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Southern Spars - North Technology

International 420 Coach Clinic and Development Programme

by Tony Mapplebeck on 2 Mar 2011
USA coaches - Intl 420 Coaching Clinic in Austria & 2011 Class Development Programme 420 Class Association
The International 420 Class is organising a fourth coaching development seminar in Europe at the end of March. Part of a series of initiatives to strengthen coaching capacity and to encourage and sustain youth sailing, this clinic will be led by former ISAF Youth Trust Coach, Jim Saltonstall.

It will provide opportunities to develop skills, share knowledge and reflect on practice, working with a fleet of 420s and their sailors. Both those with experience and others relatively new to developing double-handed sailors or with the 420 are welcome. The seminar will be hosted by the Austrian National Sailing Training Institute at Neusiedl am See, Austria from 25 – 28 March.

The International 420 Class has several years’ experience of promoting coaching skill development and practice through holding Clinics in Palma, Rio de Janeiro, Singapore, Istanbul, California, Denmark and Japan. Typically, these combine sessions on and off the water, with participants planning, briefing and delivering sessions and working with a dozen or so sailors (who get the benefit of many varieties of coaching style!), with video and de-briefing sessions to facilitate reflective practice.

Topics include:
Coaches’ qualities, leadership actions – coaching for whom?
Championship preparation – 10 Aspects of the Sport, self preparation – physical, boat preparation, boat handling, boat tuning, race strategy, starting, tactics, Racing Rules, protests, compass work and meteorology.

The clinics are about honing coaching skills and technique, but also provide opportunities to learn more about tuning and sailing the 420 for those less experienced with this boat.

Feedback from participating coaches has been universally positive. Toward the end of last year in Japan a former Olympian 470 sailor, who had trained alongside Jim Saltonstall’s squad in 1978, commented: 'We had a great opportunity to have Jim Saltonstall in Japan for a four day seminar. It was a new experience for all the coaches who attended – a ‘big’ coach (Jim) coaching many other coaches. The most important thing was the communication, and we learned a great deal here'.


A Hong Kong sailor, at the first Asian Clinic held in Singapore, said: 'Jim’s delivery was very clear and easy to understand..….provided an excellent opportunity for coaches to share and discuss ideas', while a coach from the Philippines commented: 'this is the first time I am receiving formal coach training; this seminar is awesome. I have learned a lot and hope to see more of such training seminars'. An experienced 420 coach from the Netherlands mentioned 'good course structure, comprehensive, picked up different styles in delivery', adding that 'it was an eye-opener to hear different perspectives'. And a Singapore coach mentioned, 'besides learning new coaching skills and methods, I have also learned a new meaning to the word ferret!' A national Director of Performance with international experience summed up: 'The seminar was a good vehicle to transfer knowledge and techniques from experienced coaches to those who may not have had been exposed so much'.

The large group of sailors who provided the coaches with practical experience at the Scandinavian Clinic held in Denmark had not previously experienced an intensive training camp quite like this. 'It was fun - mainly because there were so many coaches - and the short training sessions were very intensive and good. You don’t get so tired. It is fun to get input from so many different countries and coaches. They know many good tricks, which you can learn from them'... 'It was very good to get some theory and then put it in practice on the water. We tried, for example, to hoist the spinnaker. It is quite difficult, and we did not always succeed. But it’s good to get the theory first and then practice'......'It is a good idea to make a seminar for coaches because both the trainers and the sailors learn things from each other. Despite that the main focus was on the coaches, we did not feel left out and we really got a lot out of this seminar'.

420 Vice President (Development), José Massapina comments: 'I am delighted that the 420 Class is able to offer another Coaching Seminar in Europe. Jim Saltonstall has led our seminars for coaches for several years and brings enormous experience with coaching youth and Olympic sailors and, particularly, performance coaches, and has worked with 420s throughout his career. In recent years, we have held these clinics, involving coaches, together with a dozen or so of Jim’s ‘ferrets’ – both experienced and aspiring 420 sailors – at national sailing centres in Rio, Singapore, California, Japan, Istanbul and Denmark. The feedback has been consistently positive, and we are confident that we are making a significant contribution to sustain the development of youth sailing and creating the groundwork for sailing careers, whether in Olympic and other dinghy tracing, match and team racing and keelboat sailing.


'Our development programme involves several interventions to facilitate the availability of boats to establish new 420 fleets, for example in Ecuador, Bulgaria and Angola, the aim being to spread and increase young people’s participation in competitive sailing and facilitate a country’s Olympic pathway. We have provided an experienced coach to work with local coaches and sailors in South Africa and Turkey, and we recently collaborated with the 470 Class to organise coach and sailor training sessions in Luanda, Angola and Buenos Aires, Argentina. A township South African team have been assisted to compete in international events and finished fifth at the 2010 Worlds!'

Development Plans for 2011 include:

• a second Coaching Clinic for North and Central America and the Caribbean;
• Jim Saltonstall will be videoing on the water at the Junior European Championship at Nieuwpoort in Belgium in August, holding his popular de-briefing sessions at the end of the day;
• an experienced 420 coach will again be meeting up with the 900+ Optimist sailors at the Lake Garda Optimist Spring meeting;
• a sailors’ and coaches’ clinic in Moçambique is planned to coincide with the forthcoming African Games; and
• a third Asian Coaching Clinic is to be held in China.

Coaches wishing to participate in the Clinic in Austria from 25 to 28 March will need nomination by their National 420 Class Association or National Authority. Costs, apart from travel, will be borne by the Class and institute.







Further information and application form may be found at www.420sailing.org

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