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  • Safety course Volvo Ocean Race

    02/10/2014 | Newcastle

    In this 'Schouten Blog' Anje-Marijcke van Boxtel (director coaching Schouten Global and coach of Team Brunel) writes, among other things, about her experiences in the talent-selection process, the training sessions on Lanzarote, her presence in the ports of the stop-overs of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015.

    Team Brunel left Lanzarote. The crossover to Alicante signed the end of an intensive and successful training period. Almost immediately after arriving in Alicante, the crew flew to Newcastle for their Safety Course. Together with Team Vestas and under the leadership of a team of instructors they were taught and executed all sorts of lifesaving skills. Bouwe asked me to join them: ‘You have to be there to really know what can happen to us.’

    Explaining first
    KlaasWiersmaIMGL6284.JPGIt was wonderful to see them all again, to hear how satisfied they were about their first crossover as an intact team. Laurent had fitted in wonderfully. This is the crew that will sail Volvo Ocean Race! Starting the course Jens tried to tempt me to join them in the pool later on, being their dummy. I remembered him telling me about former survival courses, proud of his team winning the time-challenge rescuing the dummy, ánd his instructor saying: ‘The dummy broke everything,  but you won!’ I love how even in rescuing there’s competition!

    The course started with a lot of explaining. How to use the lifejacket. What to take with you. How to get  the life raft out, which seems to be a huge challenge when you’re boat is upside down. And how to activate the small GPS. Quite complicated. You have to pull out a small orange trigger on the bottom, insert it on the other side and hold it above your head in a very specific way, or else you yourself block the signal. ‘When will you really practice this?’ (click on the link to watch the Team Brunel Safety Training film!) I discussed with Bouwe. Because grasping how things work is step one. But executing those skills in an emergency situation - when there’s stress, a pitch-black night, a rough sea – is something else. You have got to practice them in a context as close to reality as possible, to make transfer of learning as big as possible. Luckily the next day, the instructors had a lot of learning by doing in store for them.   

    Doing it Volvo’s compliment
    10009283_1456314511298206_5985563560122923610_n.jpgDay two was all about action. The life raft into the pool, jumping in and inflating their life jackets. Immediately they experienced the downsize of fastening lifejackets loosely for comfort: once blown in the water your head disappears in it and floating gets awkward. In the dark, with pouring rain, simulated high waves, the sound of howling wind and an ‘unconscious’ crew member they executed the ‘crocodillo’ perfectly and got everybody safely into the smelly raft. It looked so smooth but they all looked serious when they came out: ‘You don’t want to be in there, not even when it is in the pool.’ Only our onboard reporter - who got selected just that weekend - kept smiling, making jokes and the most wonderful movies with his Go-Pro. Difficult to get him in survival-mode. ‘We want you to survive too, Stefan! Quit filming and focus on how to do that.’

    One of Volvo Ocean Races people trained with our crew the whole day: ‘I did this course several times before, but it never went this smooth’, he said impressed. Journalist Klaas Wiersma joined the crew too: ‘Wow, how this team grew since I met them in Southampton in February’, he said ‘they’re like brothers.’ 

    Action learning
    This is all quite similar to the Schouten Global vision on learning. ‘Action learning’ is a key component in all our training projects. It is never just about insights. Changing behavior requires doing, experiencing it, fine-tuning it, in a context as real as possible. That’s where  you also run into your mental roadblocks. So you know what to work on to develop your skill- and mindset. Whether it’s about mastering physical survival skills in a pool or about behavioral/communication skills in a business environment, action learning increases the chance you can apply  those new skills in different situations enormously. 

    Acting as one
    Later that day  they did the fire drill. Saving someone out of a pitch-black smoke-filled building. I was the only one with night glasses. Seeing them move as one organism. They were instructed to keep counting aloud, checking if everybody was still present. But they didn’t need the counting. They are so tuned in on each other that they can feel where the others are almost without touching. Only the instructor didn’t know. ‘Can you count please?’ he shouted worried. This team knows how to work together, just as they did in the blindfolded team-exercises in Lanzarote. Collaboration skills and trust clearly pay off. No panic attacks, dummies rescued and all very fast. Team Brunel passed all tests with flying colors!

    Nothing from this blog may be reproduced without written permission from Anje-Marijcke van Boxtel of Schouten Global.

    Update Team Brunel, October 10, 2014 
    by Anje-Marijcke van Boxtel, Director Coaching - Schouten Global
    Coach - Team Brunel in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15


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