ORCV Safety and Training

Performance Profile.

This is our fifth piece from Andrew Verdon, the Australian Sailing Team (AIS Squad) fitness coordinator. If you're keen to improve, here's a great way to find out what it is you need to work on and the best way to get a result. 

So, another season has passed and a new one is about to begin. You are determined to move up the results table next year at major regattas. What’s the best way to identify what and where you need to spend your time and effort, in order to find the improvement you seek?


Does not matter if you're talking One Design, Div2 or Offshore - Andrew's ideas can help you. Pic courtesy of and © to Teri Dodds.

Performance profiling is a process that assesses the particular skills a competitor deems important to success in their sport and is derived from a well-known 1992 research study by Butler and Hardy. It can be used to identify goals as a focus for self-improvement. As the person involved in the goal setting process, it makes it self-determining, due to their perspective as the central focus, as opposed to a third person or outside party setting the goals. It can be done by a single person (e.g. the bowman wants to improve his skill in reading pressure lines and shifts in light air) or as a whole crew (e.g. heavy air gybe drops)

Why is it used?

  1. To develop strategies
  2. To increase motivation
  3. To monitor changes (improvements) over time

There are three steps in the performance profile process: -

Step One - Explanation

This initial step determines the characteristics that someone determines are important to success in their sport/class or a skill within that sport/class.

Step Two - Development

Here, a list of qualities, skills and characteristics are developed that the person believes are necessary for good performance. The person writes down as many qualities as they can come up with (there’s no limit to how many) and should cover all aspects of performance including:

From this exhaustive list, the top ten are selected that are deemed by the competitor to be the most important.

Step Three - Self-rating

The final step is to have the person rate their ability levels for each factor on a scale from one to ten. A chart is then constructed. This graph gives people clear indications of their strengths and weaknesses on the factors they have deemed important.

The positive aspect of this procedure is that the athletes themselves determine the characteristics that are important and what they are lacking in. It can be used as an assessment procedure, as well as an aid to goal setting, a way of monitoring progress and a tool for establishing good communication within team/crews.

After the person has identified the areas that need improving, they then need to put the steps into practise, by learning the necessary skills and techniques to improve them.

I have found this can be a valuable process. As Butler and Hardy identified, there are several benefits from this performance profile that include:

For example, let’s look at an example of a Weekend club sailor (any position on the boat), who sails in a quality fleet and wants to get on the podium. He/she has noticed last season that they get tired in long races, their back gets sore and the crew weight is always a little above the ideal. The athlete in question sails well at club level on their regular Saturday waterway, due to local knowledge, and wants to improve for State and National Championships or do better offshore.

The Top 10 factors he/she identified for success in his/her class, in no particular order, were:

  1. Concentration over full days sailing in regattas
  2. Determination/persistence
  3. Calmness
  4. Starting ability
  5. Fitness
  6. First beat strategy
  7. Correct body weight
  8. Hiking
  9. Upwind speed
  10. Weather knowledge

As a table here’s how his/her results would look:




















































Starting ability


























First beat strategy













Right body weight













Upwind speed


























Weather knowledge














He/she scored themself with four ‘Seven’s or better. So, their focus on what to work on should therefore be the items in which they gave themselves a six or less. Investing some time, effort and money into these areas will give a larger ‘return on investment’, than the other factors.

It needs to be stressed there are no right or wrong answers, a just an honest appraisal of your current feelings. This will help make the process more productive and effective for you.


Text by Andrew Verdon

Dip. Ex Sci

Grad Dip App Sci

Cert IV Fitness

Level One Strength Coach-ASCA


Mobile  0419 690 121

Email 1 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

PO Box 1552 Neutral Bay NSW 2089 Australia

Fax: 61 2 9908 4211

Skype andrew.verdon

Suite 3 Rear 19 Young St Neutral Bay NSW 2089 Australia

Entry via: 1 Cooper Lane


Andrew is currently completing his Masters Degree in exercise and has been the Australian Sailing Team (AIS Squad) fitness coordinator since 2003, including the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Sailing Teams. Should you have any questions? Feel free to contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and if you're in Sydney, make an appointment to see him in person.

If you liked this, you can also Andrew's first piece - How fit are you for sailing? There is also Andrew's second piece for you, too - The physical demands of offshore sailing and then the third, - All about hiking. The fourth was Health for Masters.

ORCV Land also extends on to the ORCV Facebook page, so make sure you go and "Like" the page, now. 189 Souls already have and thank you to all of them.


© John Curnow, ORCV Media

Please contact me for re-issue rights.










Osaka-LOGO Vanuatu ORCV_WS2011-0038_Div1Start