Thursday, June 18, 2009

Invasive Coaching

My post calling to Ban Mommy Boats NOW seems to have generated a lot of interest. Thanks to the various sites that linked to the post... and especially to Peter Huston who gave me a shout-out on the front page of Sailing Anarchy today in an excellent article Social Distortion, all about what's wrong with our sport today.

There has been a lively discussion in the comments to the original post. So far I have been called a "bad loser", a "coach hater" and admonished that it's about time I "learned to sail"! Oh well. Par for the course I suppose.

But here is one comment in full (from the ubiquitous Anonymous) which does I think have some excellent observations on coaching...

Coaching is an important part of growing as a competitive sailor. The real issue here is when and how kids are being coached.

A great coach can give a racer the skillset to make the smart choices on the water themselves. A great coach can also give a racer an understanding of why things - good and bad - went the way they did.

Invasive coaching is the real problem here. It's less teaching and more instruction following

If a kid is told to "stay left" without knowing why, then how is that going to help him/her down the road.

Additionally, we need to keep in mind these are young kids and we want to keep them in the sport of sailing as life long sailors - something that isn't happening as much today.

It also needs to be fun and that means all the kids interacting together - sailing out to the course together, rafted up at lunchtime, occasional bailer fights.

Jr. Sailors are the building blocks of future, and hopefully, lifelong sailors. If we teach them that to be successful you need money or unfair advantage then that's what we'll be seeing 10 years from now when they start showing up on Wednesday nights protesting you for not having your MOB Pole properly stowed.

Couldn't have said it better myself.


yarg said...

The wisest Sage teaches without drawing attention to himself. Thank you anonymous.

People for a World Without Huston said...

Ugh, the only credit Peter Huston deserves is in the damage he has done to the institutions that support the sport. That guy has been kicked to the curb by any group he has been part of. Move on.

Tillerman said...

Good for him. Quite appropriate for someone writing on Sailing Anarchy. Isn't that what anarchy is all about, destroying the institutions?

Only dead fish swim with the stream.

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