Four Aspects of a Motocross Program:
1) Mental 2) MX Techniques 3) Athletics 4) Sports Nutrition
Encompassed in a Scientific Approach of Professional Coaching
Mental Training and Development is at the core of everything we do at MX COACH. It is difficult to explain this discipline since I am writing about something conceptually; but it is very easy to experience and understand in a personal conversation about your racing and goals.
Enter the mysterious and secret world of mental training! You know the stuff the factory teams do and so does “you-know-who” and it makes a huge difference. It is interesting that no matter where I travel most racers will agree that mental training is a big part of racing, if not the biggest. Racers will quote that the mental part is anywhere from 80 – 95% of racing. Most agree that as you go up in class ability, the mind plays a bigger and bigger role in your results.
What is even more interesting is the response I get when I ask these same racers “If it is that important to racing success then tell me what type of mental training do you do?” Again, no matter whom I’m talking to, amateur or professional it is mostly that same blank stare, long pause and then I get the same three answers. “I visualize, think positive, and focus”. Well, there you have it, the mystery is over! All I need to do is visualize winning, think positive about winning and focus on winning and I’ll win! While those three things are somewhat effective; I say there is a big gap between doing that and actively training and developing yourself mentally to perform at your best, a big gap!
Most dedicated racers follow a plan that usually includes physical training, nutrition, practice, bike testing and maintenance. Some go further and hire physical trainers and mechanics to take their training and preparation to the next level. Yet still the most neglected area of racing is mental training and development. It is beyond strange that this is missing from most motocross training programs at all levels of our sport. So much effort is spent on the physical and mechanical aspects and little to none spent on training and developing a racers mind and discovering their limits and intentionally developing oneself beyond those limits. The fact is mental training and development will impact every area of a complete training program. An example is a racer is flowing and fast with good lap times in one moto and the next moto the same rider is somewhat stiff, mechanical and the lap times are slow. What happened? Does one's ability to ride at a fast pace disappear? How could a racer have the ability one moto or day and not the next? If I am able to drink a glass of water today do I lose that ability tommorow (outside of an injury)?
Mental Training & Development happens through conversations that inquire and create. At MX COACH we focus on the “What” as in what is it that you truly want regarding your racing. What are your goals and intentions? In my experience most racers to do not actually say what they are truly out to accomplish. Most say, "I want to get better, improve, and gain more confidence." This is what we call a ruse or smokescreen that a coach will hear and keep inquiring to drill up to the true intention. First we define the "What", as in what is the game we are playing. By getting crystal clear on the “What” the “How” shows up out of a clear and committed declaration. This is where discovery occurs for everyone!
The power of our coaching is in the principal “To know, one does not know” this is the corner stone of any discovery. In essence you are hiring MX COACH because we know, that we do not know how to reach your goals. That may seem ridiculous and be terrible marketing; but it is our most powerful stance to coach from. This gives you a program and coaching that is truly for you right here and right now. In which you and I (the coach) are full partners at stake (butt-on-the-line) to have the breakthroughs in performance to realize your "What".
You do not want the formula that I used when I raced or even the formula that worked for you last year. You want to discover what will work now for the goals you have today and in the future. Not to say that we throw out the experience or wisdom that we have learned; but we do not hold onto yesterday’s formulas and beliefs and push them forward.
My intention is to get you to think about and practice training and developing your mind. This, I say will make the biggest difference in every aspect of your racing! All you need to be is willing to look and discover something beyond what you already know. This is called growth. A conversation with yourself will not produce anything beyond what you already have. A conversation with people that agree and think just like you will probably not produce much beyond what you already have either.
And a conversation where you think you know everything is obviously limiting. However, not so obvious in practice as most racers with success or some level of success keep doing what has got them to the success they had in the past. Leaving them with doing more, better and different than the past. The limit with that methodology which works to bring about improvement does not give access to breakthroughs. And breakthrough performance is the game we play at MX Coach, simply because if given the choice between improvement and breakthroughs we play the breakthrough game. During the last 20-years in coaching amateurs and professional racers that is exactly what each of my students gain access to - Breakthroughs in performance. This is the pitfall of many successful racers that is they just keep doing over and over, what they know; just more and better of the same thing. I’m not saying what you know is not valuable, but I am saying being fixed on what you know as a formula and moving it forward from the past is limiting.
How many times have we seen a talented rider and said “If he would only get in shape he could go so far.” Or “If he would only smooth out or develop better riding technique he could win.” It is easy for us to see what is missing in others and difficult for us to see what is missing in ourselves. Again, another facet of being human, it is difficult to see ourselves from and objective point of view.
Enter MX COACH where true coaching, training and development happen. All you need is your humility to consider a different point of view and your willingness to try it out. You will quickly find out why the mysterious world of mental training and development is not more popular. It is the hardest thing you will ever do in your life, and this is the work that produces the results you really want! The easy part in comparison is the physical training and the moto practicing. The most difficult part is you being willing to look at yourself and face your barriers and limiters. This is where real courage makes the difference between having breakthrough results or just ordinary linear progress.
Think of the riders that always get great starts or are known as holeshot kings and then there are the riders that generally get okay or poor starts and come from behind. Does one rider have better technique or a faster bike than the other? Or perhaps one is lucky and the other un-lucky. What about the rider that is always getting hurt and the rider that is always healthy and never misses a race? Does one drink more milk and have a genetically superior immune system than the others? Jeremy McGrath, Ricky Carmichael and Ryan Villipotto come to mind – great champions in every sense of the word. I say they were great starters and healthy because of their mental game first; and luck, the consumption of milk and inherited genes had nothing to do with it! Yes I assert these racers were 100% responsible for creating consistent holeshots and being injury free and healthy. These great champions stand in responsibility always looking within to reach their goals as opposed to looking for reasons and circumstances to excuse them from why they have not reached their goals. This mindset of responsibility offers unlimited opportunities of discovery. The popular way instead is to pass over mishaps and failures that are rich with learnings discoveries; and dismiss them as bad luck or give a false cause to explain why performance was low.
To quote Fr. Anthony de Mello “You must first dismount the ass (as in donkey) you rode that got you to the gates of heaven before you can pass through the gates of heaven.”
Considering a new point of view gives you access to see something you did not previously see. This insight may give you access to see where you limit yourself. Through seeing newly you now have the possibility of taking new actions to support your goals and discontinue the old actions that do not. It is obvious that by reading this far you must be interested or curious about taking your race performance to breakthrough levels. Ultimately, it is the actions you take that have results happen. The question is, are you crystal clear on the results you want?
The mystery of mental training is over, now it is up to you to do the work, get off your donkey and make the call to discuss what difference MX COACH can make for you and your goals!