Tuesday, May 8, 2012

AR: Team Dynamics

I was in excitement when I will do three adventures during my next three months. This weekend I will do my ultralight weight two days hiking in Mount Ledang Outdoor Fitness Challenge. Early Jun and July there are Putrajaya Urban Adventure Challenge (one day race) and 7th Perak Columbia Iron Bound Challenge  (two stages race) respectively. 

As a rule of thumb you should have team mates that are both physically and mentally compatible. Physically compatible means you are have about the same physical capabilities. If you are a strong runner and a weak biker, then you will want team-mates that are similar. The results of picking team-mates that don't match your abilities is a frustration, when you want to run and your team-mate must walk. There are ways to overcome this, towing is common and there are chances to rest your team-mates, like when you are paddling. 

Mental compatibility is also important, if a person drives you crazy when you are not racing, they are only going to be worse when you are racing. It is never a good idea to push this issue and have them find out how you feel when you are in the stress of a race. Thus, there are usually lots of chances to find races that work well with you.

The Elements in AR

In June 2012
In July 2012

One of the major reasons teams don't do as well in a multi-day race as they hope is poor team dynamics. The longer your race is, the more important this intangible piece of the puzzle becomes. This doesn't mean you don't have to worry about who your teammates are in a Eco-Challenge race because certain teams blow up in that race too.

Races are physically demanding and mentally stressful. But you are never quite sure as to how someone will handle the ups and downs of a race. Physical exertion combined with sleep deprivation can cause peculiar behavior, even from people who you've known for a long time. 

The best that you could shoot for is to make sure you did your homework and everyone has a clear idea of where each teammate stands. Just having taken the time to focus on these issues will put you way ahead of the other teams and also give you a better chance of having a great race experience.

Selection criteria for your team mate: 

  • Selecting the right teammates will be the second most important factor to having a fun and successful race
  • The most important characteristics of a good teammate and adventure racer are the following: similar race goals, ability to train correctly on their own, a real team player, no attitude/ego, can handle adversity, good fitness/athletic skill base, has equipment (or is willing to spend money on it) and, most importantly, fun to be with
  • Discuss with your teammates all potential race situations (willingness to suffer, reaction to DQ, reaction to not reaching pre-race goal, dealing with a lame teammate, dealing with a screwed up race organization, etc.) to make sure you are in agreement as to how the team will deal with each
  • If possible, find an experienced racer to do your first race with
  • First place to look for potential teammates is your current circle of active buddies
  • Another good place to look is the Internet - there are many sites that have team-finder applications
  • You can also go to a race and get to know people who live in your area - most of them will always appreciate a training buddy or future teammate
  • When you find someone, commit to common goal - a race - and stay in touch
  • Train with that person as often as possible before the race; no one wants surprises
As a bottom line, there is no science as to choosing your teammates, just common sense, lots of communication and tackling the issue earlier rather than an hour before a five day race. Plus I will race with my own girlfriend!

No comments:

Post a Comment