High Performance Planning

Sailing is a complex sport that requires athletes to possess a wide range of athletic skills. To help sailors develop these skills and achieve their goals, it is crucial to have a well-planned and structured training program.

High Performance Planning

Volume vs Intensity

One key aspect of a successful training program is understanding the inverse relationship between volume and intensity. As sailors approach competitions, the total workload should decrease to allow for greater recovery and optimal performance. Coaches must also ask themselves what, why, and for what when designing training plans to ensure that they align with the goals of the sailor and the team.

Keep them motivated!

During training, sailors are motivated by a variety of factors, including upcoming competitions, success, fun, feeling important and listened to, and being well-rested. It is also important to challenge sailors during training by setting achievable but not easy objectives, introducing new challenges, keeping track of key performance indicators, and monitoring how other teams are preparing.

Related: Leadership and Coaching Philosophy

Training Sessions

When planning sailing training sessions, coaches should follow a checklist that includes structure and organization, the nature of the activities, and safety. Training sessions should have clear objectives, be well-organized with a specific structure, utilize the appropriate equipment, and have a tailored practice length for different athletes based on their needs, age, and fitness levels. Drills should be connected to minimize downtime, and coaches should maintain a correct coach-to-sailor ratio.

Athletes should be grouped based on their skill levels and social and emotional needs, and enough time should be allocated for each activity. To keep sailors engaged and motivated, drills should be killed during their peak, and each drill should have a well-stated goal. Coaches should also have backup drills, and drills should present a reasonable challenge for sailors designed for them to succeed at least two out of three times. Finally, leave some time in the training session for non-structured or non-planned activities.

When it comes to athletic skills, there are four categories: physical/motor, technical, tactical, and mental. Physical/motor skills involve the amount of energy the muscles can generate and the range of movement required to perform each action. Technical skills refer to the ability to perform specific sailing-related tasks, such as trimming the sails or steering the boat. Tactical skills include making strategic decisions during racing and adapting to changing conditions. Finally, mental skills are based on the emotional needs of the athlete, such as managing stress, building confidence, and maintaining focus.

Session sequencing is critical in maximizing the effectiveness of a training program. Each practice should focus on specific goals for the period in which it takes place, balancing the goals of the sailor and the team while optimizing technical and tactical learning, and physical and mental development. In general, a training session in sailing should follow a specific sequence, including a briefing, warming up, main drills, cooling down, and debriefing.


Safety is paramount during training sessions, and coaches must take measures to prevent risks associated with the environment, mechanical equipment, and human factors. This includes creating a contingency plan for emergencies, using appropriate coach equipment, conducting a risk assessment before the session, taking into account the weather and sailor-to-coach ratios, age, and fitness levels. Coaches should also be aware of hazards such as temperature changes and distance from the sailing club.

Coach smart, coach safe.

In conclusion, a well-planned and structured training program is critical for sailors to develop the athletic skills necessary to succeed in sailing. Coaches must consider the inverse relationship between volume and intensity, motivate and challenge sailors, and plan training sessions that focus on specific goals and prioritize safety. By following these guidelines, coaches can help sailors achieve their goals and reach their full potential in sailing.

❓ Do you have a yearly timed program? Have you used some of these tools for coaching? If you have more tips leave them in the comments! :)
💌 If you found this information useful please share this article and subscribe!

⛵️ We would love to work with you and your team to accomplish your goals. For job inquiries send us an email to sailinganswers@gmail.com and our team will contact you! ⛵️