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How Music can help your Sailing...
If you're a human, the chances are that you have listened to music at some point in your life, and it is likely that you have a favourite genre of music which you are inclined to listen to more than other types of music. The following technique could work with any kind of music-it just has to mean something to the individual and have some kind of connection to the music.
It's the day before my first race of my first ever nationals. A gentle 30 knot breeze brings with it a mellow 2.5m swell at Pwhelli Sailing Club, and 280 Toppers are racked up along the sand, ready to go, with hints of excitement and fear flying around. Nobody knows what to expect, other than a very important day of sailing(as it was a qualifier for the championship fleets later on in the week) where staying upright and dealing with the waves was the main priority. Few of us had ever sailed in such conditions. So as I sat on my boat waiting to launch, I had my headphones in and was listening to music.
This technique of psyching yourself up to perform well is one used by all kinds of Olympic athletes, as music has a very profound impact on how we feel or behave. For example, an archer may choose a very subtle piece which is very mellow and "meditation" like, while a sprinter is more likely to choose something explosive, as it mirrors what they about to perform. So as I sat on my boat, I chose pieces of music very carefully, with the first batch there to get me motivated, and the last few to get me into a kind of zen mode! Once you know a piece of music well enough, you can hum a little or play it out in your head in high pressure situations to clear your head and get you back "in the zone". Of course, the music used has to have an impact on you when you listen to it, so it may take time to find the right pieces, but the pieces you use will be very different to others, as they will affect you in different ways.
Using music for my sailing has certainly helped me concentrate and pull through those hard days, but it may not help you. Give it a try and you may feel wondrous results, but if not, do not fear-maybe a bit of visualisation can help you!