Olympic Development Program FAQ’s

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Frequently Asked Questions About US Sailing’s Olympic Development Program (ODP)

What is the new Olympic Development Program?

The ODP is a long-term initiative to help young sailors build complete skill sets in order to achieve success in high-performance sailing and at the Olympic level. The ODP provides significantly improved (and US Sailing funded) training to youth athletes looking to increase their skills at the highest level.

Is there only one pathway to developing Olympic-level skills?

No! The important aspects of any successful plan center around sailing in classes that will give you the best opportunity to learn, like the current ISAF Youth Worlds classes, and seeking out the best competitive environments that you can find, such as the US Youth Sailing Championship, the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship, and major class championships.

How can I talk to ODP staff and learn about how I should plan my training?

ODP Coaches are in attendance at many major regattas and clinics (Click here for ODP Master Schedule) and often give presentations on the ODP, and answer questions. Asa sailor, attending these regattas, talking with the coaches and having them see you sail is the best way to get involved with the ODP. If school or other commitments prevent you from attending an event, this in no way precludes you from future participation in the ODP.

What are US Sailing ODP Training Camps and how do I get invited?

High level training camps, called ODP Training Camps, are being held in a wide variety of locations around the country. Most camps are held in the Laser Radial and 29er classes, as well as other ISAF Youth Worlds classes. World-class coaching is provided at ODP Camps. These camps are invitation-only. Participation in one camp does not guarantee any future participation. Invitation to camps comes from demonstrated ability, desire, attitude, and commitment at a series of regattas listed on the ODP Master Schedule, along with other factors such as age and size.

What is a US Sailing Youth Travel Team and how do I get invited?

The primary purpose of the ODP Youth Travel Team is to provide high-level coaching, free of charge, to a manageable number of sailors/teams at major events. Travel team selection will involve regattas that sailors at this level should be planning to attend anyway, such as class world championships.

What types of events will be used by ODP selectors for evaluation?

Key events attended by ODP staff and/or representatives are used to help identify athletes with the talent, potential, and drive to get the most out of newly organized ODP Training Camps and Travel Teams. Click here for a link to the ODP Master Schedule, which lists the evaluation events.

What is the criteria that coaches will use to evaluate athletes for training camps and travel teams?

A selection team made up of ODP staff invites sailors to ODP Camps and ODP Travel Teams, using the following selection criteria:

Have a High Skill Level:

  • Currently top of the Youth Worlds Classes

High Fitness Level:

  • Have an existing fitness program

High Commitment Level:

  • Passionate about the sport
  • Personally driven

Who specifically will be selecting athletes for camps and travel teams?

The selection committee responsible for managing athlete invitation to the ODP Training Camps and Travel Teams includes the following US Sailing staff:

  • US Sailing Youth Development Director Leandro Spina
  • US Sailing High Performance Director Charlie McKee

If I don’t get invited to a particular camp or travel team, will I get another chance to participate in the ODP?

Yes! There is a continuous flow of sailors in and out of camps and travel teams. In addition, many of the best regattas are open, so even if you are not part of a travel team, you can compete regardless and demonstrate your skills to ODP coaches. In addition, coaches are always looking for sailors who see setbacks as opportunities to move forward with greater knowledge and focus.

What boats are being sailed in the ODP?

US Sailing has identified the Laser Radial and 29er as the core classes of ODP training for both boys and girls. Training will also be held in the Youth Worlds classes in order to best prepare the US Sailing Youth Worlds Team.

Recommended Boats

The Olympic Development Program has endorsed six Olympic development classes, which are used at the US Youth Sailing Championship and the Youth Sailing World Championship:

  • Laser Radial (Olympic Development Program Core Class)
  • 29er (Olympic Development Program Core Class)
  • Techno 293
  • Laser
  • International 420
  • Nacra 15
  • Note: US Sailing has identified the Club 420, Optimist, Byte CII, CFJ, Sabot and Open Bic as strong skill-builder classes. These boats are the starting point for many young sailors. Aspiring high-performance racers with drive and interest can transition from these boats to the Olympic Development Classes listed above, and participate in the ODP.

Want to try sailing these Olympic development classes? Attend a US Sailing Try-It-Out Clinic!

Are boats like the Optimist, C420, and Open Bic a good place to start?

Yes! These boats are strong skill-builders and the starting point for most young sailors. Young racers, with drive and interest, can then transition to Olympic Development Classes.

What is the role of parents in the new ODP?

Like with all high-level youth sports, the role of the parents is to be supportive, positive and encouraging. To promote individual growth as an athlete and a person, feedback and communication should be directly between the athlete and coach as much as is possible. Parents can be immensely helpful as a support system throughout the triumphs and disappointments that will inevitably occur on the Olympic path.

How do I try out some of the classes used at the Youth Worlds?

Go to a clinic! US Sailing’s “Try It Out Clinics” are a series of regional clinics across the country intended to introduce and familiarize sailors 13-17 with high performance boats. Boats and equipment will be provided but participants will need a US Coast Guard life jacket; housing and meals are not provided. The clinic features one or two action-packed days of sailing in all positions and conditions on 29ers, I420s, multihulls and/or boards with a favorable coach to sailor ratio. Due to the small coach to sailor ratio, clinics will be by invitation but some open spaces will also be available, depending on the number of boats available.

Training Centers

US Sailing Team Sperry Training Centers offer great resources to aspiring Olympians and Paralympians.

Which of the Olympic development classes (Youth Worlds Classes) gives me the best chance of success?

All Olympic development classes classes can nurture the skills needed to perform at the top of our sport. There are many paths to take within this framework, so you should choose one that you are passionate about! For example, a young Radial sailor can become a successful Finn sailor, just as a young i420 crew can become a successful 49er skipper. Young windsurfing sailors can become excellent 470 crews, or make a transition to multihulls or skiffs. Sailors on any of these paths can become Olympic champions. The most important thing is to find something you love and focus on the development of high-level skills. The learning should be process-oriented; you are striving to become a great sailor with a wide range of skills, and are not just racing to collect trophies. It is very beneficial for young athletes to sail in more than one high-performance class, and also to sail with and against adults when opportunities present themselves. As you develop your personal preferences, you should seek out chances to race at a higher level in high-performance classes.

What should be my youth racing goals?

First, build your skills at the best local regattas and clinics in the US. As you progress you should focus on two major events; The US Sailing Youth Championship and the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship. US Youth Champs offers the very best domestic competition, and is the way you qualify for ISAF Youth Worlds. The pinnacle of Youth Sailing is to represent your country and win a medal at the Youth Worlds, and if you achieve this goal, or campaign hard to get there, you are well on your way to success at the Olympic Games.

What non-sailing skills will I learn from training for the Olympics?

The Olympic path is challenging, and will prepare you well for life after your campaigns. You will learn about communications, organization, long and short term planning, the budgeting of time and money, nutrition, marketing, and sports psychology, among other skills.

How can I receive all important news relating to the Olympic Development Program?

To receive all major ODP updates directly from the source, sign up for our news list: http://eepurl.com/bg5SUX



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