The Reaching Ahead “Dirty Dozen” Mental Training Program is a year-long twice monthly Webinar series focused on the following skills (as outlined on the US Sailing Blog). It is a flexible and affordable way to gain a sailing-specific mental performance foundation, that you can integrate into your coaching. This group is specifically for sailing coaches, to help further a practical (but research based) understanding of mental skills. Better yet, you can sign up with a colleague for only $375!
Sailing Coaches Group: Year-Long Mental Training
The Reaching Ahead “Dirty Dozen” Coaches Mental Training Program is a year-long twice monthly Webinar Series focused on the following skills (as outlined on the US Sailing Blog). There will be 2 sessions/month (1 didactic workshop and 1 less structured Q&A), plus “homework.” With group training, Tim will also be available for quick emails and phone calls along the way. This is an affordable way to dive into mental training, with 24 meetings/recordings, homework, and quick assistance. This group is for sailing coaches learning about mental skills, and ways to weave what mental training into their own coaching. While much of the description below looks similar to the other trainings, Tim will make a point of helping you both: 1) learn these skills for yourself; and 2) work towards integrating skills and knowledge into coaching.
1. Know your Values
In this module, participants will engage in an overall mental skills self-assessment (taking stock of your current strengths and weaknesses), and gain clarity regarding your values. This can help with knowing what is most important for YOU, as an individual, to focus on day to day.
2. Understand your Motivation
Gaining more awareness around what motivates you will help you stick your training and pursuit of excellence, when training is less fun, when you’re tired, or when motivation might suffer for other reasons. You’ll learn to capitalize on what works for you.
3. Engage SMART Process Goals
There’s a big difference between talking about goals and accomplishing them. In this module, sailors will learn how to set goals the “SMART” way using outcomes as motivators while shifting focus to the processes that allow big accomplishments to unfold. And, we’ll move beyond theory and into using a tracking system that will help make it all happen.
4. Build Self-Talk Habits
With this module, we will dive into a process for becoming more aware of your thoughts, emotions, body sensations, and behaviors. Learning the “ABCs of self-talk,” you can learn how to influence the chatter in your head to either experience quiet or to habitually experience self-talk that is more conducive to performing on the race course.
5. Develop Mindful Routines
In this section, sailors will learn a framework for understanding attention, becoming more aware of where their attention goes so that they can more intentionally be present moment focused on the most relevant factors to success.
6. Utilize Mental Imagery
Sailors will learn the ins and outs of mental imagery, some ways to integrate imagery with video and other learning tools, and will learn how to create their own personalized imagery tools and techniques.
7. Practice Tuning Into YOU
It is easy to judge yourself for what doesn’t go well; and yet this judging neither helps you feel or perform better. This module will center on knowing yourself better, without hiding from your worries, so you can be your best self on the race course (hopefully even in life too).
8. Hang in there with Anxiety
Everybody knows what it’s like to experience anxiety, especially in performance situations like while racing. Pretending it’s not there makes it worse. Pushing it away makes it worse too. This module will center on hanging in there with anxiety, so that anxiety can take a back seat while you focus on the task at hand.
9. Assertively Communicate
True assertive communication is not about being blunt, it’s about finding a balance between a direct style and a cooperative style of communication; it is working to have your needs met while genuinely considering the other persons’ needs. In this module, we will talk about how to achieve this balancing act in pressured and non-pressured situations, on and off the race course. Coaches will also learn about principles of “motivational interviewing,” whereby their sailors can be guided toward making discoveries they can own. As the saying goes, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
10. Channel Emotions
It’s natural (and normal) to experience negative emotions. This module will center on shifting negative emotions into positive effort, and the rewards of doing so. We’ll also look at how common defense mechanisms can lead to self-sabotage if not aware of what’s happening beneath the surface for you. In modules on anxiety and emotions, coaches will also learn mental health warning signs and strategies for referral, when appropriate.
11. Perservere with Energy Management
Regattas require sustained energy. Seasons, years, or Olympic quads require even more sustained energy. In this module, you’ll put lifestyle factors under the microscope, working to maximize energy over the long haul, and working to maximize energy today- given whatever you have to work with.
12. Reduce Anxiety
When you feel like you desperately have to reduce anxiety, it has a tendency to stick around or to bounce back later. Having worked on tolerating it with our training, we will work on lowering anxiety in general and anxiety in response to big stressors on the race course.
What’s the format and what do I need?
- Each month will have a jam-packed hour-long structured webinar, followed by a more loosely structured second webinar each month focused on Q&A associated with homework and implementation of skills learned.
- Training will begin with a mental skills self-assessment, a values assessment, and a brief introduction to an online goal-setting tool.
- Each month will center on a specific skill (or theme of skills).
- Review of past meetings will occur to drill in understanding, and the format will be somewhat flexible to address the specific needs of participants.
- Each month will include a worksheet or other hands-on activities.
- After the course begins, participants will be strongly encouraged to obtain a biofeedback device to facilitate some of the work that will center on Mindful Attention, Self-Attunement, and Anxiety Reduction (the device can be obtained for about $130 from the manufacturer or for $115 from Reaching Ahead).
- An inexpensive breathing app will also be recommended.
- Whether using technology, worksheets, or being mindful to utilize new ideas, it is expected that participants will be doing work to learn skills between sessions.
When exactly will the group meet?
- Beginning in February, a Doodle scheduling poll will be emailed once per month, to establish times for both meetings that month.
- Meetings will likely be in the evenings (8pm-ish EST) to accommodate east coast and west coast US Sailors.
- Tim will be online 15 minutes prior to each video-conference to assist with testing technology, etc.
- There will also be an optional technology trial class on a day prior to the first meeting.
- You will later have the ability to download video recordings of webinar sessions (these videos are for YOU only).
- Participants are welcome to contact Tim frequently by email or phone with quick questions pertaining to session content and homework.
Is meeting twice monthly (plus support) enough?
- You will learn new skills in these monthly trainings. Though, you can think about it like on-the-water training for sailing… getting coached once/month with a large group wouldn’t serve you nearly as much as more frequent training in a smaller group or private lesson format.
- Participation for the webinar series will be capped at an absolute maximum of 100 participants (fewer expected, but a minimum of 20 to run the course- so recruit friends!).
- It is strongly encouraged that participants contact Tim for either individual work or team formats (additional fees required).
- Local individuals or teams are encouraged to meet in person if feasible, and far-away groups can do whatever combo of video-conferencing and in-person training (additional fees).
Are there any “rules” to the group?
- A respectful environment is mandatory. It is expected that people’s examples are treated with respect and that privacy is maintained.
- By signing up for the group, you’re agreeing to limit live or recorded access to your own individual use (or to your family if that’s what you purchase).
What kind of sailors or coaches is this group for?
- We will aim to have a broad swath of sailing coaches participating; Tim will both teach and act as a facilitator of good discussions so coaches can be grounded in what the research has to say while also learn from each other.
What is Tim’s background?
- Tim has a strong sailing, coaching, and sport psychology background.
- He has been on the podium for major events, coached many levels including All-American collegiate sailors, and posseses 2 Masters degrees and a Doctorate.
- Learn more here.
- Reach out to Tim at firstname.lastname@example.org.