Top Tips: Mental State

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Stay Positive: Mentally tough riders tend to have very positive attitudes. They encounter challenges like everyone else, but when the trials come they push through. The strongest riders enjoy the challenges because they know they’ll gain mental strength conquering them. The first key to becoming mentally tough is realising that challenges will come. The second step is tackling them head-on.

Visualisation: Pre-race visualisation is as simple as closing your eyes and riding a lap in your head. The more detailed you are, the better you’ll ride. Envision getting the holeshot and completing the perfect lap. That way, if you do get the holeshot, you’ll feel like you belong at the front and won’t get tight. Also, envision getting a bad start and plan two or three different alternate lines on the track where you can make passes. Doing mental laps in your head prepares your mind and body for what it’s about to encounter. 

Stay Focused: Everybody who rides makes mistakes, especially if they are racing hard and trying to win. It’s easy to get frustrated about a crash but it’s important not to dwell on it. Getting frustrated only leads to negative thoughts and more mistakes. The best riders can forgive themselves for the mishap no matter how big or small it was – and rebound from it. There are many examples of riders in supercross who have had a big crash in practice and rebounded to win the main event that night.

Set Goals: Set goals you want to achieve and have a plan of attack for each day to accomplish them. Goals give you something to shoot for and a reason to push through resistance. Reasonable and achievable goals have a huge impact on your mental strength. When you accomplish a realistic goal, you’ll gain confidence.  

Practice Makes Perfect: Most people are not naturally confident. For example, spelling bee winners are flustered when they are asked to spell a word they don’t know but with each spelling bee they learn more words and get more confident. It takes work to gain confidence, whether it is spelling or skimming the whoops. By accurately assessing your abilities and then working to improve them, you will build confidence. 

Train Hard: It’s harder to be mentally strong if you aren’t physically strong. Whether you are 14 or 40, a novice or pro, on a great bike or a mediocre one, you will still benefit from a regimented training program. Each rider should train his body for the level of exertion he must endure. That doesn’t mean that a vet novice needs to go to the Baker Factory, but he needs to show up in as good a physical shape as possible with his busy life.  

Have Fun: You are always going to wish you had more time or money. Most rich guys are slow (except for those who got rich winning races). Some of the slowest riders at the track have the fanciest bikes. Truth is, you’ll never be fully ready. There is always someone with more time, money, resources or skills. The fun part is trying to beat that person.

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