Stories from Siebel Coaches: From Uncomfortable to Eager

By MacKenzie McGuckin, Siebel Sailors Coach

Team Paradise – Coconut Grove, Miami

I didn’t mean to get him hooked, but it happened.

During the first few hours of our two-and-a-half-day clinic, I knew I had my work cut out for myself. As I got to know four of the six sailors, I quickly learned that they were not comfortable in or around the water.

Hesitant to put his feet in the water during the swim check because of the few strands of turtle grass that floated by the dock, was one of the 9-year-old twins that had joined me at Team Paradise that week. With the help of some of the other sailors, two of them being his siblings he quickly, very quickly, got in and out of the water to check the swim check box.

As the program progressed during the first day, we launched to sail to the sandbar for lunch where all the sailors became more comfortable with the idea of getting in the water since they could see the sandy sea floor. My new friend was very apprehensive but eventually got in with the help of the other sailors when he noticed that he could stand next to the coach boat and still hold on.

By the end of the first day, he might have not known all the knots or the parts of the boat, but I realized our progress was monumental when he came up to me at the end of the day and whispered in my ear if we could return to the sandbar the following day.

As the clinic progressed, it was important to value the growth and improvement in each individual sailor. Having a sailor who goes from terrified to put their foot in the water during the swim check on the first morning, to getting in the boat to go sailing and is eager for the next clinic, allowed me to see real progress that I heartily celebrated at the end of the day. As a coach, it is important to be mindful of where your sailors start and how they progress because continual progress, however incremental, is to be valued.

However small a step this might seem to seasoned sailors, it was a huge deal to him. The Siebel Program strives to value “student voice” and “bringing your best effort,” no matter what that looks like to the individual. Since he was praised for the effort putting into stepping out of his personal comfort zone, this new sailor continued to take risks and tackle new challenges through the entire clinic. The fact that he is eager to return to Team Paradise for the next clinic in just a few weeks is true success for our program.

Learn more about the Siebel Sailors Program.

Follow MacKenzie McGuckin at @SiebelCoach_MacKenzie on Instagram to stay tuned with Siebel programming in the Florida Region!