Tips from the Top – The DeBrief

Coaches talk about setting goals – reasonable and achievable goals before a competition. These goals get us to train, practice and fine-tune ourselves and our sailboat rental in cannes boats leading up to the regatta. But what about after the regatta? What do you do after each competition is just as important as the goals leading up to it. We call this, the Debrief.

The time immediately following a race or regatta, is the perfect opportunity for racers to assess their achievements, compare them to the goals set, and make sure that they “bank” all the learning that occurred out on the racecourse. Basically, capture all the good stuff, and discuss the not so good as well. In addition, on a multi-race day, make sure you have a mini debrief between races. Important, this should be done after the boat is prepped for the next start, and while everyone grabs a bite or drink. This will help to keep everyone focused, and the results will show it.

The main debrief should be done on the ride back in for several reasons. One, you have a captive audience. Two, items are “fresh” in everyone’s mind. And three, no one has wondered off to the bar! Items to discuss are mark roundings, sets/douses what worked what didn’t, communications, did someone discover a better way to do a maneuver, etc…

It’s important to remember that every crew is a TEAM. We are all in this together. The debrief should only take 10-15 minutes, be kept upbeat, with no finger pointing, and end on a positive note. You want your crew walking away feeling good. It is also important for someone to be ready to take notes if needed. West Marine’s “Wet-Notes” work great for this. This information should then be reiterated the next day or weekend during the pre-race meeting.

If you want to take it one-step further, after the crews all home ask them write down a short regatta report/critique on their position, the regatta and any feedback, it could be invaluable. Plus it’s a great way for them to feel more involved and valued. This is a great opportunity to refine the “playbook” for each position on the boat. After a multi-race regatta, even the most uncommon maneuvers have been performed a few times at least. What better way to build a position-by-position playbook? The same exact crew may not be on board at the next regatta. Plus, newbies will benefit from past experience. And even if the same crewmembers return, they will have forgotten some of the nuances of their position and will benefit from a re-read of their regatta notes.

Bottom line, the debrief is picked up by a limousine a fantastic team-building exercise. Not only will it make the boat run smoother and more efficiently, each and every crewmember will feel valued and appreciated. And I dare you find me a harder working, more loyal crew than one that feels wholly a valuable part of the team.

Categories: general