HEALTH AND HAPPINESS:
THE PERFORMANCE MINDSET:
*This is a long article, so get a brew and digest it*
Do you ever look at professional athletes and think, how?
How do they stay that strong mentally? How do they last a full season without suffering breakdowns?
Essentially: What is it that sets their mindset part from that of mere mortals like us?
This blog will look into the performance mindset, and will give you the tools you need to work on your own performance mindset.
First of all, you need to remember that these people are at the VERY TOP of their sport. This also gives them access to top of the line psychologists. Who will work with them on a very personal level to make sure they are operating at their mental peak. While we don't have access to this without paying a substantial cost. The things that pressure and stress athletes are similar to ours:
- Pressure to perform (targets to hit at work).
- Pressure from ourselves (self expectation).
- Pressure from team mates (colleagues).
- Motivation due to results, and external factors (weather, fitness, stress from relationships etc).
There are many factors that can transfer over, remember while professional athletes may appear to have the dream job, it is still a job. Remember that.
When it comes to the performance mindset, you have to understand how you feel during a ride, and event. This is known as arousal (don't laugh):
in sports psychology the term given to this is the inverted U theory:
This looks something like this:
This graph shows the INVERTED U THEORY of sports psychology:
Essentially it measure the level of arousal and relates this to performance.
The white U is the arousal level, and this is effected by stress, enjoyment, pressure etc.
To put this into context:
If you head out on a road bike and in the first 20 minutes of your ride you have 4 negative events with cars. How do you think this would effect your curve?
I know for a fact it would annoy me and possibly take me to the high stress levels, where I can't be bothered to ride.
However: if you head out and in the first 20 minutes you have a nice spin of the legs, the road undulates and you feel warm, ready to take on the ride you will stay at the highlighted "area of peak performance"
managing these arousal levels and understanding external factors is key to understanding how the performance mindset works.
I will give you a personal example here:
During a practice ride for an enduro I had a fast crash on my first, and second run. The second crash damaged the bike and I had to ride back to the van to fix it. This took my U curve way down and I didn't bother racing.
I have also had races where I have absolutely loved the stages and couldn't wait to get back out again.
In outdoor sports this can be effected by things such as weather, time between practice and race start, stress levels from practice, thinking of certain areas of the course and more.
So think about these factors when planning a race weekend.
Moving on from the science then, let's look at ways you can improve your performance mindset:
Here are three things that have personally helped me on race weekends:
Get prepared early. On the weekend before a race weekend I would always get the bike ready, have a shakedown on my local trails and feel confident it is ready to go.
I will then avoid riding that bike until race weekend so I don't worry about crashing it and having the stress of rushing to fix things.
I will also look at the time schedule for the event and prepare everything to run with the event. And always create a backup plan.
I will ride or run until I am three days out of the event knowing that I am going into it fresh, but mobile. rested, but not too rested.
Preparing your body or your equipment for the event is key to having a good performance mindset.
Taper your training so you do less towards the event. But enough to keep your body feeling fit.
This is very individual so DM me if you do have any questions.
Meditation is the most effective tool I have found for developing my mindset. I want to go into race weekends feeling relaxed and confident. Meditating is a great way for me to calm down, relax and feel in control of what is going on.
Being with friends is also a great way to calm the nerves as it makes you feel like you are just riding with mates. No pressure to perform. It's all about having fun then.
Remember if your having fun, your usually riding faster, and better as you are not tense and pressured.
Getting your foods right before a race is INCREDIBLEY important. And I want to say one thing:
NEVER EXPERIMENT WITH NUTRITION ON A RACE DAY.
Stick with what you know. Even if you have heard of better methods. Experimenting on race day is dangerous. So go into your events prepared, knowing what you eat works for you and organised with the times of how you will eat and what.
Again this is very individual so message me if you need help!
Remember these tips will also help with rides, runs and other events you are looking forward too and don't have to be fully based on racing.
I hope you have enjoyed the blog. I told you it would be a long one!
As always if you have any questions email me!
Have a great day.