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Find out how race training and coaching can help your performance

Arranging organised race training and personalised coaching is no longer just something for youth squads.  Getting focused and tailored coaching or race training sessions is becoming increasingly popular.

Many sailors now recognise they are investing a lot of time and resource in their sport.  It’s easy to spend money of sails and hull finish, and then be disappointed because the results don’t ‘just happen’. Boat handling, starting, tactical situations, rules knowledge, sailing fast, changing gears, teamwork and communication play a significant part of the race too.

Why do I need race training?

If you are not enjoying your racing, or not getting the results you want on the race course, good race training may help. Whether you are stuck in the bottom third, or not quite breaking into the top 5 of the fleet, there is always something to learn and a way of approaching your racing differently.

What is the difference between coaching and race training?

Race training is usually more generic, subjects are generally chosen and led by the trainer, there are more boats, and therefore less opportunity to focus on the skills and subjects that will make the difference to your sailing.

When coaching I start by helping you to define your goals for the session or sessions, and, with your agreement, plan the on and off the water structure around these specific goals. We do need to allow some flexibility: the sailing conditions may not be appropriate for working on some specifics, or a better solution may become apparent during the session.

Whether race training or coaching, my preference is to facilitate your deep learning through planned experiences rather than overloading with verbal information.

How can I improve my sailboat racing?

I believe that simply doing more racing is an inefficient way to improve. At worst, bad habits become ingrained: you get better at sailing badly! We are naturally conservative creatures and are unlikely to experiment with new ideas or techniques when results are at stake. Better to identify some priorities, find a way to develop and practise outside the racing environment, then test them under stress once satisfied with the “blocked” performance. The process starts with some analysis of your own sailing strengths and weaknesses: here is a simple profiling tool .

How much time should I spend race training rather than racing?

That has to be a personal choice: it may be that the enjoyment of racing is more important to you than working towards a better result.

Pro sailors spend way more time training, both on and off the water, than competing.

I have keelboat clients who put aside one weekend at the start of the season for me to work with the crew to help them to get up to speed, and plan their championship campaign for the year.

When, as recreational sailors, Liz and I were trying to win Lark Nationals and Fireball Worlds in the same year (switching crew/helm roles between boats!) we agreed that for every day racing in either boat, we’d commit to another day of practice. The plan proved almost perfect though we did only a manage silver medal in the Fireball worlds!

What will I gain from sailing coaching with Rushall Sailing?

Hopefully some of the answers above, and some of the testimonials on the site, give you a feel for the answer to this one. My goal is that you improve your enjoyment of the sport, and your performance, by understanding a bit more about yourself, and the processes you use while racing. And that we all have fun while doing it!