I don’t have a sports psychologist, but I wish I did. However, I do have a dad who has a masters in psychology and a boss at work who is a life coach, and strengths coach. I’ve also taken the Sports Psychology class from Craig Manning at BYU. What goes on in the mind during high performance is one of my biggest fascinations.
What is common among the greats? The one’s who have gone down as legends? What was going through their mind?
Although there isn’t one way to success, there are many mental techniques that can be extremely helpful to performing well.
I recently came across this entry from a High School Race in 2017:
felt pretty good at this race. Not the best start due to an inadequate warm up. (it was only about 10 minutes, I need closer to 20). Due to my bad start I didn’t even have a chance to try to hang on with Truman and Seth. I got onto the single track in about 8-9 ish. I slowly worked my way up until I came through on the first lap in 4th! Its much better to move up through a race rather then dropping back. When you start back it is almost impossible to come back mentally. That is what happened to me at Pow Mow. When I came through on the first lap I wasn’t far off Brendan Vick. I slowly caught up to him by about halfway up the climb in the middle of the single track. I passed him. Right when I passed him I started to feel some side cramps so I laid off the pace for a bit until it calmed down. I could hear Brendan breathing hard behind me so I put the pedal down and dropped him. But not by a comfortable distance by no means. I then did my best on the DH to be fast and safe. I ended up taking 3rd! Which is a huge improvement from 12th at Pow Mow! I was really happy with it but I still have a goal of winning at least one varsity race this year! I just need to go out hard and stay with Seth and Truman and hold on! No matter how bad it hurts! Because its going to be hurting them just as bad!! I took third by 4 seconds! with 5th only being another 4 seconds behind! I would like to move a little closer to Truman and Seth and a little further from Brendan and 5th.
Some things that went well outside of racing.
-I ate a good breakfast of lots of waffles. (about 10-12!)
-I slept okay outside. I was plenty warm but was up for a fair bit in the night due to some lights, sound, and people. This can be prevented for Kamas by sleeping in my own bed. And at Moab and State by sleeping in a hotel.
-I had good positive vibes almost all of Friday and Saturday despite some negative moments, it was almost all positive which helps more then I would have ever thought mentally. (So much of Mountain Biking is Mental!)
-I got a good pre-ride where I went probably 3/4 race pace. This helped a lot as it gave me a better idea of how it would feel at race pace vs. Going slow. Also when I go a little bit fast the day before It helps me go faster the next day. MAKE SURE YOU DO THIS EVERY PRE-RIDE!!!
-I raced coaches bike 🙂 (Spry Centaures)
-Most importantly Heavenly Father blessed me to have a strong body that can compete at this level. He also blessed me with a good race! All the glory goes to him! Without God I am nothing! MAKE SURE YOU PRAY REALLY HARD EVER MORNING, ESPECIALLY RACE MORNINGS! I prayed for my competitors, and for safety! I know that Heavenly Father blessed me and many others to be safe during the sketchy conditions of Saturday!
It was really cool to look back and see where I was, what I was doing well, and the things I’ve since learned. My favorite part was that after summarizing how the race went, I gave a long bullet point list of what I did well that weekend outside of racing. One of the most fundamental pieces of performing well for me is to focus on what is going well, and what is working, and build on it. If I focus on my strengths I progress a lot faster than I do if I focus on my weaknesses.
For my job as a student coach we all took the Clifton Strengths assessment. My number one is Maximizer, which means I want to focus on what’s going well. This is what it says: “You focus on strengths as a way to stimulate personal and group excellence. You seek to transform something strong into something superb.”
This doesn’t work for everyone, but it works really well for me.
Find what works for you. If you figure it out, your consistency will increase dramatically. Knowing what works for you is powerful.