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Understand Your Why

by Tim Laskis, PhD

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Helping riders improve can be very challenging. Many times they want help, but are not sure where to begin. One of the best methods of sorting everything out is to assist him/her develop awareness. For example, one of the first questions I may ask is "What is your WHY for racing?" This gives me a firm starting point.

Some riders will say, "I just want to win." My reply is often "Win today, win tomorrow or win next year?" "Do you want to win a few races or win a championship?" Once I clearly understand their "WHY" then I can help them use it to achieve their goals. If the "WHY" is not strong enough or not clear they may struggle to stay focused when things get tough. Then burnout sets in and careers can end quickly. A string of bad finishes or injuries can really impact a rider mentally. Many times riders end their careers after an injury. And, they may use the injury as an exit. However, it may have been the negative thoughts that took hold that really ended their career. For example, after a string of injuries a rider may begin to have a negative mindset such as "What am I doing out here? I am so sick and tired of surgeries and setbacks. My luck will never change." Or, "It was never meant for me to be a champion. I just need to stop putting myself and my family through this misery." Once the WHY is lost, it is tough to recover.

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Understanding your WHY is a great starting point in being successful. It can literally save a career. And, many times you can find that same passion for racing that you had in the past that can propel you again. Follow these 3 steps to stay focused on your WHY and find success in racing.

  1. Write down your ultimate goal for racing. This is your WHY. ie. to win an amateur championship, obtain your pro license, finish in the top 5 at your local race or just to stay in shape. Be as clear as you can. Once you reach your WHY, it's ok to establish a new WHY. For example, an amateur who achieves an amateur national title may set up a new WHY. Possibly getting a pro license and racing all of the outdoor pro races.
  2. Write down two short term goals (within 3 months) that supports your long term ultimate goal/why. ie. Improve your cardio or leg strength, practice at least 3 times weekly or lose weight. This will give you the best chance of reaching your WHY.
  3. Write down at least two potential road blocks/struggles that may keep you from reaching both your short term goals and your WHY. ie. Eating snacks late at night, drinking soda or just being lazy. This will help you to stay aware of what can get you off track and not reach your goal.

No matter what happens to you, always stay focused on your WHY. If you don't feel like practicing at the track, ask yourself if this is in line with your WHY. If you want to eat a sugary cereal late at night, ask yourself if this is in line with your WHY. If you are injured, focus on your goal/WHY and not on the setback or injury. Keep your WHY strong in your mind so that you mentally battle through it, recover and get back on the road to achieving your goal/WHY.

Best of luck!
Tim Laskis, Ph.D.
Mental Performance Coach at ClubMx
Founder, Coach Wherever: Motocross Mental Performance Coach Certification Program.

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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