As I write this the World Cup finale in Marseille seems a long time ago. Indeed next week I shall be jumping on a plane to Japan to start preparation for the 1st World Cup of the 2018/2019 season and it may be the last full World Cup series we do in this cycle because in the Olympic year the World Championship (in Victoria during February) and venue specific training in Enoshima take priority.
Aarhus actually marks the half way point of the Olympic cycle (time flies when you are having fun) and it is certainly the biggest event of the Olympic quad. I have spent the last few days going over all the videos I took on the final days and it occurs to me that doing all the simple things really well is what is important. There are so many things beyond your control but if we can take care of the important things that we have control over then we will achieve the best possible result under the circumstances.
Listening to the commentary from these events it was perhaps unsurprising to hear most of the winners said they were having fun, and yes, it is important to have fun, although it is probably easier to do so when you are winning! For me a good environment is important, and of course I would like to do the medal race at every regatta, and I certainly don’t want tears on the final night. A good working environment will ultimately be the most productive and it is easier to work hard when you are happy. This regatta our team was actually accompanied by a psychologist who even commented he was surprised to hear so much laughter in the debriefs.
Preparation is one of the most important keys to a good result. Last month I was PRO for the Radial Coaches’ regatta, a regatta which was as much as possible designed to simulate the Worlds itself. Now in hindsight if we look at the winners click here you will see 2 of the top 3 at the Coaches’ regatta were also on top of the podium at the World’s Championships. It would be remiss of me not to say many, many congratulations to Emma Plasschaert our new Radial World Champion from Belgium who was amazingly consistent during a very difficult week and probably made it far more enjoyable for Evi Van Acker (also from Belgium) to commentate!
Not every regatta goes to plan, that is life. Dorian Van Russelberghe in the Men’s RSX had a pretty disappointing 2017 Worlds by his standards and bounced straight back to win Aarhus 2018 before the medal race, as did fellow Dutchman Lilian de Geus in the Women’s RSX, who also suffered disappointment in 4th place at the Rio Olympics. Such a dominant display by these two shows what is possible. Mental toughness is key.
Jon Emmett has over 20 years of coaching experience from grass roots to Olympic Gold.