Whilst I appear to be getting better, I am still getting thrashed by the likes of Chris Harris, Peter Stollery, Colin Goodman, Craig Richards etc.
These sailors have the ability to escape the other boats and sail away to easy victories. They have this uncanny ability to seek out shifts that take them into race winning positions. Occasionally I can win a race by a good margin but mainly get stuck in the pack. I am a tad slow by a couple of feet off the start line and do not have the freedom of thinking upwind to take logical risks, e.g. when on a lift on the wrong side of the course and needing to tack, hang on until the wind shifts in my favour. In shifty weather I could never get in phase with the shifts because I sailed in a rather mechanical way, and the worse I got the higher my stress levels.
I experienced a little piece of magic and have changed is the way I think about goal setting. There is a podcast called "Don't tell me the score" by Simon Mundie (BBC Sounds) where he interviews, top sportsman, coaches, sports psychologists and venturers looking to see how sport can be a metaphor for life. There was one interview with a sports psychologist named Helen Davis which changed the way I think about approaching events.
She talked about how changing one or a few words in you goals can have an impact on your performance and gave examples of how she had helped triathletes. I can give an example from my life which demonstrates her point
When I go to a sailing event, I thought I should win and would beat myself up mentally if I did not and the resulting increased stress levels in ensuing races made me focus on other boats and personalities rather than, the wind and boat position. Some said I was just over thinking and they were right. I changed my goal to say I would like to finish in the top ten of a ranking event, and top 5 in an open meeting. If I get everything together I know I can win but as long as I finish in the top 10 I am happy. The other thing Helen said is you have to have belief in your own abilities and your decision making.
The other point made was that achieving a goal is a journey and if you are not enjoying the journey there is something wrong. I was enjoying the journey but was not very happy with my progress.
So with these changes in thinking on board which were initially tested a Huntingdon and Poole, I was off to the Lincoln IOM ranking event and you can see how I did in the next post.
I am looking to be in a state on shore-side, where I am comfortable, relaxed, happy with the boat setup and ready to respond to whatever was thrown at me. I am ready to accept that the wind may swing against me but if it does there will always be an opportunity to make up the lost places. The other change I wanted to make is that I would chill out between races to keep energy levels higher at the end of the day.