Time to work hard.
After you have set your goals and made a plan how to reach them in a certain timeframe you face the hardest stage – Race Preperation. In this stage you need to work hard to close the gap between your current performance and your target performance. You have already analyzed the areas you want to improve. Now it’s time to raise your game. Stick to your training plan, make small adjustments on the way when you realize that your progress is faster in some areas and slower in others. Do not lose track, stay motivated, hang on. If it were easy everybody would do it.
Areas to improve
In Phase 1: Goal Setting you have already identified areas to improve. Now it is important to go into detail and take action. Your target competition is normally already set by a date. Calculate from there how much training time you have to bring in to certain areas you want to improve. Also think about mini-goals in between to test your training progress. Neglect the result in these training events and focus on the areas you are working on. Some things you can only test during a competion, i.e. big fleet starts.
Have a training diary
A very useful thing to have is a training diary. Write down everything you learn. This gives you transparency about what you trained and how much. Often I had the feeling that I put in enough effort in certain Areas but at the end I am disappointed by my own Performance. When I look into my training diary to check how much effort I have really put into I often find out that I have trained a lot in the areas where I am really good at already (of course this is the most fun) and not so much in the areas that actually need the improvement. Normally it gets quite clear why I underperformed in certain areas.
Use your time meaningful
It is important to know what to train before you launch your boat. As soon as you are on the water it is hard to make a plan – especially when you are out there with others. Talk before about your training goals and how you organize yourself on the water.
Here an example for a 2-hour-training session:
- 15 min: Warm-Up: everybody sails around on his own and practices some tacks and jibes. Try not to seperate too far from each other as it costs time to come back together.
- 30 min: 3-minutes-start in a small group. 1-2 minutes after the start everyone returns to the starting line. Make sure you have identified one person who is announcing the starting time.
- 45 min: sailing short races: 2-minute-start, then one triangle/sausage with a downwind finish, so that everybody is ready to go again asap.
- 30 min: Speed testing: do this in pairs or at least not more than three boats as it will be very difficult to line up. Change Groups.
Back ashore have a short debriefing. It really helps to share your experiences with others and have different views on how you are doing and how you are able to further improve.
Involve family and friends
Talk to your family and friends about your race preperation. They need to know why you might have less time for them during your preperation. They should not think that you don’t like them anymore because you are on the water all the time. Explain them that it is just temporary. It is important that you find an agreement so that you are mentally free during your preperation and of course your target competition. They can also be your support. Talk to them about your fears and goals. They will help you being more confident as they love you and really want you to succeed.