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.

Sailing World - - Starting Line -

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 :

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