From watching many students struggle with handling boats in close quarters I have come to realise that many of those who have problems actually create the problems themselves.
It can be very daunting when presented with a difficult manoeuvre in a marina, but if instead of having a very clear picture of what you expect the boat to do, which orders you will give and when. You are thinking about hitting all the expensive boats around you and how much damage you could do, you are unlikely to be successful.
Before beginning any exercise, whether it is in a harbour or perhaps, reefing the mainsail, spend some time thinking what you wish to achieve, the correct sequence of events and what you expect to see happen. The more detail you can put in to the picture the more successful you are likely to be, try to include, any sounds, tiller and throttle movements, orders and movements of the crew. If you can include visualising the entire sequence from the view point of where you will be and from outside the boat (including the track you expect to follow) you will tend to be more successful.
When this becomes most important, is when you have had a bad experience, perhaps bumping another boat in a marina. After an experience like this, many of us keep returning to what we felt at that time, this can fix a negative image in our minds, which in itself is likely to cause a repeat of the first experience. If this has happened you need to spend some time working in simple situations until you have recovered your confidence in your success.
Most professional sports men have found that training to visualise success improves their performance when under pressure, try it, it may work for you!
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