How to Move on From Mistakes Quickly in Motorsport

Motor Sports Psychology Tips: How to Move on From Mistakes Quickly in Motorsport

Do you struggle mentally after making mistakes?

Motor racing is a sport which is hugely demanding mentally, with lots of information coming at you from all angles. As a result it’s so easy to make mistakes on the track. Mistakes are a natural part of motor racing. Whether you get off to an ordinary start, take a corner too wide, early apex, don’t brake hard enough, get passed when you know you shouldn’t or make an unforced error when a rival is putting you under pressure, mistakes DO happen.

There is no way to prevent mistakes. Why? Because – you are human but you can learn how to react to mistakes in a way that helps you complete your races so you look like someone who is in control of themselves and the bike, and you go on to finish races strongly not leaving anything out there, to the best of their ability.

What are your biggest mental game challenges after making mistakes when racing?

  • Do you lose self-confidence quickly?
  • Do you become angry or frustrated?
  • Do you dwell on the mistake and stay in the past?
  • Do you give up because you haven’t raced perfectly?
  • Or maybe all of the above?

From supporting many motor racers and riders, I’ve noted how a lot can allow mistakes to have a big impact on the next lap or 2 which can cost them valuable time. They go on to spend a lot of time, too much time in the PAST dwelling on what has happened. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
So what are your choices when you have made a mistake and are in the heat of the battle, mid race?

Option 1:

You can get upset, frustrated, and angry that you’re not performing up to your ability and allow these feelings to affect the rest of your race. Is this a good option? I’d say NO!

Option 2:

This is the better option, to be able to react to mistakes not letting them derail you and upset your levels of confidence. This option allows you to stay determined and present, to focus your attention on the next part of the track and to be thinking about what you want – “a strong next lap or finish” not “failure”.

Are you skilled in learning from your mistakes?

Mistakes and failure can help you improve your weaknesses and become a better motor racer. We suggest that you wait to assess your performances, objectively after races. During races is not the best time to analyze mistakes and make corrections.

3 Tips To Help You React Better To Mistakes And Finishing Races Strongly

1. Don’t expect to perform perfectly. Understand that you are human and mistakes are a part of motor sport. Cut yourself some slack and allow yourself 2 or 3 mistakes in a race so that you are prepared to move on when they do happen.

2. Make sure you keep a bigger picture perspective by also recognising and focusing on what you are doing well too. Don’t dismiss positive things that you do in races like many motor racers and riders do.

3. Do your best to not look back. Mistakes are in the past, and out of your control. Focus on the next part of the track, not the last part. When you do look back and dwell on the mistake, your mind is not in the present and you can’t race at your optimum level.

To sum up, having an understanding that making mistakes is not actually the problem. The real problem is your reaction. When you react negatively to the mistake with frustration and spend time dwelling in the past. You can pretty much guarantee:

  • More errors.
  • Looking at where you don’t want to go.
  • Early apexing.
  • Not using your brakes hard enough.
  • Putting your foot on the gas too much.
  • Crashing!

Even the top professional motor racers and riders don’t perform perfectly with no mistakes follow their lead and DO NOT let mistakes ruin your performance or day.

Please note that as a team we work with a lot of motor racers and riders around the world, using ONLINE VIDEO TECHNOLOGY (ZOOM, SKYPE, FACEBOOK or WHATSAPP) on a 1-2-1 basis to help them improve their times, so that they get on the podium more.  Feel free to get in touch if you’d like to know more about how we can help you.

Or if you found this article helpful, please share it with your friends, team-mates, parents or coaches.  You can also join our online community – THE SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY HUB – for regular Sports Psychology tips, podcasts, motivation and support.

David Charlton Sports Psychologist

Best Wishes 

David Charlton

Mental Performance Coach and Online Motor Sports Psychologist who supports motor racers and motocross riders around the world from USA to UK, Ireland to Australia, using ONLINE Video Conferencing.    

Managing Director – Inspiring Sporting Excellence, Host of Demystifying Mental Toughness Podcast and Founder of The Sports Psychology Hub.  With over a decades’ experience supporting athletes, coaches, parents and teams to achieve their goals, faster.  

T: +44 7734 697769

E: [email protected]

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