The 2 S's
Over the years I've been sailing this has probably made the biggest difference to my results: focusing on the 2S's.
I think of sailing as just getting 2 things right- going fast, and going in the right direction. All these other skills you learn can make sailing seem complicated but it’s comforting to know that they can all be condensed into these two areas. I’ve nicknamed them the 2 S’s – Speed & Strategy.
This just makes it very easy to remember out on the water if you’re ever getting overwhelmed. This simplification technique can help whatever skill-level you are at. Olympic gold medallists Iain Percy & Bart Simpson had “KISS” (Keep It Simple Stupid) written on their boat which shows the importance of simplifying things; even at the top level.
Sailing is a psychological game and you’ll go a long way in improving your on the water psychology by implementing an unwavering focus on the basics. Beyond the 2 S’s there’s nothing else you can think about that will help you sail your best.
Everything else is a distraction and won’t help you win the race.
These other ‘distracting’ thoughts include thoughts like:
- “I’m better than Jack, I should be beating him”
- “I’m worse than Alison, I shouldn’t be beating her. How am I going to keep this good position?”
- “I just made a mistake, how stupid of me”
- “Bob just broke the rules and made me slow down. I hate Bob”
- “I need to do well today”
- “I can’t lose”
- “X person wants me to do well”
- “Everything’s going wrong today”
We’ve probably all thought most of these thoughts. But have they ever helped us on the race course? Probably not. They just mean our brain isn’t focusing on what really matters- the 2 S’s.
Wherever you are on the race course, whether you’re doing well or doing badly you should only be thinking about strategy and speed.
This is why Iain Percy and Bart Simpson also had this written on their boat: ‘Every second of every race’. Meaning that whether you’re doing really well or really badly, keep on concentrating on the 2 S’s. Because if you are in the lead and think no one can catch you that’s where you lose concentration and might make a mistake.
Conversely, if you’re not doing well, keep concentrating right up until you cross the finish line. Because something could always change to improve your result. So even if you think all is lost, keep on sailing as best you can. Because one day, you will get lucky and someone will capsize right before the finish line and let you past.
A good way to access whether you have good on-the-water psychology is to look back at your results- if you’re inconsistent, psychology is the most likely reason why.
So all the psychology you ever need to know is to just focus on the basics- Speed & Strategy. Everything else is a distraction.
You can find more articles on sailing here: https://dinghyracingtips.com/