Turkey Coaching Diaries- Week 1

With and extra clinic this year I managed to score 6 weeks in Ortakent across the season. Here is a write up of my last trip.

Turkey and especially Neilson Ortakent is like a second home for me but also for many of my clinic students. It’s somewhere when as soon as you arrive you’re in holiday mode and can get on with the important task of improving your windsurfing skills, and having a lot of fun.

After really popular clinics in June this year I decided to run two more dedicated weeks in September. This meant I got to introduce a whole new group to the joys of the centre and also work hard on some skills to learn.

Group tuition is key as everyone is a coach, working in a group you’ll get a multiplied experience as you work through skills and try new things. Learning and laughing off each other is all part of it. However getting the right size group is also key so as I always try to do I worked with a  group of 8 for my September Advanced week in Ortakent to make sure everyone got as much individual feedback as possible whilst enjoying the collective experience.

Week one was for the advanced sailors, Mike, Sue, June, Amy, Tim, Rob, Steve, Jon had a collective mission and that was the gybe.

We started with wind and it was great to see Tim remember this repertoire as he went from strap to strap, step and duck gybes with tweaks and tips on timing as he blew off the cobwebs after along time on the water.

The other were already cracking into and around gybes but the main focus of the day had been stance. Sailing squarer and more upright so we were going faster but more importantly in control. If you go in controlled then it’s more a mater of tweaking timing rather than lots of new techniques.

Day two saw our biggest winds with June, Sue and Amy soon down on small boards and sails between 4 and 5 metres. Mike had been hanging onto an 8m at first but eventually came down to a more sensible size but didn’t loose any of his speed. Meanwhile Rob and Steve got super comfy blasting and Steve snuck round some of his first gybes despite the challenging conditions. Then in came Jon and wit the camera rolling performed a perfect fully planing gybe even with an audience.

Amy, Tim and Jon must have been eating 3 weetabix for breakfast as despite having been up since the crack of dawn waterskiing, then windsurfing all morning and all afternoon we stayed out till dusk making the most of the great conditions.

Day three gave us a chance to slow things down with lighter winds, after watching the video from the day before we went on the sims then into skills and drills sessions on the water. In the afternoon we managed to find the holy grail of steadily increasing wind as we took skills from non-planing to planing and back again. We were changing behaviours and starting to make great progress.

Day 4 gave us more of the light stuff and you could really see that the skills were starting to shape together. There was some great support and coaching from within the group and building confidence at low speed meant that ambitions were starting to get upped for the last windy days.

Then the wind was back and what a difference a couple of days make. Gybes were going down left right and centre, stances looked great on all kit and Jon was even cracking into Duck Gybes on big kit. This was our last video session of the week and after a bit of analysis we all had single thing to work on.

So into the last day and the stills camera came out, Tim I think got photo of the day but no one held back!

It was a great week overall, with a huge amount of time on the water and everyone spurred on for the next step.