March: Laser Midwinters West
The month of March started off in Vancouver. I have found it to be quite productive after a peak competition to take a step back from the sport to evaluate and reflect. My intention was to take a full month off from sailing after the Midwinters East, until I left for the Midwinters West, however, I couldn’t last quite that long without sailing. After about two weeks off, I was getting back out sailing at the West Vancouver Yacht Club. Coming out of the Laser Midwinters East, I knew that I had a significant challenge to overcome. I was actually quite stressed. The Midwinters East had underlined a significant weakness of mine in the areas of tactics and strategy. The stress came from the fact that I had absolutely no clue how to approach learning these skills. Some very good sailors are unable to explain what they do that makes them successful. The term “feel” seems to come up a lot. Great. I’m trying to learn how to make good decisions and I’m supposed to “feel” my way around the racecourse! In reality, it’s not quite as trivial as this, but that’s what it seemed like to me at the time. The whole basis of my Olympic campaign is that talent is not a real factor in success. I believe that if you are passionate about what you do and you are willing to give it everything you’ve got, you can achieve anything. I would have never described myself as having any natural talent for sailing. In fact, of all the sports that I played when I was younger, this is probably the only one that I didn’t have a natural head start. I’ve never considered this a disadvantage; in fact, I viewed it as a positive because it pushes me to work harder. For a couple minutes there, I started to question this whole mentality. Nonetheless, with the help of my sport psychologist, I was able to brake down this large challenge into four interrelated areas (knowledge, memory, awareness and focus/clear mind) and then start taking steps towards tackling them. This past weekend, I competed at the Laser Midwinter West at the California Yacht Club in Marina Del Rey. It was very light wind, very shifty and generally very tricky conditions. These are the types of condition that, less than a month ago, I would have gotten destroyed in. This time however, I finished 4th. It’s far from where I would like to be, but it’s progress and that’s pretty exciting.
After the Midwinters West, I drove out to Toronto with my dad to get my new boat out there for the upcoming training season. Total about 65 hours of driving, going down to LA and then over to Toronto, towing my laser behind my dad’s Honda Civic. It was pretty fun. Now I’m headed back to Vancouver for a couple weeks while we wait for it to warm up just a little more in Toronto before we can start training out there without killing ourselves. I’m going to take this time to put together my sailing schedule and fitness plan for the next 10 months (there’s only 268 days left until the ISAF Youth Worlds!!) as well as reconnect with my sport psychologist and nutritionist. I’m also quite behind with my schoolwork so I should probably try and cram some of that in there as well. If I failed grade 12 and had to redo the year, that could possibly mess with my plan to start training full time next year ;)
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