoyed Be Your Own Sailing Coach, so I didn't expect that there was a huge amount to be improved upon in terms of readability. But it is actually very noticeable how clearly he gets points across with real economy - a skill that allows him to pack an awful lot into the book.
Each chapter also has a postscript with advice from other top sailors. Paul Goodison, Lijia Xu, Joe Glanfield and Simon Hiscocks (all Olympic medallists) offer insights on the topic being discussed which add to the information Jon has given. They are all useful, but I particularly liked Lijia Xu's notes on "The Winning Mind" - I'm fascinated with how top performers develop their mental skills to help them perform, especially in high-pressure situations.
This really is a top book. I was a little surprised to be honest, because I didn't think a re-working of Be Your Own Sailing Coach would produce such a large improvement - it was, after all, a book I rated very highly already. But Coach Yourself to Win is an improvement on its predecessor, and it is very high on my list of favourite sailing books.