Team Race Practice
Within the practice of Team Racing, the same three core skills are essential for success:
TEAM RACING PRACTICE =
-Maneuver your boat into advantageous situations.
2-Understanding of tactics & Strategy
-Do your homework / know what is going on.
-All team members must unite to accomplish the Game Plan.
Your practice sessions should be goal oriented. The obvious goal is to have your team beat the other team across the finish line. But the Team Race, short in time duration as it may be, comprises numerous situations and changing of combinations. From a learning standpoint, the entire race encompasses too many situations to recollect them all later, and make constructive criticism about each situation, if you can remember them all! Instead, repetitive practice of critical situations within the race course will produce an awareness and understanding where a team may manipulate any situation to achieve a solid winning combination. What seems to be the most effective way to manage practice time and gets the best learning results is to break the race up into its component sailing legs; the final beat, reaching/off wind legs, the first beat, and the start.
With the segmented race course theory in mind, you realize that short, repetitive drills performed on the various legs of the race course produces rapid learning for your sailors. By sailing the same leg several times, the team members can try different tactics/strategy and measure their results within the repetitive drills. As illustrated in the ‘Off Wind Legs’ section (figures 12 &13), a team with a 1/3 combo at the weather mark who finds themselves 1/4 by the reach mark consistently after a few drills quickly realizes that the 2/4 combo is gaining by taking the initiative to make the passback on the reach. This is an important lesson: the team who takes the initiative to make their passback first gains a solid combination. 1/3 —>1/2. 2/4 —>2/3. After a few of these segmented race course drills, it becomes obvious that the importance of drills is to test the ability of the team to convert their existing combination to a more solid one, or hold off the other team from doing the same. Questions begin to arise in the team member’s mind as to what combination the team should be working for, what the other team is going to try to do to us, and what moves should be executed to help the team. These questions reveal a critical point; A goal of Team Racing practice is to see potential situations where your team may capitalize and convert to a more solid combination. Further benefits of the segmented race course practice theory include: being easier for the team members to learn and remember. By being easier to learn, frustration with not understanding too many situations will also be minimized. With this in mind, maintaining the team members’ interest while at practice, will be maximized. Well spent practice time is utilized running repetitive drills to improve your 1-Boat handling, 2-Understanding of tactics and Strategy, and 3-Teamwork.
Once you have practiced several of the unstable, pivotal combinations on the final beat, you realize the strategy of obtaining one of the solid combinations is the same on the other legs of the race course. Essentially, once your team can see and understand the tactics and strategy to obtain solid combinations, it is just a matter of practicing the boat handling and execution of teamwork. Drills performed on the various legs of the course are purely building blocks to construct a winning combination that will be maintained across the finish line. Execution with confidence on the various legs of the practice race course is the basis for successful execution on the race course.