Sailors, regardless of their respective age and skill level, are always looking for that edge over their competition and a simple investment of time setting sailing goals could lead you to a guaranteed, measurable improvement of your performance on the racecourse.
Many of us don’t set goals for our sailing because this is our recreation time and setting goals makes it like a work project. I have found that setting definitive goals for sailing means you are more likely to end up sailing more and as a bonus sail better in races which means you are having more fun.
Athletes know that goal setting is essential for making consistent progress in their athletic performance, because goals provide direction. The primary reason for goal setting is to provide the motivation and commitment to improve one’s personal sailing performance. A goal serves to remind you where you are going and how you plan to get there.
Once you have set the goal, and you are serious about it, then the next step is to plot out steps to get there.
One of the first things to do before the start of each year is to get a calendar and set up a schedule around sailing. By doing this you will certainly get out on the water more often and your crew will be able to plan their year as well, it is important to share this with training partners and other competitors in your fleet so that you can all work together to build on your improvement.
Don’t be shy to pencil in some training time, regattas that you want to attend and of course some not so serious sailing with friends and family. If you are working up to a state, national or world championship, when filling out the calendar make sure you consider time constraints and other responsibilities, such as school, work and family.
You must be realistic as well, there is no point scheduling regattas and times to go sailing that there is little chance of you or your crew being available, doing this is a great way to set yourself up for a fall. When you are not able to sail at many of the times that you marked in your calendar, you will get to the event thinking that because you didn’t do everything you had planned, that you are underprepared so you will already be defeated.
Another goal of the calendar should be to not only include sailing times and events you are intending to compete in but scheduled maintenance and fitness and gym times as well.
If you enjoy being competitive then you should always try to shoot for the next higher rung on the ladder but if you are not a serious racer and simply enjoy getting out there and having fun with friends, that’s fine as well and is probably what the majority of people should be shooting for anyway.
The process of determining the steps to reach your goal will define how easily that goal can be achieved but l if you are not honest in plotting the steps, this business of goal setting might not be for you.