Sail Canada Coach of the Year >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News


Sail Canada has named Violet Stafford and Vaughn Harrison as Sail Canada Coach of the Year for 2020 and 2021, respectively.

The Sail Canada Coach of the Year Award is presented annually to a coach who demonstrates great coaching skills and who contributes to sporting excellence by providing a healthy attitude towards winning, enjoying sport and demonstrating effective training.

The winners are Sail Canada certified and registered coaches who have had a significant impact on the performance of athletes in competitions and who reinforce the spirit of sporting values ​​in their athletes, measured by respect for the game, love of sport , a respect for others and a commitment to fair and ethical sport.

Applications were assessed from January 1 to December 31 for 2020 and 2021.

Violet Stafford: 2020 Sail Canada Coach of the Year
Violet Stafford (Toronto, ON) was the lead performance coach at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club (RCYC) in 2020-2021 after serving as a laser coach at the same club. She is currently coaching with the development team at the Ontario Sailing Training Centre.

“Thank you for the honor,” Stafford said. “I must first thank all the athletes with whom I had the opportunity to work. It’s a privilege to help you a little on your way. I also thank the coaches and mentors I have had in my life. They taught me and continue to influence my evolution and growth.

In 2020, a year marked by the pandemic, she participated in the creation of COVID-19 navigation procedures and protocols. “Working closely with Ontario Sailing staff, Violet contributed to a ‘return to play and training’ protocol that incorporated best practices from Sail Canada, but also from other sports across the country and sailing programs in the United States,” said RCYC colleagues. in 2020.

“This protocol became a checklist for athletes and coaches to return to training on the water, and by the end of May we had sailors on the water enjoying the sport safely. It was not only a ripple effect and a benefit, but also for the mental health of our youngsters because before that many young sailors couldn’t enjoy the sport they love. It was a tough year and Violet answered the call with tremendous composure and leadership.

Also during the pandemic, Stafford helped launch an online platform in partnership with Ontario Sailing, The Northern Channel, in the spirit of collaboration and to create a sense of community among yacht clubs as an outlet for sailors and coaches during the pandemic. .

“It’s very representative of the way Violet works: she speaks not only to ‘her club’, but also to the whole community or to other sailors and coaches in the club. His leadership in the coaching community is essential, as far too often the focus is solely on the activities of his own club.

In 2020, Stafford, who was previously a member of the National Laser Radial Team (ILCA 6) from 2013-2015, was also part of the Sail Canada Data Analysis Project, using GPS trackers with his group for the training and then sharing the data with Voile. Canada to learn how to implement this tool in the daily training environment.

Violet’s commitment to this project and her ability to demonstrate its value is another example of her exceptional leadership.

Again in 2020, Violet also served as Project Manager during the Sail Canada Regional YOTS Clinic held at the RCYC and Regatta Chair during the RCYC Fall Youth Regatta, in addition to participating in the creation of the RCYC virtual regatta, which had over 35 entries. . She has also been a member of the RCYC Youth Committee as a staff member and participated in Sail Canada’s Youth Development Team coaching calls.

“Violet is an exceptional coach, a role model for young sailors around the world, and she leads with character and work ethic. Her athlete-centered approach is always at the forefront and she treats her team sailors and coaches with respect, mutual respect.

Vaughn Harrison: 2021 Sail Canada Coach of the Year
Vaughn Harrison has been working with Canadian ILCA 6 high performance sailors since 2016, including Sarah Douglas, who had Canada’s best individual performance in women’s sailing in Olympic Games history with a sixth-place finish overall at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in August 2021.

“I want to say a big thank you to everyone who nominated me and voted for me for Coach of the Year,” Harrison said. “It’s a huge honour. I am very excited and happy to work with Team Canada and to have worked with many wonderful and talented athletes in the past, with whom I have achieved great results and, more than anything, I have learned a lot and with who I grew up.

“It has been an absolute pleasure working for Sail Canada and representing Team Canada at the Olympics, numerous World Championships and other events, and I look forward to doing more in the future.”

Douglas has achieved numerous top 10 finishes at World Cups and World Championships over the past few years, and she is working to compete at the Paris 2024 Games alongside Vaughn. He also works with other sailors around the world as the founder of the Mexico-based International Sailing Academy, which welcomes hundreds of athletes every winter to help them hone their ILCA skills.

“Vaughn’s training history is a long one,” said Douglas, who named his coach. “He’s one of the best coaches in the world and he’s proven it with his results. He takes a holistic approach to his training and he has a lot of passion for sailing, high performance and chasing Olympic medals.

“He is not often recognized or in the spotlight for his dedication to the sport of sailing and its athletes. I wouldn’t be where I am today without Vaughn and we are so lucky to have such a top coach in Canada.

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