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Champion Kiteboarder Dan Sweeney to Kickstart NKL Coaching Clinics

Champion Kiteboarder Dan Sweeney to Kickstart NKL Coaching Clinics

From modest beginnings, an 9-year-old boy got his hands on his grandfathers power kites and began flying them in strong winds on skateboards, bikes and land boards. As his fascination grew, Dan Sweeney made the natural transition to water, and so began his career as a Kiteboarder.

Dan has spent nearly half his life Kiteboarding, and it’s no surprise that the 23 year old now has an endless list of titles and a successful coaching business to his name.

We caught up with Dan who will be a familiar face at the next season of the NKL.

What has been the highlight of your Kiteboarding career so far?

There has been a lot of stand out memories and highlights so it’s pretty tough to pick just one. Having said that, I think winning the Youth Empire award in 2009 was one of the best. I was only 16 and got my first full sponsorship contract after participating in a tour of Youth development trips and coaching events. The youngster with the most potential on and off the water won, and that was that!

Can you tell us about some of your successes as a Kiteboarder?

From the first to the most recent, British Junior Finals 1st Place, Cabrinha Youth Empire Winner, British Junior Champion, British Pro Mens Champion, Australian State VIC Champ, Australian Open Mens and Youth Champion, Australian State VIC Champ, Tabuhan Island Pro 1st place, NKL Melbourne 2nd. And here I am now…

Where is your favourite place to Kiteboard?

Brazil without a doubt. The whole country is unreal. The Kiteboarding conditions are spot on with the consistent trade winds. What’s probably most unique is that you can ride the perfect lagoon flat water and with a short 50m walk you can hit the ocean with some really amazing wave locations. It’s diverse and it delivers the goods for Kiting!

What are your biggest strengths?

As a rider I would say riding and training for contests. It’s quite different to general free riding and I really enjoy the pressure and structure of trying to perfect the winning heat or repertoire for freestyle contest.

What made you get involved in coaching?

One of the most frustrating things for me as a developing rider was that I was not getting the results I wanted with the help available. So, I slowly developed a bit of a ‘self help’ process in my training. I consistently find Kiters in the same boat and now with my solid decade of experience, I found myself sharing my methods from over the years. It kind of just worked like clockwork and it’s super rewarding and I’m extremely passionate about people achieving what they want to. I’m now a fully endorsed coach by Kiteboarding Australia and the British Kitesports Association, currently the only one in Australia.

This year you will be holding coaching sessions at the NKL, what can your students expect?

The coaching seminars are fully focused on having intermediate and above Kiteboarders be as educated, well-prepared and confident as possible to enter their first competition in a fun and no-pressure environment. I’m very analytical and really enjoy looking at a rider’s performance, breaking down what may be holding them back and contributing to a higher end result.

Within the seminar I’ll be covering:

  • Competition format and judging criteria.
  • Training and effective development methods.
  • Physical preparation. (Training off the water)
  • Equipment choice and preparation.
  • Contest mindset and mental training.
  • Competition heat practice.
  • Personal feedback and future action plan.

Why is coaching beneficial to those who are starting Kiteboarding?

If you are taking it seriously and are committed to your development, having a trained professional coach can give you exceptional results. Having someone who has the ability to do what you want to achieve will give you a new realm of insights and performing methods to work with.

Can you give us an idea of what your coaching style is?

It’s focused on clarity and communication with no basic ‘how to’ template and is personal and tailored.

What are you most looking forward to about the 2016 NKL?

I’m most excited about enrolling a whole new community of riders into pushing their riding to new highs and having a great time competing in the NKL. I’m also excited to see the youngsters coming up the ranks and pushing the sport – these kids are the next generation of professional Kiteboarders and ambassadors for the sport.

If there were one piece of advice you could give to a competitor before a competition, what would it be?

The only person you are competing against is yourself. Preparation and dedication wins. Breakdown your goals and prepare for that, specifically and you’ll achieve.

For more information about Dan Sweeney Coaching, check out www.dscoaching.com.au.

For more information about the 2016-17 season of the NKL, head to www.nklseries.com

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