Feature Photo: Racing with Team Convexity in the 1st M32 Winter Series event of 2017 in Biscayne Bay, Miami, Florida. Photo Credit: Double Shot Studios
Don’t derail your ability to perform on race day.
In this blog I want to touch on some very important aspects of being a professional athlete and ensuring that your team optimally performs on race day.
Our ability to train and compete in the sport of sailing is heavily reliant on the weather. There are many times where we may not sail and are stuck on shore waiting for the better conditions. This past weekend sailing in the M32 winter series we were either faced with not enough wind during training or too much wind during our competition days, only allowing us to get in 3 races for whole weekend. This can have a big effect on the athlete’s mental state and the team’s ability to stay engaged and prepared for when the conditions allow us to sail.
Here are some very important principles that teams and athletes should ensure they have in place to enable success:
1) Getting great sleep – having great accommodations
2) Having meals and snacks that are the right quantity and quality through the day to maintain energy and mental sharpness
3) Setting intentions and goals for the day while training and/or competing, as well as having other productive tasks planned if you don’t end up sailing
4) Being a team player by always looking to help the team and other athletes
5) Keeping physically and mentally prepared for sailing
6) Keeping the attitude and atmosphere productive, light and fun
While these aspects all seem pretty simple, they are critical to creating a great environment for an athlete/team to succeed. And the teams that do well, have all of these aspects dialed.
So many times teams or athletes lack in one of the key principles above and it has a big effect on their performance. Either their accommodations are no good, and sleep is impacted. Perhaps they don’t have a great nutrition plan and don’t eat breakfast, or have limited fuel on the water. There is no plan for training, no goals set for the team. Perhaps an athlete is not mentally prepared, they are focused on other business or family. They aren’t physically prepared, limiting the teams’ ability to perform. Just one of these principles being out of alignment can significantly changed the outcome to the team’s performance.
Lifestyle (sleep, and nutrition) is a huge aspect to being an athlete, without it we deprive our ability to optimally perform mentally and physically.
Physical race-day preparation (pre-race activation and preparation, post race recovery) in these high performance classes, such as the M32, has a huge role in ensuring we can physically perform in the most challenging conditions and recover to do it day in and day out.
Mental race-day preparation (intention, attitude, and drive) allows the athlete and team to function at their highest level. Win in the mind first. First, create an intention and goal for the training or competition. Second, visualize the process and see yourself in the training, executing the maneuver, winning the race, etc. This allows the athlete to already have been through the process in their mind, increasing the likelihood of success and also creating a better perspective to see progress towards accomplishing the goal.
By adhering to these key principles during your training and competitions will allow you or your team to succeed, especially when the unexpected situation inevitably comes your way. Keep your priorities in line and you won’t derail your ability to perform.