Thursday, June 01, 2006

On the Value of Physical Conditioning

The June 2006 issue of Sailing World has a superb article by Stuart Streuli on how coach Scott Ikle transformed the college sailing team at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in upstate New York into a national sailing power. According to Sailing World, "Ikle turned a former club team known more for its social prowess than its regatta results into one of the toughest, if not the toughest in the country." Last year the team won the national intercollegiate coed dinghy and team-racing championships in Austin, Texas.

The article describes how Scott emphasizes the importance of goal-setting, planning, mental preparation, mandatory physical workouts, structured practice - and a policy of abstention from alcohol during weekend regattas. Yikes - this program really is serious.

But the quote I liked best was Coach Ikle's thoughts on the value of physical conditioning ...
I see it as positive self-esteem; if you work hard you feel good about yourself. A lot of sailing is mental. If you feel good about yourself and you feel prepared, there is a good chance you can do well.
Do you agree? Is physical fitness important for the sailing that you do?

OK - I'm off to have a run and then lift some weights.


Litoralis said...

In my years of college sailing I saw that a good coach can make all the difference. It's easy to recruit junior champions, practice them against each other, and then have them show up to win regattas (Tufts, Harvard, etc). However, it is possible to take less experienced sailors (or even non-sailors) and turn them into good sailors at the college level with some actual coaching. While I was in college, Fran Charles and Kyle Welch coached a non-sailor into an All-American skipper.

joe "drink some more" rouse said...

Absolutely! Now let me lift that glass of beer.

Fuff said...

Yes it is. Avoiding the spilling of one's drink is physically and mentally challenging.

Dirk the Feeble said...

I don't know why, but the phrase "National Sailing Power" had my rolling out of my chair laughing.

Zen said...

This got me to thinking, I wrote quite a bit on my thoughts about this. However not to hug up your bandwith (sp) I will post it soon at Zensekai. Meanwhile, I think it is very important as do others.

A kind man I know on-line, who I call Bill Sensei told me in order to get in shape for his solo sail on an I-29 (sister to s/v Zen) to Hawaii solo, he swam everyday. He understood the importance of being fulling on your JOB when sailing, even though you think of it as relaxing. I believe it is more so when racing.

Tim said...

Sailing a dinghy is an all-round fitness sport and the best way to prepare for it, is to do it.

Fitness training without passion is like eating cardboard. Personnally I cannot see how anyone can get passionate about lifting weights or any of the other gymn things.

Nothing beats the mental, spiritual, emotional and physical stimulation of racing a sailing dinghy.

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