Following the series of recent distributor interviews and team articles seen on Point-7.com, we are now following up with a series of interviews with team Black Team who are currently situated in Tenerife for their winter training and team building.
The first interview will be with Team Captain Andrea Cucchi, who is also organizing the camp for all the athletes.
Hi Andrea, It’s been one week that you have the whole team have been training together in Tenerife. We’ve here from the head office and have been seeing a lot of photos on the internet and I think it’s about time that we get a little of our curiosity satisfied.
How has this first week been for you as Team Captain, but also the organizer of the ‘Team training’?
It was a lot of work and still is. Imagine that we are having a full PWA set up out on the water with a Boat, jibing marks and our trainer. All of this, but without the PWA crew!
So to have this set up running efficiently isn’t easy. Just to store the big marks, the boat…. organizing who has to pump up the marks with air, who brings the marks out to water as the boat can’t get to the beach, it isn’t simple! It’s all managed by the riders and the trainer, so to divide the roles, understand how to be efficient in each training day is proving not to be a simple task. We have held long meetings to organize ourselves better. The guys are doing an excellent job, as the training on the water runs smooth as at a top level event.
The water is quite deep so to anchor the marks does take a bit of skill. Everyone has their own responsibility and now the riders need to work together as a team. Each rider needs to find his place in the team and make the schedule work for him. It’s hard for everyone, but we all agree that this training is a lot more rewarding than anything else, so everyone are happy and willing to help and change their habitudes.
Till now we had 3 full days, and nothing went wrong, but to keep it like this, it would take too much energy. So I had a 5h meeting with the trainer, followed by a 3h meeting with the riders to find solutions to make everything run smoother with no frustrations.
Are the riders enjoying the set-up?
Being used to be a wild windsurfer and now having to fit to hourly plans is not simple. We are though open to listen to the riders during the meetings, because even if it is work, it still needs to have a positive feeling to do this. After the first day of training all the guys were excited. For now we only meet 3 times a week for team training, and the rest of the week they can use for tuning their gear. We had to discuss the frustrations with each member, and I’m sure there will be more. Each one of us involved in this project understands the difficulties ahead, but we are sure we are on the right track. We were late this year with the on-land fitness training to get everyone involved, but we will start anyhow with Maciek, Adam and Pascal. The others had already their training schedule so they will continue with their own for this season.
How are the guys coming together with the ‘Team’ thing or should I say spirit, as it is previous unheard of within the Windsurfing World?
It’s still too early to say, but this is the future if we want the younger riders to have a chance of obtaining good results. The riders are getting a lot of routine in actual racing conditions. The training builds discipline and the motivation is higher. It already brought very positive signs to development, and maybe something are going even too fast, that it’s hard to follow up!
How competitive are the guys out on the water?
They are world class riders, so they are extremely competitive. None of them is using their very best racing kit. They are saving their good fins for the events. So they all know that they can be faster. We are focusing on getting the starts perfect, improving gybing techniques. For the very first start, everyone was super nervous. We had a lot of over-earlies, so we decided to put ‘fun’ punishment to the person who would do the most over-earlies in one day!
How have the conditions been so far?
The typical NE winds haven’t really been so constant these last 2 weeks, but it was windy everyday from all directions and we took advantage of the wind when it was there. We are able to be on the water every day, so that is still all good.
Who is currently there on the island taking part in the training?
From our own team we have Maciek Rutkowski, Alberto Menegatti, Pascal Toselli, Jani Paju, Greta Benvenuti and I for the slalom. From the wave team we have Adam Lewis and Martin Ten Hoeve here on the island. We have a lot of other riders from other brands who have also joined our water training. It’s nice to have them here as well. Give stronger motivation to our team.
What will be your main focus for the next couple of weeks for the Team?
To build discipline. Get the riders to be as focused on the training, as if they would be racing at an event. Building up their confidence in what they are doing. Keep the focus on each thing needed during their racing. Lastly I also want them to bond as a team to support each other and stand strong. Everything is going the right direction. It’s still a delicate time, as the work load is very different to a rider’s normal individual winter training, and I really feel I need to spend a lot of time with them to make sure that the positive karma is maintained.
Andrea, all I can say is that it looks awesome, and we back in the office are well jealous of all the fun it look like you guys are having!!
Keep up the hard work and be sure we’re looking forward to follow your progress with the team!
Quick question after first day of training: On the water from 11am to 5pm with 40 min break, how was this first day?
Maciek Rutkowski | POL-23
Felt like finally something we’ve been missing all these years. Every start, every jibe I felt like I was improving both my tactical skills, but also andmore and more feeling on how the gear reacts to different racing situations. It’s not only P7 and Mark, it’s also the world-class sailors that we raced against today all day, so in terms of training it doesnt get much better than that. I’m sore and dead haha! We did probably 5 hours of non-stop starts (anybody counting? my guess would be around 30-40??). I’m not only ready – I can’t wait to smoke down that first reach with 8 guys (hopefully) breathing in your neck on the egde of control!! maybe more importantly at this stage.
Greta Benvenuti | ITA-38
I’m really excited about today…was so amazing how I felt the stress like in a real competition, especially in the first start! I think everyone started over early, but after this mistake I kept the concentration and I tried to do my best possible, also because I was the only girl in the heat and I didn’t like to be last! I wasn’t the whole the day on the water like the guys, after around 15 starts I was dead. I was really cold and I needed to recover my body, drink water and eat! Hard work, but best training ever!
Alberto Menegatti | ITA-4
Super usefull!! Definitely the training I was missing out in the past years! Have the speed, now lets get the starts!