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‘I create an environment in which we expect succes,’ shares Aaron McIntosh from New Zealand with me. He is already for 7 years the coach of Dorian van Rijsselberghe who won  Gold twice under his guidance at the Olympics. ‘We do everything 1% better than the others, even bringing his board to the water.’

It sounds a bit like management talk: everything 1% better than the others. Isn’t that Kaizen? So I ask him with slight disbelief: ‘How do you bring your board 1% better to the water than your competitors?’

‘You put it on your head, tilt the bow a little so that the wind comes under it and you do the same with your sail. You will generate some lift and the board hardly weighs anything.’

Okay… He is serious about doing everything 1% better. He continues: ‘Next to that we build in routines. Sailing is so complex with the wind, the waves, the current, the environment and the other competitors that it is important to control the things you can control. So we build in routines for breakfast and wherever we can. Like that we have more space in our head for the things that are important.’

‘So it’s not superstition all these routines and going to the same bakery every morning?’

‘Nope. We do it to create space in our heads.’

‘And how about Dorian partying every evening? I was told that he goes to bed late and is socializing all night. Even at the Olympics. Yuri van Gelder was send home for less,’ I ask him.

”Yes we’ve changed our sleeping rhythm. But maybe I should tell you more about that in your book Passie voor Presteren?’

‘That’s an excellent idea! It’s a nice cliffhanger for now,’ I tell him with a smile.

‘What is your deadline?’

‘March 17, I need to bring the manuscript to the publisher.’

‘Good luck, I’ll send you some pictures. Use them for your blog!’

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