Where to from here for Emirates Team New Zealand after a "coulda, shoulda, woulda" loss to Oracle in the final race of the Louis Vuitton qualifying series?

First rule: Don't get distracted by Jimmy Spithill, defender Oracle's provocative skipper.

Spithill is sailing's finest when it comes to distracting opponents. His post-race comments were a masterclass, mainly.

The enemies of great performance are distraction and self-doubt. This is what Spithill is trying to create. He highlighted Team NZ errors, even though this was hardly a revelation. He dissed Team NZ's on-board communication and their decision to do without a dedicated tactician.


Finally, he played a beauty at the end of the press conference, claiming there was a leak from inside Team NZ. This part was amateurish. If he really had a mole, there is no way he would announce this to the world.

Stand by, because he will keep fertilising this seed with more manure. This is the America's Cup, where off-the-water drama and mind games are common. Perhaps that is part of its attraction. In the end though, it is just a yacht race. Winning yacht races is what the outstanding sailors on board Aotearoa are best at and their focus will remain on that.

When great teams get tested and the pressure comes on, it can either come together or come apart. Team NZ will come together. They will learn from the losses to Oracle.

It is easy for us "armchair admirals" to make good decisions from the couch, much harder to always do it in real time. That said, this is what high performance sport is about.

To win at the top level you must get more key decisions right than Team NZ did yesterday.

• Mark Orams, the Sailing Professor, is the head of AUT's School of Sport and Recreation.