The Role of Team Leader

When a team is travelling abroad to participate in an event, they will be supported by a Team Coach and a Team Leader.

The Coaches responsibility is to assist the team in all elements of sailing at the event. This may include assisting with charter boats, managing a rib, coaching, goal-setting and reviewing performance with the sailors, and monitoring performance, nutrition and safety on the water.

The Team Leader takes charge of the sailors off the water. They ensure that the sailors eat well, are hydrated, have enough sleep. At some events the Team Leader may be responsible for food preparation at the event. They will verify that sailors have enough to wear, use suncream. They are the communication channel for parents and between parents and the Team Coach.

Appointment of the Team Leader is the responsibility of the organiser of the event. Appointment of Team Leader for the ISA Squad is carried out by the ISA, and for IODAI teams by the Team Organiser of IODAI.

It is recommended and advisable that the Team Leader is not a parent of one of the group as this is considered to give an unfair advantage, either to the child of the Team Leader, or to the other children in the group. However, where no non-parent volunteer is forthcoming, then a decision may be taken to look for a volunteer from the parents of the team. Should this be the case, all parents will be given the opportunity to volunteer.

Since the Team Leader is not a parent of a child on a team, Team Leaders cannot be appointed until after the Teams are selected at the end of Trials, unless the Team Leader is not a parent of a child participating in Trials. Therefore, while teams are informed who their coach will be when they accept a team place, the Team Leader will generally be announced some time later.

It is recommended that the Team Leader is Garda vetted and has experience of working with groups of children.

In line with Sports Council guidelines, mixed gender teams should be accompanied by mixed gender support teams. This means that the Team Coach and Team Leader should not be of the same gender.

IODAI welcomes interest from individuals interested in supporting teams as Team Leaders. Please send expressions of interest to

The Team Leader is a purely voluntary position. They do not get paid.


The following is a statement from the ISA in relation to the ISA Optimist Squad annual participation in the Trofeo Ciutat de Palma event:

“The ISA Optimist Squad, Support and interaction.

Prior to the ISA squad traveling to Palma It has been decided to clarify what is expected of the Parents who plan to attend this event and other events the team travel to in the future

The coaches have received feedback from some parents that the ISA’s position seems to be to push away the parents as much as possible.  This is not our intention or our philosophy.  Our philosophy is to devolop a feeling of a united team, using shared experience, interaction between the sailors and co-operation to create an enjoyable atmosphere where the young sailors can learn about their sport and grow.

It is our belief that stability and consistency in the coaching staff and shore team  benefits the team greatest as a whole and in turn the individuals on the team. This is the reason why we have the position of team mums to provide support ashore and coaches to educate in the matters of sailing, also ensuring a safe environment for the sailors.

After consulting with the coaches and the team mums a few a few guidelines have been decided upon by the high performance department.

We do not promote and strongly advise against any parents staying in the team hotel in Palma except for the officially appointed shore team.

We encourage parents to meet their child at the sailing club prior to launching and to wish them luck. But strongly discourage lots of help rigging and staying around very close to the boats as the sailors are getting ready. We want them to take responsibility for their own rig and equipment.

The sailors have been taught to help each other out on the slip concerning the queing process and trolly handling at the base of the ramp. We would like to see this continue and let the sailors deal with their own boats.

Sometimes, particularly in Palma, overzealous parents from other countries attempt to block the way for others on the approach to the slip. The coaches watch closely for this to ensure the rights of our own sailors is upheld.

After sailing we would like the sailors to take their boats out themselves, and for them to be left alone so as the coaches can talk over any individual situations on the water with each sailor. When they have nearly de-rigged then is a great time for the parents greet their sailors and find out how their day went.  This was something the sailors themselves identified as a good system that they would be happy with.

It is the intention of the team to dine out together each evening in Palma. We would like again to keep this confined to official team staff and the sailors.

If parents have concerns in particuliar about their child then the shore team and coaches are on hand to help out with whatever the concern may be. A solution can always be found.

These guidelines are in no way designed to keep parents at a distance, and the ISA appologise if they appear to do this.  They are however designed to maximise the learning for the sailors and make their experience positive and enjoyable. These practices also simplify aspects of the trip for some of the younger sailors and ensure that the understanding is the same for each team member.”


Our Sponsors


Annual Membership


Annual Membership for 2021 is now open at €60 per sailor.  Click account page to join or renew.

Archive Posts