If you talk to any of the top coaches these days, they’ll tell you, “You should incorporate video and technology into your sailing coaching!” Great–but why? And how?
We’ll start with the why.
Why Sailors Need Video
If you think about how a baby learns how to walk–they learn through watching. No one stands over them telling them to engage their quads and glutes, shift their weight onto their left leg, bend the right leg 35 degrees, bring the right foot forward, extend the right leg, place the right heel on the ground, shift the weight forward to the right leg rolling through the foot, and repeat on the left side. No, they just watch the world around them and start to play with standing, then stumbling, then walking, then running. Babies certainly get encouragement from the world around them, but their brains are doing processing and learning–sans walking lessons.
The human brain is exceptionally good at self-teaching. Just as babies learn to walk by watching other people walk, sailors can learn the same way. But we need what babies have–a good model. This is where video comes into play.
Recently Omer sat down with Paul Swan, who is, quite literally, an expert in learning. Paul has a PhD in Instructional Design and had an impressive career in building training programs in the corporate world. Today, Paul applies his extensive knowledge of how human beings learn to sailing as part of the coaching team at the International Sailing Academy in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
As Omer and Paul discuss, video and the internet (yay YouTube!) can give sailors the model they need to watch and rewatch what “good” looks like.
Incorporating Video into Your Training
So now that we understand why we should be using video in our sailing training, we need to look at how we can use it. Aside from watching YouTube videos, what else can you as a sailor or coach do to utilize video in your training? How do you understand what you’re looking at? How do you use your own sailing footage? How do you convert footage into a learning tool?
Fortunately, Paul outlines the process for us. He identifies how coaches and sailors can articulate what they’re seeing, define a common vocabulary, and create a learning tool that can be used by coaches and sailors alike.