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Interview With Luke Stevenson (Starling Coach)

Issue date

Looking to know a bit more about what makes a coach tick, or how to progress your own coaching skills. Robert Hielkema interviews Starling coach Luke Stevenson.

1.      How did you get started in coaching?

I was just keen to help out the younger kids at my club, I didn't have any real training I just stepped straight into coaching from sailing.

2.      You just coached at the Tauranga starling clinic how was the training camp?

Really good, we had lots of boats and this is a great opportunity for our sailors, It was great to have a big group to work with there parents organised and it all ran really smoothly. It was challenging at times as you often get a big spread in knowledge, the kids in front can get bored so you need to change it up and challenge those that are winning, keep the competition going and find new challenges for sailors to achieve.

3.      How do you approach teaching a new group like this at a training camp?

Make the plan really clear, everyone gets used to different drills and coaching styles. I assume they have no idea what I'm talking about.and check they understand at the end of the briefing.

4.      What's the hardest part about coaching starling sailors?

Kids are at a stage where you they like to think for themselves. I try to give them messages on things to take away and work on.

5.      What messages do you try to give them?

Try and show a good example, video, demonstrate  give them them a good balance of feedback.

6.      What's the trick to getting sailors to listen to you?

Punishment!! Hahaha, have a serious mode and a fun mode as the coach, Its training time but you need to allow them to play, Structured play is the best, as a coach if you muck around so do the sailors.

7.      You seem to do a lot of planning and run lots of really fun drills, Where does your style of coaching come from?

I found it was best to take all the good things about my favourite coaches and I have based my coaching on what I liked. Uni study has taught me that being prepared makes me more organised and in the end produces a much better final result.

8.      How do you measure if you are doing well as a coach?

That is quite hard,  if the kids are enjoying it I think I am doing a good job.

9.      What's the funniest thing that you have witnessed from the coach boat?

I once saw a 420 hoisting their kite, they got it knotted around the top of the mast. To fix it they had to go in to untie it.

Thanks heaps for your time Luke, you did a great job at the training camp and had some really fun games and drills tied up with some fantastic planning.