Throughout the season, there are a lot of opportunities to get on the water with coaches, but it's important to incorporate each opportunity into your overall plan in the right way. Here is a comparison of Training Camps, Clinics, and Regatta Coaching to help you plan the right combination for your goals this year.
Training camps generally have more boats, broader goals, and higher sailor-to-coach ratios than other categories of training events, which makes them super productive tools for improving boat-on-boat skills, but it is important to incorporate them into your training plan in the right way. With many boats on the water, there is a premium on self reliance and goal setting: you need to be able to get yourself on the water on time, and know what your goals for the weekend are. At our 29er HP training camps, we place a major emphasis on sharing information, and the list of drills is set accordingly: round robin racing (every crew sails with every skipper), short course boat handling drills, starting line execution drills, and generally a list of weird skill drills to force everyone to experience the boat in a new way.
Best ways to take advantage of training camps: Learn new skills and get fresh ideas for what you should be pursuing in your training at home. Hone racing skills in a non-regatta environment.
Note for parents: Training camps are generally cheaper because we have more teams to cover costs!
In contrast to training camps, clinics are all about the coach-sailor interactions. For newer teams, clinics are an opportunity to get immediate feedback on skills such as boat handling mechanics and sail setup. For experienced teams, clinics are the perfect environment for speed testing and advanced skill work. At our 29er HP clinics, we try to break up straight line tuning with personalized skill drills and course work to send everyone home with a whole new list of things to work on.
Best ways to take advantage of clinics: Know what you want to improve before the clinic starts so that you can ask your coach to look at specific skills.
The most important thing to remember about regatta coaching, is that without a good training program, regatta coaching is far less effective than spending some quality time at a training camp, or a clinic. Regatta coaching provides athletes with the opportunity to benchmark their skill set, while coaches can focus on helping to improve communication on the boat as well as tactics, and strategy. Learning tactics and strategy is one of the best parts of sailing, but without a solid foundation in boat handling and tuning skills, it's almost impossible to learn the process of making good tactical decisions. Once you have reached the top level, regatta coaching is an essential part of developing a consistent playbook.
Best ways to take advantage of regatta coaching: Do your homework between regattas! Take notes during debriefs so that you know what to work on. Keep a playbook to document all of your tactical plays.