Windsurfer: Steph Badcock (Harris) Lower Intermediate
Nationality: United Kingdom
Which Clinics have your attended before:Tobago
Why did you go on a clinic? To fully step up my sailing and have a thorough deconstruction
How did Jem improve your sailing? You don’t come on a Jem Hall clinic to sit on the beach and admire the view and you certainly don’t come on his clinic if you’ve forgotten to pack your sense of humour. You also don’t come an improver’s clinic to be told you’re a good windsurfer, you come to be deconstructed.
His clinic begins before we even hit the beach. Jem is so enthusiastic that he’s questioning us on our ability, hopes, expectations and approach before we’re even off the plane. He even wants to know what we eat. But there are no notes, it’s all absorbed, retained and factored into his coaching. Beware, he remembers everything!
But nothing affects his coaching more than what he sees. And believe me, he sees everything! Through his observation of you on the water, photos or videos he can show you exactly what you’re doing, which I guarantee you is not what you think your doing. If you don’t know how to rig up, he’ll show you. A tuning novice, don’t worry, he’ll make it simple. Struggling to carry your kit without looking like a twit, he has all the answers and can demonstrate all the pitfalls to great effect. But I guarantee, the minute you take the lazy option or lapse into old habits, he is always there to “remind you”. Thinking of walking your kit upwind in the shallows, or heading back to shore after messing up your turn. Forget it. You get on the board, and you do it again… and again. He is always watching and by the end of the week you’ll be hearing him in your sleep.
Whilst this might sound daunting, for me, his approach was a revelation. Your stance and each move is broken down methodically. I always thought the reason I got some moves but took a bath on others was down to luck, chop or gusts. But it’s not. Precision is the key. Success is down to your head, hands, hip or foot placement, your weight distribution, timing or mental attitude. We can all wobble round our tacks and gybes in light wind and flat water, but he difference between getting the move or on the plane in high winds and chop could be inches. So your have to embrace precision in all conditions, but thankfully you’ll leave with lots of helpful drills to get you there in manageable steps. You might not be able to do everything you set out to do by the end of the week but you will leave knowing exactly where your faults are and exactly what to do to correct them.
You’ll get plenty of advice on your “positive mental attitude” too. Chuck out those doubts, because they’re not helping. And you’ll get plenty of feedback and masses of encouragement along side a large serving of jovial abuse.
I have homework galore but I had a hoot, I learnt a lot and I’ll be back next year.