Many racing sailors talk themselves out of first-place finishes.
They convince themselves that they have poor boat speed or they tack out of a perfectly good spot on the course and blame it on a wind shift that they thought would come.
There’s always something external, beyond their control that seems to prevent them from collecting the silverware.
The real reason that these sailors are continually disappointed is that they are not mentally prepared to win.
They know that they haven’t done all the things they must do before they can be psychologically ready to succeed so they make up excuses.
When you are mentally prepared, you automatically become a much smarter sailor.
When it comes to trying something new, don’t rush into it, think about it for a while. Evaluate whether it is a legitimate step forward, and only then implement it.
Last-minute changes to your boat or how you tackle a manoeuvre will almost guarantee that you spend time with your head in the boat. Trying to work out the new system or discussing with your teammates what went wrong will ensure that you will be losing those boats around you.
In the lead-up to a race or regatta, practice with the new setup and practice the new manoeuvre so that in the race your head is where it should be.
A vital aspect of preparation is the crew’s physical conditioning and one of the best ways to get there is to sail yourself into shape, that is time on the water.
If heaps of time in the boat is not possible, get a professional to set up a program that you can easily follow. The program needs particular emphasis on exercises that take into account the type of boat you sail and the job that you do on that boat.
Often the boat that wins is crewed by the team that can hike harder for longer, especially on the beat to the finish, or can engage in more legal kinetics than their rivals without tiring.
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