Set up a Productive Learning Environment
The most important thing you can do, as a Junior Olympic event organizer (second only to ensuring the safety of all), is to set up a productive learning environment. Coaches, instructors and parents can make a big difference. Hiring a qualified coach to head your clinics is money well spent. In exchange for a plane ticket, daily fee and a bed, they can handle all aspects of the learning element, and take a load off your shoulders.
Coaches can be your MVPs
You’ll probably have several kinds of “coaches”: coaches who support individuals or groups, any coach you may hire specifically for group clinics, and parents with varying experience who support individual groups. Your goal is to maximize their contributions.
Most coaches are young men and women who have had a positive experience as junior sailors and want that experience to be repeated for the next generation. They are a helpful, energetic, knowledgeable and experienced group and can be the key to a successful regatta. Although they are paid or have volunteered to represent specific clubs or groups of sailors, they are more than willing to help in any way that will not hinder them from fulfilling that primary responsibility. You shouldn't expect that they will run your regatta, but they can be a work force that can enhance the safety and success of your event.
Try to ascertain ahead of time how many coaches and how many safety boats you might expect. You might put a blank on your registration form that would include that information or call a few sailors on your preregistration list and ask if they’ll have a coach or safety boat with them. One coach for about every ten sailors can reasonably be expected. Don’t rely on them alone. But you can count on at least half of them to be very helpful with reasonable requests.
Besides helping with race management and safety, these coaches are key to your clinics. With input from all coaches, you’ll have a great knowledge pool.
How Coaches Can Help at Your Event:
- Have coaches check in at registration and fill out the Coach’s Registration and Regatta Assistance Form (see “Registration” section). Consider giving them a free lunch on the water and/or free dinner ticket.
- After completing the Coach’s Registration Form, they pick up their coach’s packet. The coach’s packet should contain a goodie or two that the kids got, the sailing instructions and an event schedule.
- Remind them about the Coaches’ Meeting time and place. If there’s time, also let them know briefly what their role will be at the clinics.
- Meet with the coaches before the Competitors’ Meeting and explain what you would like them to do. (It was on the Notice of Race and event flyer, too.) Share with them the Basic Clinic Coaches Concept: You would like each of them to share with all participants what they normally share with just their own sailors. It’s as simple as that. Aside from prompting them in the morning, stand back and watch them shine.
- Point out there’s time at the beginning and end of each day which they’ll spend with their sailors, before or after the all-hands Debriefing.
- All coaches should be present and introduced at the Competitors’ Meeting. Explain to all the sailors how these valuable people will help them during the course of the event.
- Thank the coaches at the awards ceremony.
Tips for Coaches
Have coaches register, so you know who they are, who they’re responsible for and what kind of powerboat they may be driving. Coaches running a specific clinic should have guidelines for how you want it run.
- Make sure they have everything they need (powerboats; marks, line and anchors; loud-hailer, white board & markers, etc.)
- Check that powerboats, etc. are in working order. (Drivers not needed.)
- Give them a list of students in their clinic group, along with a general idea of skill level. Ask the clinic instructor to include other coaches and parents whenever practical, to encourage knowledge sharing.
The Coaches/Parent Meeting
Organize meeting before racing just for coaches/parents to explain guidelines. Explain towing procedure and make sure each boat has a towline.
Ask all coaches/parents to: