Fast Times at Willie High
The U.S. Sailing Development Coach of the Year on Tony Hawk, international shenanigans, and being a black belt. You know, the things that matter.
Willie Mcbride is riding the Barcelona Metro with 29er sailor Judge Ryan. Today’s mission has nothing to do with his Olympic campaign, or even sailing. Today Mcbride and his charge are in search of a real- life prop in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater video game.
Their quest leads the pair to the Gaudi House Museum gift shop, where Ryan spots a postcard with a picture of a skate park. He identifi es the benches as the same ones he grinds on in the game, leading them on a hunt throughout the city. The adventure is just one component of Mcbride’s coaching style.
“Being vulnerable, goofy and silly is so important, especially when you are working with high- caliber teams,” says Mcbride. “It can be really serious, but I think that being willing to laugh at yourself and have fun brings it back to the love of the sport.”
Mcbride, 26, is one of the youngest sailing professionals to reach the top level of coaching. Since joining the U. S. Sailing Team staff, his sailors have brought home three medals from the World Sailing Youth Worlds in Auckland, New Zealand, as well as Paris Henken and Helena Scutt’s medalfl eet in Rio. His approach with the young athletes is simple. “Regardless of how complicated a skill is, you can always break it into smaller pieces that sets up a sailor for success,” says Mcbride. “When we gave them the tools to learn in an effective way, they grabbed it and ran with it.
“I think I’ve learned more from the teams I’ve worked with than they have learned from me.”
Well, let’s learn more about Coach Willie.
D AV Y K E S E Y
An afternoon workout with Willie Mcbride reveals his explosive energy bleeds into everything he does, from coaching to karate. PHOTO :