At the Helm: Games Dry Run

Good morning sports fans…

It’s an early Saturday morning here at Camp Billingham (Team USA headquarters here in Weymouth) and it’s a little cool and overcast. Classic English summer weather. I’m sitting in the second floor loft of our space along with USA Team Sperry meteorologist Doug Charko, and it’s pretty quiet here right now. But not for long…

I speak and write all the time about how everything we do in the Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Program all leads up to one thing: a great performance at the Games. Everything is prelude to that event. And the Sail for Gold regatta (which starts on Monday) is our last big tuneup before the Games. So, our sailors are in final prep mode. But so is our staff. There is always lots of support at the Games, more than the usual regatta. And that is both a good thing and (if not handled correctly) a potentially bad thing.

Lots of people around the team can be a great thing. More hands and more expertise can mean that the team is well supported and all the sailors have to do is sail. If that reality can be created, that’s fantastic. But more bodies does not automatically translate into a mature, professional, tranquil team environment. The more people around the team, the more organized the staff has to be. That’s a big part of my job.

In any organization, roles and responsibilities are important. People need to know what their role is, what they are responsible for. People need to be able to first take care of their own work, without straying too far and stepping into someone else’s space. When there is clarity on the staff side, when the staff is well aligned, a calm environment becomes possible.

That’s what we are trying to create with this team: a well organized staff, providing lots of support in a calm, professional, mature way.

That effort has been underway for the last several years, as we look at the people we might bring to the Games. Choices were made. The people you bring into your circle are the ingredients for the meal you are trying to concoct. And then once you have your ingredients, you work hard to cook the meal in the most appealing way possible. This event is our last, and best, practice run for the meal that will come later this summer.

I’ll write more about this topic in a future post. But it’s important for fans of the Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Teams to know a bit about the effort that goes into the shore side aspects of a good Games performance.

The Olympic Games begin in 55 days and the Paralympic Games in 88 days. Every day counts.

We hope you’ll keep following along.

Sail fast,

Dean Brenner

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