- Category: Misc Articles
- Created: 22 March 2009
Summer is coming and about now we are all dusting down our kit and preparing to dig out our summer suits. However, we need to gain some direction in our sailing and improve so what better way than to get some coaching? So to whom do we turn? Do we go on a windsurfing holiday, do we get some UK coaching? Are we better placed with a Guru, an RYA school or maybe a foreign hire centre with onsite coaching? Over the coming weeks we will investigae all those options and we kick off with a little chat with Jem Hall learning a little more about him and his coaching.
Name:- Jem Hall
Number of years Coaching:- 15
Local Beach:- West Wittering, West Sussex
Favourite Spot:- Cape Town
Jem's reputation as a top windsurfing coach is renowned. Whatever you want from your windsurfing Jem will get you improving and doing things you thought impossible. As well as a windsurfing coach, former test editor and technique guru Jem has entered the world of training DVD's with his excellent Beginner to Winner and soon to be released Winner to Wave Sailor.
We thought it time to have a little chat to find a litte more about his coaching style and a little more about Jem.
WINDSURF.ME:- Most of us have read your articles in Boards magazine and your passion for the sport shines through. How did you get into windsurfing in the first place?
Jem Hall:- I learnt in Southsea, Hampshire with my 2 best mates, Rich and Martin, with one of their dads, Alan Lee, teaching us. We were getting into just a little bit too much trouble as young teenagers and needed some direction. Windsurfing certainly gave us this, we loved it and would cycle our kit down to the beach and be out all hours.
WINDSURF.ME:- How did you progress in Windsurfing and what made you turn that into coaching?
Jem Hall:- I had a great crew to sail with, all young and super up for it, so we pushed each other hard. We also had the support of Southsea Surf Shop from Pete Newman and Trevor Leppard. Having peers to chase and learn with was great. Since I was doing a sport science degree I was already into coaching so I took my windsurfing qualifications as I wanted to pass on the joy that windsurfing gave me and still does to this date.
WINDSURF.ME:- So you became a qualified “Sports Science Coach”, what does that involve?
Jem Hall:- I have a sports science degree and qualified as a physical education teacher through a postgraduate course. I never really followed through on the teaching as I was already very much involved and loving the seasonal coaching work. The degree saw me pass modules in physiology, psychology, health, children in sport and much more. This means I know what your muscles and brain need to be doing to get you windsurfing better and faster, and also what to do outside of windsurfing to make you a better sailor.
I have also taken some training towards becoming a life coach back in 2004 which helped my windsurf coaching and personal direction immensely.
WINDSURF.ME:- Why should people come to a Guru such as yourself rather than on-site resort tuition?
Jem Hall:- Guru coaching is run by a professional whose only focus is to ensure that you improve and fast. I can call on a vast amount of experience and pinpoint any opportunity to improve and immediately act on it. I can see what challenges people are facing and often from a very long way away as some of my clients will testify too, I have an amazing eye for detail.
Your regular on-site tuition is less intense and for less time. Often they are still just progressing as coaches so are not so experienced. Perhaps, they might not be as competent at fault analysis and correction and simple demonstrations of skills. I keep it simple and get all my clients to follow sound fundamentals which they take forward and I also help people learn how to learn so they can become better self coaches and guarantee progression on their return and for the foreseeable future.
A guru also offers continuity, I have taken people from barely carve gybing, to ripping in a few years, through sweet gybes, jumping and yes, even looping. I get people improving and fast and am very passionate and focussed on this.
WINDSURF.ME:- What makes you different from other coaches?
Jem Hall:- What other coaches : - ) we are all quite different but are there to help people improve. Our personalities and styles differ but Simon, Pete and I all support the RYA and their framework of coaching. My clients would say that I am very enthusiastic and committed to getting people better and perhaps challenge people to improve more than other coaches and that I really care that my clients do improve. It is all about them and not me.
WINDSURF.ME:- What sort of level do you mainly pitch yourself?
Jem Hall:- All levels from ‘Beginner to Winner’ and of course ‘Winner to Wavesailor,’ which actually are great titles for movies perhaps… My clinics cover many levels from improved waterstarts and stance to learning to carve gybe and actually planing out of them. I also do wave courses and get lots of people doing their first loops, vulcans, spocks and all sorts of freestyle action.
WINDSURF.ME:- Of all the locations you visit on your coaching tour, which is your favourite and why?
Jem Hall:- They are all great and focussed on getting people better through their combination of suitable water states to improve on ie. Flat water and waves and the reliable winds they get. They are all unique and great on their day and have a special place in my heart – El Tur, Rhodes, Baja, Ireland, Mauritius and Brazil all go off. As windsurfers we all like a bit of variety and these resorts certainly do this and allow my clients to make their choices as to their needs.
WINDSURF.ME:- You were on the Boards test team for a long time. That must have been a busy and interesting period. You must have learnt a lot from that. Can you tell us a little about it?
Jem Hall:- Those were good days but a lot of work and not always hugely appreciated. I loved the huge work rate and the fact that we could really find out some great results from just sailing, comparison and measuring. I also had a strong bond with Ian and Gregg. I learnt that very subtle differences can make a board and sail that much better and that attention to detail is paramount. We could not believe how poor some fixtures and fittings were and it is like some boards / sails were never even tested. I use all the knowledge I gained from testing in my R AND D roles with RRD and EZZY now and am stoked to see my input making a difference and giving the end user a great product to enjoy their windsurfing with.
WINDSURF.ME:- You then gave that up to concentrate on your work with the RRD/EZZY team. Apart from promoting their products what else do you do for each other?
Jem Hall:- My role with both companies is developing fast. I offer them my services and test out the products and consult on where I think the market is going and what regular sailors need. I also work with the UK importer, SEASPRITE, and am enjoying getting round the shops and meeting all the people who make the industry in the UK tick. I also have my eyes open and ears to the ground for riders who might be the ambassadors we seek to represent RRD & EZZY. It is also very interesting now to be on the other side of fence to my previous role of boards tester, as I am now the one consulting on test results and deciding which kit we send to test and of course taking on the feedback from the respective test teams and passing it on to the international R & D teams at RRD & EZZY.
WINDSURF.ME:- After the success of Beginner to winner you are working on some more instructional DVD’s Can you tell us some more about those and any other interesting plans you have for the future?
Jem Hall:- We are just finishing off our latest movie ‘Winner to Wavesailor’ which is the sequel to ‘Beginner to Winner’ and represents the last in the ‘Feed your Soul’ trilogy of instructional DVDS. This movie covers how to get out, what to catch on the way in and how to ride it up and downwind in style, and of course what to do with all that airtime you will get on the way out, from bigger jumps to frontloops to back loops, to doubles.
I have an autobiography coming out soon …. Not really. I will take a breather on instructional products for a while after this and concentrate on my work with my sponsors and my firm commitment to my coaching clinics.
Right now I am really happy to have just got engaged to my amazing and long suffering girlfriend, Sophie Billyard, and will be enjoying all the organisation of our marriage and the big day itself.
WINDSURF.ME:- Finally, how would you describe yourself and your personality?
Jem Hall:- Well, Boardseeker Online magazine just described me as ‘Noisy, demanding, crazy perfectionist. Very passionate about all he does and has an enthusiasm for windsurfing that knows no bounds. Typical Aries,’ which is pretty on it but does not mention my quest for fun and subtle people skills. I think that my clients are more of a testament as to who or what I am.