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by Tim Laskis, PhD


Knowing what to focus on when you get to the track can make a big difference in where you finish. Retracing your steps after a bad race many times leads to your thought process hours prior to the event. It’s an important area of a race program that is often overlooked. Let’s break down an example.

Rider A is an amateur who is competing at a big event. When he first arrives he looks around at all the expensive trailers and motor homes. He starts to think that there must be some really good riders there.  Then he sees a few guys that have beat him before. He starts to question himself if he is ready to compete with these guys again. He begins to have a sinking feeling in his stomach and becomes less confident. At the starting line of the first race, he looks around both sides of him. The other guys are looking confident and he begins to count how many fast guys are there. He starts to tally the number and figures if he gets into the top 10 he will be lucky. When the gate drops he gets a mid-pack start and ends up finishing outside the top 10.

As you can see your mindset can make all the difference in how well you finish an event.

As you can see in this example, Rider A set himself up to lose as soon as he drove into the parking lot early that morning. Focusing on how much money the other riders had behind them started him down the negative trail of thoughts. Then he started thinking about the guys that beat him before. As he sat on the starting line he began putting all the riders in finishing order in his mind. This was a disaster from the beginning.

So, how should Rider A change his mindset?  Let’s go back to the moment he drives into the parking lot of the event. He should only focus on himself. Rider A will not analyze any of the other riders. He could say to himself, “This is going to be a good day.” “I am ready to grab the holeshot.” Rider A will start thinking about the track layout and where the good lines are. He will think about being out in front of the pack. He will think about what lap times he should have. He will think about how much fun it will be that day. When he lines up at the gate he will only look straight down the line and think about how to set up the first turn. He stays positive and reminds himself that he is good shape and can win.  As a result he feels confident and is ready to compete. When the gate drops he dives into the first turn with the mindset that this race is his to win.

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As you can see your mindset can make all the difference in how well you finish an event. You put a lot of effort into your program and there is no need to set yourself up for failure once you get to the races. Believe in yourself, trust your abilities and make things happen. Even a second focusing on the competition is wasted time. It’s about you, so go out there and set yourself up for success with the right focus. Good luck at the track!

About the Author: Tim Laskis holds a masters and doctoral degree in clinical psychology from The California School of Professional Psychology. He also graduated with honors from Rutgers University with a bachelors in psychology. In addition to his work as a clinical psychologist, podcast host, professor and author, he works as a Motocross Mental Performance Coach at ClubMX. Since 2014 he has worked with amateur and top pro riders on factory teams in the 250 and 450 classes. He offers individual and group mental performance coaching sessions. Have a question? Email Tim.

Tim developed a NEW online Motocross Mental Performance Coach Certificate Course. This is designed for riding coaches, fitness trainers and parents of riders who want to develop a new arsenal of skills to help their riders reach their goals. Take his free Intro course today! Click here.

That's it for now, until next time, good luck with your training and remember, if you have a question, log on to the Virtual Trainer Expert Forum and have your question answered by a panel of experts. In addition, be sure and check out the Racer X Virtual Trainer archive section. Your complete one-stop information zone for motocross fitness. VT Signature

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