Frequently Asked Questions About US Sailing’s Olympic Development Program (ODP)
WHAT IS THE 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 World Sailing Youth Worlds classes, and seeking out the best competitive environments that you can find, such as the US Youth Sailing Championship, the World Sailing Youth World Championship, and major class championships.
WHAT ARE THE ODP YOUTH TRAINING CLINICS AND HOW DO I GET INVITED?
Three high level training camps, called ODP Training Clinics, are being held annually in Youth Worlds classes. The clinics are held each year on Labor Day Weekend (ODP West, CA), Columbus Day Weekend (ODP East, FL) and Thanksgiving Weekend (ODP Racing, FL). A select number of sailors are invited to attend these clinics and train under the world-class coaching provided for each fleet. Invitations to these annual clinics are based on sailors' performance in the Youth Worlds Qualifying Series (top 3 sailors/teams) and the Youth Championships (top 2 sailors/teams not already qualified via Youth Worlds Qualification Series). In addition, Regional Programs are invited to attend the clinics with a group of sailors and a coach to work alongside the ODP coaches and invited sailors. By expanding the clinics to include Regional Programs with coaches, we are able to provide a unique training setting with a large number of boats while keeping the coach to sailor ratio not only effective, but safe.
WHAT IS A "REGIONAL PROGRAM"?
The term "Regional Program" is intentionally vague since effective sailing programs take many shapes and forms across the United States. We consider a Regional Program some sort of sailing training program that offers sailors: consistent opportunities to train on the water, coaching, fitness training, and regatta support. A Regional Program might be a sailing club's junior program, a race team, or a private coach that works with a small group of sailors.
WHAT DO I GAIN FROM COMING TO AN ODP YOUTH TRAINING CLINIC WITH MY REGIONAL PROGRAM?
Even if you didn't receive an individual invitation to attend an ODP Clinic, it's still very worthwhile to attend. All sailors at the clinic will benefit from daily group presentations led by the ODP Olympic-level coaches and by participating in the on the water training also led by the ODP coaches. Regional Program coaches have the opportunity to collaborate with these highly regarded ODP coaches to work on their own coach-development and learn about the newest techniques and technology in the industry.
WHAT IF I DON'T HAVE A REGIONAL PROGRAM IN MY AREA?
If you didn't qualify for an invitation to the ODP Youth Training Clinic and aren't part of a Regional Program and are interested in attending. Shoot us an e-mail or give us a call. Provide us with information about yourself, your current training plan (including fitness) and sailing goals. We will try to help you align with a Regional Program attending the clinic that might have capacity to add another sailor to their roster.
WHAT DO I DO WHEN I'M AGING OUT OF YOUTH SAILING?
WHAT ARE ODP OLYMPIC CLASS TRAINING CAMP AND TRAVEL TEAMS AND HOW DO I GET INVITED?
The ODP offers a number of training camps and regatta support through coaching to promising athletes who are sailing in Olympic Class boats but are not yet named to the US Olympic Sailing Team. Attendance to these training camps or travel teams is by invitation only and is based off of regatta performance (class Nationals, North Americans, Junior Worlds, etc.). The primary purpose of the ODP Olympic Class training camps is to offer a group training environment for sailors to practice with other highly skilled sailors and top-level coaches. The primary purpose of the ODP 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. If you are interested in being considered for an Olympic Class Training Camp or Travel Team invite, you (not your parent) should e-mail Leandro Spina at ODP@USSailing.org with your information, training plan (included fitness), regatta results and sailing goals.
WHAT IS THE CRITERIA THAT COACHES WILL USE TO EVALUATE OLYMPIC CLASS ATHLETES FOR TRAINING CAMPS AND TRAVEL TEAMS?
A selection team made up of ODP staff invites sailors to ODP Olympic Class Training Camps and ODP Travel Teams, using the following selection criteria:
Have a High Skill Level:
- Previously top of the Youth Worlds Classes nationally
- Competitive nationally and internationally in Olympic Classes (class Nationals, North Americans, Junior/U21 Worlds, etc.)
High Fitness Level:
- Have an existing fitness program
High Commitment Level:
- Passionate about the sport
- Personally driven
WHO SPECIFICALLY WILL BE SELECTING ATHLETES FOR OLYMPIC CLASS CAMPS AND TRAVEL TEAMS?
Managing athlete invitations to the ODP Training Camps and Travel Teams falls under the purview of US Sailing Olympic Development Director, Leandro Spina.
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 youth 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. US Sailing has identified the Laser, Laser Radial and 49er FX as the core Olympic classes for ODP sailors to focus on and build skill levels before transitioning to other high-performance classes. The ODP offers training in all Olympic classes at the Olympic Class training camps.
Recommended Youth Boats
- Laser Radial (Olympic Development Program Core Class)
- 29er (Olympic Development Program Core Class)
- Techno 293
- 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.
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 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.
US Sailing Team Training Centers offer great resources to aspiring Olympians and Paralympians.
- Oakcliff Sailing (Classes supported: 49er, 49erFX, Nacra 17)
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 World Sailing 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