Proper Preparation Prevents Poor PWA Performance. Part 2

Ever wondered what the top pro riders do to focus themselves before a vital heat or race? Try to compare the pressure of sailing in front of crowds, cameras, critical judges, and sponsors, with your average fun sailing session, and you’d understand the need for some specialist preparation skills. This time we asked 2004 Wave Champ Scott McKercher, and the rapidly improving Klaas Voget their techniques, where and who they learnt them from, and how they’ve helped in improving their game.


1.What you think about and do to focus, relax, or get amped-up before a race or heat?

Klaas Voget (G-4 Fanatic / NeilPryde) – 'Before a heat I try to relax as much as possible. It works best with listening to music just before the heat.’

Scott McKercher (KA-181 Starboard / Severne) –‘I try to clear my brain, and have no expectation as to the outcome of the heat…and try and become detached. For amping I use what any red-blooded Aussie would - AC/DC!’

2. What are your techniques, your mental reminders and thought processes?

Klaas – ‘I think about the moves I can do, and I imagine doing them. I also think about what move to start with and what I’m gonna do if I miss the first one. When I know what I’m going to do, especially if I miss a move, I can stay more relaxed and sail better’

Scott –‘ Just to go and don't be cautious. I try and find my own natural rhythm, and just go and find the flow and have fun with it. I also try not to take it too seriously’

3. Who taught you or influenced you in your thinking?

Klaas – ‘My own experience, plus I had some sports-psychology lessons in university’

Scott – ‘My mistakes. Buddha’

4. Tell us how that started, and how this system works for you?

Klaas – ‘I started with this last year, and it works well. I’m much more relaxed yet concentrated at the same time’

Scott – ‘15 years of doing the tour, and so many self help books I can't remember them!’

5. Did you have difficulty before you used a system to prepare, and has it made your performance better?

Klaas – ‘I used to have problems If I missed my first move. I would panic, and that made me more nervous...’

Scott – ‘Yeah. I’d get angry really easily if I messed up. I can recover much better these days after mistakes’

© PWA / Brian McDowell