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Youth and Collegiate Sailing Focus Story and Photos by Franny Kupersmith
Stepping Up Your Game with Fitness
here are about a million different factors that go into making awesome, unbeatable sailors. These factors include both controllable and somewhat uncontrollable variables. For instance, while the next guy on the starting line might have a magical hole and an incredible God-given talent for keeping his position on the line, you might excel at the ability to crush him upwind by keeping your boat flat solely because you’ve got a knack for woodworking and have built yourself a hiking bench… and practice on it regularly. Now while some of these talents other sailors have may seem unfair if you were not ‘born with it,’ there are some controllable factors that can instantly boost your game and make you a more competitive force on the course. The number one way to increase you skills and your level of play is through fitness. Fitness not only keeps sailors physically on top, but it also increases our mental endurance and our ability to clear our heads after an event. Like any other competitive sport, sailing is innately linked to fitness. However, unlike soccer or lacrosse, where players will constantly run or sprint and repeatedly use particular muscles during a game, in sailing, much of our sport depends on weather. Therefore, no matter the regatta or length of an event, competitors
my college coaches have always stressed the importance of fitness and our teams’ ability to compete at the highest level, talking to Legum really put it in perspective for me. Fitness isn’t just about an individual’s performance on the water, but the act of working out with a team also really helps boost morale and creates a sense of pride and power among young sailors, which can then be translated onto the race course. Ah ha! Now I get what my former college sailing coach, Adam Werblow, meant when he called me out during my senior
“It’s about the team, it’s about bonding, and it’s about getting stronger together…”
##In dinghy sailing, we must prepare for the days when it is light and shifty, where agility, balance, and acrobatic stability are crucial.
74 March 2013 SpinSheet
must always be prepared for a full range of activity and movements. In dinghy sailing, we must prepare for the days when it is light and shifty, where agility, balance, and acrobatic stability are crucial, and we must also be prepared for the breeze picking up at the end of the day, when our core, endurance, and quad power rule the races. This month, I spoke with Annapolis Sailing Fitness director, Harry Legum, about the importance of fitness in sailing performance. (I was so inspired after speaking with him that immediately following our conversation I went for a run!) While
year for missing a morning workout, due to some extensive anthropological research on human activity at the local watering hole the previous evening, to say that he would rather have me falling asleep in the plank position with my teammates at my side than not present for the 8 a.m. workout at all. It was my first and last time to ever miss morning workout again… It’s about the team, it’s about bonding, and it’s about getting stronger together and finding the balance in each other’s strengths and weaknesses to reach a higher performance level together. spinsheet.com