Race Day Preparation – Athlete

You may have practiced, seen or heard of these race day preparations before, however how many coaches and athletes follow all of these simple race preparations at every competition.

Allow yourself time to go through your race day checklist in your own mind or with your coach so you can give yourself the best possible chance of achieving your best result on the day.

It may be as simple as getting your gear and food prepared the day or evening before or making sure you rise out of bed 30 minutes earlier than you have in the past to be on the beach preparing your race day check list.

Before leaving Home

  • Towels, warm clothing, sunscreen, hat.
  • Check competition equipment is good and you have everything you need to maintain equipment (competition cap, wax, bungs, paddles, tape, marking pen).
  • Ensure you have adequate food and water for the day.
  • Check the weather predictions for the day (s).
  • Download the day’s competition program and possible time table.

At the Carnival

The coach and the athlete have many tasks to perform and be responsible for on race day if they are to be successful, some of these are listed below as a guide.

The Athlete

  • Mark off your name at the carnival if required.
  • Warm up and cool down as per the coach’s instructions.
  • Investigate the course – checking list
    • Depth and conditions of the start.
    • Cross shore currents.
    • The position of rips, banks and holes.
    • Which way the wind and chop will take you both on the way out and on the way back in?
    • Observe markers on course e.g. swimming cans
    • Layout of the course and colour of turning cans in your arena.
    • Landmarks to aim for on the way in.
    • The best finishing area.
    • The position of the finishing area.
  • Be aware of the any changes to your timetable of events.
  • Avoid long periods in the sun or cold where possible.
  • Keep warm or cool.
  • Practice your psychological skills e.g. relaxation, imagery positive thinking and maintain motivation.
  • Let you coach, group manager or teammates know your location at all times.
  • Be responsible for your gear e.g. keep your cap with you, leave your craft in the area where it is supposed to be and you know where it is.
  • Don’t leave waxed surfaces exposed to the hot sun.
  • Keep up your fluids and food during the day.
  • Be courteous and respectful to officials and other competitors.

The Coach and the Athlete

  • Decide which events the athlete competes in.
  • Watch other races in the arena.
  • Discuss and decide on possible race tactics such as the following checklist.
    • Method of starting.
    • Getting through the break such as changing direction, paddling or porpoising.
    • Which way to aim on the way out considering wind and currents.
    • Which competitor’s wash might be good to get.
    • When to sprint, when to conserve energy, or wash ride.
    • Which way to go on the way in e.g. chase the runs, when to cut back towards the finishing area or go to where the waves are breaking
    • What to do at the finish e.g. if you lose your craft, if you are pushed outside the finishing flags, if you win the race.
  • Discuss what was done well in the race and how to improve.

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From my first stroke all those years ago to the moment I achieved a lifelong dream in Egypt
Rick Duncan has been there every step of the way.

Dan Humble
World surf ski champion