Have you ever wondered why you have to pay a coach to learn a new trick when there are countless tutorials on the web that analyze the move in detail? Why having a coach is important in kiteboarding?
The coach is is a professional who helps you in your trainig process. His goal is to obtain a desired position starting from the current one. The means at its disposal are his expeiences to get the best out of you.
A coach have to turn a wish into a goal, to transform potential resources into exploitable resources, to turn an obstacle into opportunities, to convert thoughts into actions, to support the realization of an individual project.
Even if this work can be done with a group of people, the role of a coach is to find a specific and personal instruction for any athelte according to his needs.
The level and the discipline in kitesurfing are evolving and this job is becoming even more important. It is no coincidence if the Italian champion Sofia Tomasoni pointed out how crucial was the role of is coach in the last Youth Olympic Games in the TT racing discipline where she got the gold medal, by defining this victory as “their victory“.
Let’s the coach speaks
Starting from her interview I decided to deepen the relevance of this professional position by taking advantage of the experience of two of the best coaches in kitesurf today, specialised in differents disciplines:
– Fabio Ingrosso, a snow kite champion and coach of the two biggest talents in kitesurf freestyle, Mikaili Sol and Maxime Chabloz.
– Anotoine Weiss, trainer of the foil and TT racing French team and coach of Poema Newland during the last Youth Olympic Games where she won the silver medal.
Here it is a list of questions to know what they think about the issue:
What does the coaching represent?
“Help someone to reach his goal“, says Fabio Ingrosso. “Every person who decides to come and train with me is looking for something, according to his level. For instance Maxime or Mikaili aimed to become the best in the world, but I have many other who wants just to realise a simple trick as a backloop. So to me coaching consist on helping the athletes to fullfill a dream“, keep saying Fabio.
The role of the coach
“Firts of all I have to discern two positions: the trainer who works mostly on tchnical, tactical and physical aspects, and the coach who goes with the atheletes to the competition. The last one has to deal with the abovementioned factors as well as to be able to let the competitor absorb and relativise his failures to turn them into strenghts“, claims Antoine Weiss.
“The coach has to understand his athelete and let him reach as fast as he can his goals. As a coach I need to visualise his objectifs and find the right keys to open the doors to his success“, affirm Fabio.
Also, as I see it, the coach is important because he has to convey an attitude to the sportsman. In this regard, I wrote an article on the ethical values in the kitesurfing competitions that you can read by clicking here.
Can the atheletes stand out without a coach?
Both the coach agree to state how important the coach is. However Fabio has a less radical point of view than Antoine.
“I know what train by yourself means because I often did it when I used to compete. Before it was normal, most of the people used to do it. But now the level is higher and to reach faster your goal you need to have a coach. I’m sure I could do better during my career if I was followed by someone“, state Fabio.
In Antoine’s opinion the coach is essential: “I’ve never seen any athelete going to a contest without anyone who support them. Any competitor has a mentor who helps the athelete even if it is not a real coach. If someone stand out in a discipline alone it means that there is not enough competition. When we participate to a high level event (50 nations and more that 300 participants) I’m sure that it’s impossible to win by yourself. There are so many differents aspects to reach an high quality performance that only a qualified coach can create an high-level training program. Nowdays kitesurfing is far to be an high-level sport, in any of its discilpines. We can see some good athletes in freestyle but if we comapred them to other sports as football we can easily see how far we are from them. I don’t want to disapprove any kitesurfing athlete, but I think that they don’t have enough time and means to their disposal to perform as it happens in those other sports. They often train and work at the same time because they know that only few of them could live by their passion”, declare Antoine.
What are the most important factors the athletes has to work on?
It depends on the discipline and that’s the reason why the two coach have two differents approaches. In freestyle Fabio reveals to us that “most of the training is in the water to improve their tricks and skills. The most important is to know what kind of competition you are training for and the level to set your goal. When I coach Mikaili and Maxime for the WKC, for instance, I focused on power and techinque, which are the two key elements to succed. Then I always remeber them how important is their daily life and the image they share through the social media, as well as the physical training“.
Antoine spoke about another interesting facet of the performance, the psychological aspect. “In TT racing discipline there is an high risk that I can compare with the SkierX. All the athletes perform on a course which may lead to an undesirable contact among riders or brutal falls. So I need to work on the technique skills to create some solid bases in order to help them to accept those risks. So it’s important to work with an head trainer”.
Is there any specific technique to use?
In this case I had two differents answers.
Fabio uses essentially his knowledge acquired with years of experience: “I do not have any specific technique, I do a global work. The most important is to work with your heart and passion. I am an ex athlete so I am able to see the right movement and I use my skills to identify the mistakes and push my atheletes to improve themselves. But I do want that they give everything they have, because this is the first step to succed”, insist Fabio.
On the other hand, Antoine told us some specific techniques he worked on to train his atheletes for the Youth Olympic Games: “We worked on mental imagery in order to create some possible scenarios which would be possible to have during the ocurse. During the Youth Olympic Games the athletes used to sail with an off-shore wind far from the beach which made it impossible for them to come back to rest, to eat or either to change their kite’s size, as it happens in freestyle. So they needed to be able to be often over/underpowered and it has been a big challenge to deal with”.
What athletes think about it?
The athletes don’t think much different from the coaches. I was able to interview one of the new kitesurf freestyle international talent of the moment, Maxime Chabloz, who told me: “to be honest a coach is mandatory in every sport. because he is the only person that is gonna take you and your training serious and really work for you to get better. Since I started my career with alpine skiing a know that without a coach it is very hard or even impossible to get to the top. And sometimes in competition I just don’t feel like I can land a trick and it’s in those moments that Fabio helpes to get the best out of me”.
Kitesurf is evolving and it’s always harder to stand out alone considering the risks and the level which is getting insane. It’s important that any athlete is followed by a professional who is able to understand his needs and helping him out in his training. A coach is not there only to improve his technical skills, but to be a guide for him and letting him understand how important are the physical and mental aspects to succed.