by Rob Kothe
Jon Emmett’s book ‘Be Your Own Sailing Coach’ is fast becoming a performance dinghy sailing classic.
Be Your Own Sailing Coach front cover
The long time dinghy sailor coach, he started as an RYA instructor in 1996, began International coaching in 2000, became the UK Laser Association coach in 2006 and wrote this his first book in 2008.
‘Be Your Own Sailing Coach’ is certainly a must read for all competitive dinghy sailors and there is much keelboat sailors can learn too.
Emmett is a natural communicator. While he is now coaching at the highest level, thanks to his club coaching experience he is able to distil the elements of complex subjects down into their essentials and then break them into steps.
He details what he considers the 20 goals for racing success, explains how sailors can analyse their own strengths and weakness and provides a range of practical examples on how to improve those weaknesses.
After exploring the elements of goal setting and the measurement of achievements, or otherwise, Emmett lists his 20 key topics to achieve racing success; Self Preparation, Venue Preparation, Technology, Starting, Boat Handling, Tactics, Strategy, Rules, Meteorology, Boat Speed Upwind, Boat Speed Reaching, Boat Speed Running, Fitness, Diet, Bodyweight, Mental Attitude, Racing Log, Concentration, Boat Preparation and Finance, and writes about each in a stand alone chapter.
I've not found another coaching book like this one. In a simple and straightforward way, it shows you how to set your own overall goals, break them down into mini-goals and then go through all the elements that contribute to success in each area.
Emmett has been on the high performance circuit as a competitor since 1995 and his book is very much a practical manual.
He has roped in some mates to add their perspectives; the 2008 Olympic Laser Gold Medallist Paul Goodison, Simon Hiscocks (dual Olympic 49er medallist) and Joe Glanfield (dual Olympic silver medallist 470 Class).
Today, having finishing reading it for the second time, I chatted with Emmett from China about the book and his current role. He is currently coaching the 2006 Laser Radial World Champion Lijia Xu (Lily) who was the 2008 Olympic Bronze medallist and the Chinese Laser Radial squad.
Emmett commented ‘In order to be successful in life (not just in sailing) you need to set goals. After all failing to plan is planning to fail. Goal setting is always a key part of my coaching and that is the key in this book.
‘You can be sure we have a very specific goal for the Olympics. Lily is a joy to coach and she is on track for a great performance in Weymouth in 2012. This year she was first at the Europeans and fourth at the Weymouth Olympic test event (winning the medal race).’
Emmett’s goal is clearly to be back in his beloved Weymouth coaching Lijia Xu to an Olympic medal and there will be no prizes for guessing the colour.
There are fans of his book all around the world. Laura Baldwin, former World Number 2 in the Laser Radial Class, British Laser Radial Olympian in 2004, Australian Laser Radial Champion and a rapidly rising Coach on the Asia Pacific scene stated ‘Be Your Own Coach is a must for every sailor and coach. It is a complete guide to racing and sailing, suitable for the club level sailor to the advanced campaigner and it’s a great reference book for coaches to use. It is clearly laid out with great use of colour, photos and illustrations, making it easy and exciting to study.’
Emmett clear enjoys the communication process at every level. He is regularly providing additional content on his Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8224433030 and on his YouTube Channel http://www.youtube.com/user/jonemmettsailing
The final word, the same as the start - Be Your Own Sailing Coach is a 'must read' for dinghy sailors, get it now.
If you are down under its available from Boat Books Australia, www.boatbooks-aust.com.au
and around the World from all good boating bookshops