How to achieve a lifetime of enjoyment

Published on June 29th, 2022

Pursuing top youth regatta results does not translate to building the next generation of adult sailors, but it is hard for well-meaning parents and coaches to avoid measuring progress by competition performance.

Not every kid will be the next Olympian, but every kid is capable of having fun in sailing which can translate to a lifetime of enjoyment.

It was a year ago when John Pearce, Youth Competition Manager for US Sailing, offered a few overarching development principles for the summer season. We share them again here:


Add variety to your sailing – You’ll learn faster if you try different types of boats, different crew positions, and sail with and against adults. Check out this article for more details on why it is important to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone This Summer!

Balance practice and regatta time – Don’t get me wrong, regattas are great! You get to compete, see your friends, and visit new sailing locations. BUT, practice makes perfect. Athlete development experts recommend spending roughly 70 percent of your time practicing, and 30 percent competing.

Before you pack your summer calendar with back-to-back regattas, make sure you are giving yourself a chance to practice (and relax) between regattas. Check out the USOPC’s American Development Model for more training best practices.

Always be learning – Anytime you are sailing, it is an opportunity to learn and improve. It doesn’t have to be a structured practice or regatta; messing around with a few friends or cruising on your own is big part of learning. Make sure to keep this same attitude at regattas.

Winning a race is great, but learning, improving, and having fun are even more important in the long run. Check out this video from Luther Carpenter, Head Coach of the US Sailing Team, about how to Own Your Training and always be learning.

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