ECSA Coach of the Year

Each year a coach is recognized for their outstanding performance in the ECSA.  The Coach shall be nominated by their students, parents, sailing organization, or ECSA Board.  Nominations shall be submitted by form the ECSA by the end of the first week of August. The nomination shall provide a paragraph to give details as to how the individual exceeded expectations, either from a single significant event or sustained exemplary performance.

Submissions will be reviewed by ECSA officers for final selection of recipient.  The award will be announced and presented at the end of season ECSA Junior Award event.

2017 CO – ECSA Coach of the Year – Nick Ewenson & Griffin Pilz

About Giffen:

In recognition of his dedication to the students and racing program at Niantic Bay Yacht Club, I would like to nominate Griffin Pilz as the ECSA Coach of the Year. Like many instructors, Griffin displays an innate love of the water and sailing, and has a natural rapport with children of most ages. But for our families, what makes Griffin truly stand out are the many ways he went above and beyond the typical racing curriculum to help our children develop. Griffin was never content to just cruise the water in a whaler and shout instructions. He continually sought out ways to communicate his knowledge and be as hands-on as possible with the racers. On any given day this would include any, and likely most of, the following:

• Jumping into a 420 with any crew or skipper to quite literally take a sailor through the motions of a maneuver, point out a detail of sail trim, and listen/advise as a sailor learned to think analytically about the race course. In this way he really immersed himself in the student’s experience and provide more targeted and immediate feedback. It showed a 1-to-1 interest in the sailor that was extremely effective for our racers, and it made the sailing more fun.

• Griffin also makes excellent use of video footage to enable off the water learning. Using Go Pros, overhead drones and his phone, Griffin would record and assemble clips and lengthy edited videos (sometimes even with music!) to review with the racers. He understands the role technology can play in teaching and he worked many hours outside of the structured classes to prepare for a video review the next day and post clips to YouTube for the students to watch on their own. For the current generation of sailors in particular, this method of teaching is not only impactful, it’s practically expected, and Griffin really understands how to make the most of it.

• As passionate as Griffin is about racing and attention to detail, and as demanding as he can be of the racers, he knows how to deliver feedback positively and support his sailors. Oftentimes intense passion for a sport can lead a young coach (or a parent!) to be overly critical, but with our children Griffin knew when to push and when to lift. He’s a credible leader and established the trust of racers early in the season. With that in place, they would listen and soak up any advice he would give. There was no need to be harsh or critical. By showing a perfect balance of challenge, pressure and support, Griffin became a mentor to many of the racers. I know for my son this was absolutely the case, and that’s as valuable as any racing tip he could give.

• At regattas, Griffin was a diligent on the water reporter sharing play by play video updates whenever we sought them out, and if he couldn’t be there, he expected no less from the parents on site. It just speaks to his level of investment in the racers.

• Outside of class, Griffin was still involved and helping the kids get better. He would get the kids sailing on the weekends in big boats or the 29er, make himself available to coach or co-skipper if a big regatta required extra training, and offer a car ride if it meant the sailor could stay longer or attend more practice.

I could go on, but I think the above speaks to the high level of commitment he made to the Niantic program and to our 420 racers. To the extent that our children experienced success this summer, and had fun reaching new levels, we owe much of it to the investment Griffin made in them as young racers. He exemplifies the maturity, passion and connection to the sport that makes kids want to become instructors. I can think of no better mentor for my son, and hope ECSA will look favorably on his efforts this summer!

About Nick:

Nick truly deserves the coach of the year, not only because he is good at coaching sailing, but he has his way of incorporating life skills and teamwork all into the sport. He really loves the “game” although sometimes it is a “silly sport.” He knows how to teach us without boring the sailors. He always involves fun drills, as well as nesecary ones. When it is time for coaching, he is our coach and only our coach, but when times are less uptight and strict, he is always our friend and will joke around. He encourages us to not be “hacks” or “marshmellows,” which means to sail the race fairly and conscious of the rules. He is the best coach I know, not only in sailing but of all of the sports I play and he really does deserve this honor.

Nick truly deserves the coach of the year, not only because he is good at coaching sailing, but he has his way of incorporating life skills and teamwork all into the sport. He really loves the “game” although sometimes it is a “silly sport.” He knows how to teach us without boring the sailors. He always involves fun drills, as well as nesecary ones. When it is time for coaching, he is our coach and only our coach, but when times are less uptight and strict, he is always our friend and will joke around. He encourages us to not be “hacks” or “marshmellows,” which means to sail the race fairly and conscious of the rules. He is the best coach I know, not only in sailing but of all of the sports I play and he really does deserve this honor.

 

2016 ECSA Coach of the Year – Kevin Coakley Maddison Beach Club