Mantra 9. Keep a Blue Head : “Control your Attention” – All Blacks
Our Cascais Camp by the numbers:
- 15 Days
- 367.21 Miles
- 40.5 Hours
- 300 Tacks Completed
- 150 Gybes Completed
- 40 Races Completed
- 10 days in 15 – 20+ knots
- 1 Podium Finish at Cascais Championship Regatta ACT I
Our Cascais training block has just wrapped up! Within a 21 day period, we raced for 6 days and trained hard for another 9, looking to build upon the lessons learned from our Lanzarote Speed Camp. Our priority was to continue to sail in the upper wind and sea-state ranges and we succeeded in sailing 6 days in 10 – 15 knots, 4 days in 17 – 23 knots and all 15 in ocean like swell and chop! The Cascais Championship Regatta ACT I gave us another opportunity to test our progress against some of the world’s best and we came away stoked with a podium finish. Progress indeed! We pushed to revise, we pushed to iterate and we pushed to execute and a bronze medal definitely goes to show we are on our way to accomplishing our goals.
This block of training gave us the opportunity to Control our Attention. From our previous camp, we agreed that the only way to get to the level we want is to train under pressured conditions. However, being pushed on a daily basis requires much more than just physical strength. It also requires the mental fortitude to retain your awareness when mistakes happen and unwanted situations occur. Decision making under pressure is what separates some of the best teams from the poor ones and being able to maintain your focus in the heat of battle can be the difference between accomplishing your goals, or falling short. Bad decisions are not made through a lack of skill, or innate judgement: they are made because of an inability to handle pressure at the pivotal moment and that, just like speed, needs to be practiced.
So, how do you prepare for this pivotal moment? What does it mean to retain your awareness? We believe the answer lies in efficient communication.
Revise: In team sports, it is easy to think you know what your teammate is planning, or predict what they might do next. But, how do you know you were correct in anticipating their actions, if the action itself was actually a mistake, even if the outcome was desirable. You can’t … unless you ask the question. Mistakes are easy to catch, but desirable mistakes can lead to bad habits. So, when is the appropriate time to ask? That is the key to effective learning and the first step in preparing for pivotal moments in a race.
Iterate: It quickly becomes clear from post – race discussions that the volume of communication, how often and how much you speak, isn’t always correlated with desired results. Vocabulary is everything, both in the moment, and in the post – race discussion. The way in which you articulate your thoughts sets the tone for the learning environment and helps to reinforce positive change in habits and actions.
Execute: Things don’t always go the way you want them too. Difficult decisions pop-up everywhere around the race course and often the decisions are 50/50 at best. The key to retaining your awareness and executing on these pivotal moments comes down to concise communication. Saying the same thing, the same way, at the right time, leads to higher levels of focus and more decisive decision making in pressured situations.
Next Steps: After packing up our boats and equipment in Cascais, we headed home for some well deserved time off! Next up on our schedule is to return to Europe on June 5th and look to race one final regatta in Santander, Spain before most teams head to the Olympic Games and we return to the U.S. for domestic training during the summer.
We would like to give a big thank you to our U.S. squad coach, Mark Asquith, for continuing to really push us to focus on all the right things that will move us into the next level in our sailing! We would like to thank the U.S. Sailing Team for all the logistical help and support while we have been training and traveling through Europe. We would not have been able to do this without you! Thank you! We would like to thank the Cascais Yacht Club and Sebastiao Osorio de Castro for hosting us and running an excellent championship event. Finally, we would like to thank the St. Francis Sailing Foundation for your continued generous support and belief in us, our goals and dream! Thank you so much!
Stay tune for more updates and photos! both on facebook, @barrowshenkenracing, and on instagram, @hanshenken, #49erUSSkiffSquad and @us49ersquad as we continue to train in Santander, Spain!