Do you treat each part of the race as a fresh challenge? Sports psychologists suggest that addressing challenges in intervals maximizes performance. Sports such as tennis and football have built-in intervals that give players frequent chances to reset. In sailing, we need to shift priorities during each leg; this is an opportunity to reset our thinking at reasonably short intervals.
In the video excerpts below, Stephanie Roble and Maggie Shea suggest dividing each leg into three parts, with different priorities in each part. Watch the videos or read the summary below.
Shifting Priorities – Three Parts of any Leg
First third: get a clean exit and make progress to next mark
In the first part, concentrate fully on a clean exit from the starting line or mark and making progress toward the next mark. Specific priorities are boat speed, clear lane, and getting on the heading that maximizes progress.
Middle: execute strategy
Next, concentrate on strategy to make gains. These might include sailing the lifted tack/headed gybe, staying in pressure, working a side, consolidating gains, and monitoring the fleet.
Last third: preserve gains and set up for next leg
As you get closer to the next mark or finish, it’s time to preserve your gains and set up for the next leg. This may involve working your way back toward the middle if you are leveraged. It also includes deciding how to approach the laylines, positioning to maintain tactical control over other boats and thinking ahead to the next leg.