how to win a contest
Something reminded me of this thread post I did a while back so I dug it up.
The road to winning a contest will start months before the day of the event. You must be able to find lift on every flight. You must be ready to catch and relaunch in less than 2 seconds every time. You must be ready (confident) to fly in a crowded space standing on a crowded field. You must be ready to fly in all conditions from wind to rain to big ole puffy clouds and blue sky. These things take practice and not just flying around with your buddies but practicing with intent. Start your flying sessions with a warm up of 20 launches. Then try to string along 10 perfect tip catches. From there work on the basic skills needed for any task. Read the air and get an idea where the lift is before you launch. Fly directly to that spot and sniff it out. When you find lift make a few climbing circles and bring it home for a tip catch and relight right back into it. Do this over and over until that thermal is to far to catch again. Get comfortable chasing that lift way downwind, you know it is there so go for it. When that thermal is gone donít just start launching and looking. Treat each flight like an all up last down task. Stand there and read the conditions first and then launch to the lift. When broken down to the very basics this game is the same for any task. Launch, find lift and land on time. Focus on those basics every time you fly.
If reading lift still seems like voodoo to you try this to help make sense of it all. Next time you encounter lift quickly land your airplane and take a look around. What do you feel, see and hear? Now launch back into it.
Physical fitness will eventually come into play as you get closer to the end of the event. During a 2 day contest you will put up at least 100 launches and if you arrive on Friday that could be much higher. Stay in shape in the off season with aerobic exercise and stretching a couple of times a week. During the contest season launch launch launch!
The day of the event
Winning a contest is a 2 step process. The first obstacle is to get into the flyoffs. The tactics employed to do this may be quite different from those used to win the flyoffs. It is wise to be a bit conservative and fly closer to the field during the preliminary rounds. You should have a plan before every launch even if that means holding for a couple of seconds. The goal here is to be consistent. At the IHLGF this year it only took an average of 921 points per round to make it into the flyoffs in 10th place. In the finals the game changes from conservative to calculated risk taker. It will take aggressive flying to get the most out of every flight. Transitions will come into play so you better be ready for tip catches on every flight. Do not underestimate the importance of a great timer. When you start to treat it like a team event you will have a big advantage.
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