Motor Sports Psychology Tips: 3 Pointers If You Focus On Your Rivals Excessively
Focusing on your main rivals too much often equals poor race results
Knowing who the best racers and riders and their strengths and weaknesses are, is hugely important so that you know what to expect in races. However, placing too much attention on your rivals can be detrimental psychologically. You can end up focusing too much on your rivals and fall into the “intimidation trap”, impacting negatively on your own self-confidence. This is a trap I’ve seen many motor sport racers and riders fall into especially when they are new to the level they are racing at or are feeling under a lot of pressure to perform.
It is common for past reputations and results in motor sport to intimidate many racers and riders. As is often the case, the leaders in the championship or those who are performing well at the time get a lot of attention and many conversations in the build up to races revolve around them. At an unconscious level this can start the ball rolling where racers and riders begin to get intimidated by their rivals. They begin to:
- Worry a lot about the quality of their rivals.
- Critique their own performances harshly.
- Concern themselves about knocks and injuries they may be carrying.
- Compare their rival’s bike or car set up and/or team directly to theirs.
- Focus on the things that they struggle with, rather than their own strengths.
- Spend time dwelling in the past focusing a lot of attention on poor performances.
So how do you avoid falling into these damaging thought processes?
It all starts with self-awareness!
3 Tips to Improve Your Self-Awareness and In Turn Give Yourself The Best Opportunity To Get On The Podium
- In the run-up to a race, make a note on paper or on the notes section of your phone – if you’re placing too much focus on your rivals. Consider how much time you’ve spent studying your rivals online, think about what conversations take place in your team – do they focus on other teams and why? Then look to chat with your team and set yourself some new rules before your next race.
- Visualise yourself performing at your best, taking the race to your rivals, overcoming difficulties when you’re racing. Thriving on race day not merely surviving. You could also see yourself off the race track when you’re spending time with your team. How would you think and behave when you’re feeling great and seeking to intimidate your rivals?
- Focus on your strengths, not the areas you perceive as a weakness. You could help remind yourself by listing all of your strengths (psychological, technical, tactical, physical, lifestyle).
To sum up, comparing yourself to your rivals or their teams is not beneficial, psychologically. All races and riders are human, they eat, sleep and drink just like you, they also have weaknesses as you do. They are susceptible to making mistakes and are highly unlikely to complete the perfect race, who does! I encourage you, to spend 10-15 minutes and make a note of the tips in this blog post and put them into practice. This way you’ll feel more mentally prepared before races and give yourself a better chance taking the race to your rivals.
If you’d like to learn more about how we could help you as a motor racing driver or rider why not get in touch. We are passionate about helping you get to the finish line faster and offer a range of bespoke programs to meet your needs.
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Online Motor Sports Psychologist who supports motor racers and motocross riders around the world from San Francisco to London, to Cape Town to Cairns, 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