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5 June 2013, 09:01 am
Inside The ISAF Training Resources - Coaching Fundamentals
Young Indonesian Optimist sailors
Young Indonesian Optimist sailors

Inside The ISAF Training Resources

The ISAF Coaching Fundamentals Training Resource is designed to provide sailors and coaches with a lifetime of enjoyment and personal achievement within sailing by using a structured learning format.
By focussing on the generic aspects of delivering a world class learning experience ISAF has committed to introducing and furthering the sport wherever there is water and persons interested in sailing.

Tom Wilson, ISAF Nominated Expert responsible for delivering courses in countries such as Fiji, Korea, Iceland, Dominican Republic and El Salvador said, "Fun can be used very effectively when teaching people to sail. It can be a means of keeping a group together, to keep participants of all ages engaged, an effective way to bring out the competiveness within the group, a tool to enhance skill development and to enable sailors to enjoy the learning activity whilst on or off the water.

"As with most of the learning experiences we go through in life, if we are having fun then there is a greater chance that we will learn more. Sometimes this happens by taking part in a fun activity that might not directly be related to the intended learning, using distraction to keep the learner from the 'sailing' part where they will concentrate more on the activity."

To enthuse and build confidence in sailors of all ages, simple games can be introduced to help develop their skills. The ISAF Coaching Fundamentals outlines some games that can keep a group together whilst also introducing a competitive element.

What Games Can I Play?

Follow the leader

Ask all boats to follow a lead boat which can either be another sailing boat or the coach boat. This lead boat will then sail a challenging course (suitable to the ability of the group) that will challenge those behind it, sailing on all points of sail, speeding up and slowing down in order to try to make the following boats overtake, which can be a rule of the game that will result in a penalty. The lead boat will be swapped at regular intervals and the number of penalties it caused during its turn will be scored.

- Aim - Keeping everyone behind the lead boat, controlling their speed as necessary so as not to overtake each other. If this happens then that boat goes to the back of the line.
- Top Tip - If gaps appear in the line then, starting with the lead boat, ask all boats to 'lie to' and wait for all the other boats top catch up.


Choose a small sailing area suitable for the type of boat used and ability of the sailors. After choosing one boat to start the other boats are 'tagged' by being hit on the sail by a small, soft ball.

- Aim- Teaching boat control, speeding up and slowing down, rules of the road and manoeuvring in a confined area.
- Top Tip - Allow each 'tagged' boat to work with the rest of the 'tagged' boats to work as a team in 'tagging' those remaining.

The ISAF Coaching Fundamentals Resource costs only £5.00 GBP and can be purchased directly from the new online shop publications area here.

All purchases of this book will enable the reader to benefit from a 10% discount off the price of Goalscape© , a visual goal management software package used successfully by a number of Gold Medal winning Olympic Sailing Teams in the setting up and mapping of their sailors' goals for international competition.

ISAF Nominated Expert Wilson continued by saying, "Games don't have to be complicated, keeping them simple and easy to play with some basic equipment such as flags, plastic balls; coloured buoys and sound signals can be more effective than using complicated scenarios and distracting physical elements. Our imagination is key here that is after all what young people do all the time when they play. Letting the younger sailors develop their own games can be a rewarding process with ideas coming forward that will be far more effective than any ideas that a coach could have had."

This resource also contains all you need to know about working with Sailors with a disability with some helpful guidance from the International Association of Disabled Sailors (IFDS)as well as basic advice for Sailors / Coaches from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

If you have any experiences of learning to sail then why not share them with us via our Facebook page and via Twitter so others can use them as a starting point.

For details on all ISAF Training and Development programmes visit our dedicated website page
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