How many ways are there to improve your ability to race a sailing boat?
Sailing. Well duh! Yeah - you need to do a lot of sailing if you want to improve. But this could include club racing, regattas, clinics, solo practice, paired practice, practice with groups of other sailors... Is all sailing of equal value? What's most important? Is there such a thing as too much?
Physical Fitness. Maybe not so important in some classes but definitely important for Laser sailors. The harder you hike the faster you go! You need to work on endurance, upper body strength, postural and hiking muscles, leg strength... Also need to think about body weight, nutrition, hydration, stretching. And don't forget the importance of recovery and avoiding injury.
Mental Fitness. Often overlooked but more important than a lot of people think. Some issues to consider include goal-setting, concentration, commitment, confidence, focus, avoiding distractions, keeping a positive attitude, motivation. Can these things be trained? If so, what's the best way?
Learning. Reading, books, CDs, DVDs, post-race analysis, asking other sailors for advice, observation of others racing.
Equipment. Boat set-up and tuning, choice of right equipment and sailing clothing. Maybe not such a big deal for Lasers as for some boats but there are a few options and you may as well set up the boat in a way that works best for you.
I need to think of all of these factors in preparing a training plan for a major event like the Masters Worlds next year. And maybe some others. What am I missing?
Oh yeah. Have fun on the way. What else?