Keeping it all in perspective

Published on April 10th, 2018

After gold in London and silver in Rio, Kiwi 470 skipper Jo Aleh was ready to move on from the Olympic trail and embrace the 9-5 working life. However, she recently checked back in at the 49th Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberosta, a huge event for Olympic classes in Spain. Here she shares the experience.

Jo Aleh

I have just spent the last two weeks in Palma de Mallorca, coaching two young kiwi girls – twins Courtney & Brianna (C&B), sailing in their first European event in my old boat. It was the first time I have really been back around Olympic sailing since Rio, and it was rather eye opening in a few ways!

I believe that my place as a coach is to support, to help whenever help is needed, to be a sturdy back up member of the team, and to help my sailors learn. But the result on the water is not mine, yes – it’s sometimes hard to watch your sailors make mistakes and have tough results.

The mistakes and the successes are theirs to own, theirs to learn from. I am simply there to help them make sense of everything, and find the right way forward, but how they sail is not a representation of me, I’m just the support… A nice change.

It felt so different to when I was the one on the water racing, that feeling that sailing was my whole world, that I was only as good as the last event, completely void of perspective and taking it all far too seriously!

The girls really helped me see that again, they are so young and fresh, and actually just loving what they are doing, they can smile and laugh after a bad race, yes, they get down about it too – but they bounce back because at the core they are just happy to be there and sailing.

I think this is something seasoned campaigners can learn from – It was always one of our campaign cornerstones: Still be having fun – It is a good check at any level, to remember the reason you started with your sport in the beginning…

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