Since taking a break from coaching squash – an indoor winter sport in New England – I have had the opportunity to explore outdoor recreational and sporting activities this summer. Being on the water in the summertime can be very invigorating and many New Englanders are avid sailors, rowers and yachtsmen. Most of the coastal cities or towns in this area have some type of community boating program.
I was born in Dubai – a port city in the United Arab Emirates and have traveled through many coastal cities and towns over the years in New England and overseas. Some of these stops include Maine, Connecticut and Rhode Island in New England and Kochi, Kolkatta and Mumbai in India to name a few. One recent stop included New York City at Chelsea Piers (see below) where on the Hudson River New Yorkers and tourists could rent yachts, sailboats and windsurfers for recreational purposes.
Coastal cities and towns be they in New England or not play an important role in promoting tourism, leisure and economic development. Community boating programs are another means in which to foster community, share common experiences and develop new friendships. Coastal cities and towns also promote competitive water sports such as the Volvo Ocean Race or off-shore Powerboat Racing. Of course there are some within the sporting world who are purists and might question the athleticism required to partake in such activities.
Youth sport specialization and the desire to compete at the collegiate level places a considerable burden on families in terms of time, money and energy which can lead to a very narrow focus in their child’s education. Perhaps specialization, limits a coach’s ability to see other perspectives, especially when trying to coach their own sport if they grew up with just one or two sports. Just as youth sport researchers and advocates urge parents not to let their children specialize in sport too early, I think the same could go for coaches in that they may benefit from coach observations and learning from other sports to improve their own coaching toolkit. In short, quality coaching is a mix of science and art that enables students to reach their full potential.