Good surf coaching, and sports coaching in general, comes in the three parts:
1) Goal Setting: The goal for a session needs to be set by the coach based on the surfers level and the conditions that day. Ideally it should be determined by the surfer’s “limiting factor” (i.e. if they were to be amazing at everything else then this one thing would still be holding them back). Long terms goals (for a week or season) should ideally should be something which is at the edge of what the surfer thinks is possible but within what the coach thinks is achievable. (Sometimes though a surfer’s goals may be unrealistic, in which case they need to be reined back in a bit).
2) Context & Motivation: The goals needs to be given a context so that the surfer knows what achieving it will lead on to, as this is what’s going to motivate them to work at it. (Example: if you know a good stance will allow you to drop into intimidating waves, then you are more motivated to get it right.)
3) Explaining The Mechanism (don’t demand for the result): The actual mechanics of the skill need to be explained so that the surfer has tangible, practical things that they can do to progress. (Example: “Project through your turn,” is just telling the surfer the result you want to see, rather than telling the surfer exactly what to do in order to achieve it. By contrast: “Place you leading hand 20 degrees further to the right when you begin your cutback,” is something that the surfer can actually do on their next wave).
Last week at Surf Simply some of our guests talk about their goals and how they felt about their week of coaching. Hope you like our little movie…