Fundamentals Of Sailing Performance
Sailing demands significant physical preparation to produce peak performance. The athlete needs to develop necessary mobility, stabilization strength, power/strength endurance and conditioning specific to the roles they need to play in their boat. They also need to stay healthy and injury-free so they can spend quality time training on the water where real performance gains can be made.
Frequently we are asked to provide sport-specific programming to address the above but before we ever get into the specific stuff we need to address and identify if the basic fundamental movement skills are established beforehand. There is absolutely no point in progressing to aggressive strength/power based training if adequate joint mobility, control and stabilization are not present.
On screening our ISA Optimist academy members we initially look to develop the fundamental patterns needed for proper progression. We examine their ability to Squat, Lunge, Lift, Push, Pull and twist things. If you break any sailing maneuver down to its basic skills you will see they all end up being combinations of the above so its absolutely necessary to coach and train these basic skills to a high level before any form of specialization training. Developing these skills using full range of motion and good control under skilled coaching with develop the excellent joint mobility and stabilization we are looking for.
We individualise training programmes by assessing and prescribing appropriate levels of patterns to correct noted weakness/asymmetry. Training these patterns to a high level takes reps,reps and more reps till the athlete’s brain recognizes and refines the sequencing and coordination needed to produce skilled movements that are fluid, fast and powerful. When skills progress it is then possible to build strength by adding appropriate loading to the skill either through bodyweight or external loading such as medicine balls, dumbbells or barbells.
Look to also develop strong key points where common sailing injuries occur.
We target development of:
- A very strong/endurance based torso and trunk to protect the spine.
- Excellent shoulder girdle mobility and stabilization strength to protect the shoulders.
- Mobile and powerful hips to allow trunk rotation and spare the spine.
- Strong knees and tendons in hiking boats.