How to Beat Self-Doubt when you’re a Motor Cyclist

Motor Cyclist

Motor Sports Psychology Tips: How to Beat Self-Doubt when you're a Motor Cyclist

Does self-doubt before a race mean you start at the back of the grid?

Do you let your thoughts, doubts and fears get on top of you before a race or when you’re racing? Can you be too hard on yourself during the race or afterwards when looking back at your performance? 

Every human being is naturally wired to think negatively, yet too many of these thoughts can pretty much guarantee that your confidence will be eroded and when you start a lot of races you’ll be in your mind starting at the back of the grid.  Being able to manage your thoughts is hugely important if you are to start aggressively, take control of a race, overcome challenges from rivals and in-race setbacks.  

How can I get a handle on my thoughts?

  1. Start by making a note of some of your worries and doubts that you have about your motor racing.  Explore different areas of motor racing when you do so and the skills required to be a great motor cyclist; having a winning mentality, improving your technique, being fearless, being physically strong and fit, having a good position on the bike, knowing which line to take, anticipating the corners…
  2. Make a note of your top 3 doubts that cause you problems on the bike.  

We’ll then workout how you go on to handle these doubts, which is hugely important if you are to banish them from your mind.

This concept is called cognitive reframing. It means that as a motor cyclist, you’re going to give yourself a much better chance of winning races and you’ll start seeing your performances from a different angle. This can help you feel much more confident on the bike, which is what is what you need to succeed!

As former Grand Prix rider, and a rider coach for John McPhee’s British Talent Moto3 Team, Jeremy McWilliams says about helping young riders to improve their technique?

“Always believe in yourself. The riders that tend to make it are the riders who are very, very self-confident, that have one goal. I mean that the riders that I see getting to the top have always had pretty much tunnel vision about where they want to get to.”

So go on I encourage you to look at next 3 steps too and reframe your doubts:

1. Think back to a recent performance when you doubted your ability on the bike. List a self-doubt that crept up on you at that time.

2. Note down the doubt as if you are saying it out loud to someone.  For instance:

Doubt: “If I get off to a slow start, I may get knocked off the bike.”  

3. Reframe and/or challenge each statement. Turn each doubt into a statement of confidence:

“Many times before I’ve started fast, let’s do this.  Let’s be fearless.  Come on!”

Here’s an Advanced Strategy

You could also make a note of the new statements on some paper or card or on your phone and keep them handy.  When you’re training or before the race remind yourself by taking a look at your notes.  You can also, in your mind and out loud, practice repeating these new statements of confidence until you can call them up on demand when the pressure is on before races.

Your brain is a muscle much like your biceps!

It is massively important for you to look to apply this strategy when you train and practice and before or during races if you want it to stick, it won’t miraculously just take hold.  Your brain is a muscle, just like your biceps or chest muscles.  Practice makes permanent!

So when you recognise that you are doubting your ability, use this reframing strategy to challenge your thinking and get rid of self-doubt.  This mental game strategy can make a big difference steadying your confidence levels by reducing the amount of unwanted thoughts going through your head.

Please note that as a team we work with a lot of motor cyclists and motocross racers around the world, using ONLINE VIDEO TECHNOLOGY (ZOOM, SKYPE, FACEBOOK or WHATSAPP) on a 1-2-1 basis to help them improve their levels of confidence so that they can race much faster, when it counts.  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

Online Motor Sports Psychologist who supports motor racers and motocross riders around the world from San Diego to Abu Dhabi, to Cape Town to Adelaide, 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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