Thursday, September 07, 2006

How Many Ways?

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?

9 comments:

Pat said...

Something about improving one's perceptions of the sailing environment and awareness of body motion and its effect on the boat?

EVK4 said...

I don't know how big your Laser courses are but a good understanding of weather patterns and land's effect on wind are very important. Especially if you're heading over to a port in Lisbon that you've never been to.

AdriftAtSea said...

Improving your situational awareness and ability to perceive upcoming wind shifts is going to be key for a Laser sailor. Not so important when you're cruising, but essential when racing.

Litoralis said...

I agree with evk4...weather forecasting would be a good thing to work on. Stuart Walker's "Sailor's Wind" would be a good start. If you get really into it you could take some of the MIT OpenCourseware courses from Course 12: 12.990 Prediction and Predictability in the Atmosphere and Oceans perhaps.

RisingSlowly said...

Anybody know how to scrape old paint off a ferro-cement hull?

Ant said...

Something thatsd not, as far as I am aware, proven in sailing but certainly is for surfing and skateboarding etc is the use of a balance board in your training regime... You'll know from my blog that I recently got one (Vew-Do Balance Board) and I've been spending time on it every day.. the idea is to improve:
1. Balance
2. Core Strength (legs abs etc)
3. Coordination
4. General Fitness and Well Being

Already I get a positive rush because I'm improving on it therefore my balance is improving... get one Tillerman (don't fall of it!) and improve your mind/body control... Lasers are similar (in some ways) to Optimists, i.e. you dont just sit on your arse you heel the boat slightly to windward upwing you "kite" the boat downwind, all this takes balance if your having to think about balancing the boat (or yourself) then your not thinking about sailing fast or the windshifts... I think we all could do with some "Balance" improvements both mentally and physically..

the skip said...

Tracking progress is important as well. Benchmarking and measuring boatspeed, making tiny tweaks in sail trim, weight distrubution and position and charting overall effect to find you optimum groove and consistenly re-creating it.

Other suggestions in the comments are awesome as well. I agree particularily with weather patterns and shifts, geographical effects on the wind etc. they play a big part in tactics.

Zen said...

Take up Tai Chi from a good teacher

triman said...

This website has some good insight into performing at your peak.

As you point out, mental fitness is a huge and often overlooked. From a personal perspective, my ability to achieve goals is largely determined by why I made the goal.

If the motivation/reasons do agree with what is truly important in my life, I often fail. This is particularly true with long term goals. Normally I need several short term intermediate goals to provide reinforce and act as a check point.

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