The mental game we play when mountain biking
By Amy Renn
“What you are thinking, what shape your mind is in, is what makes the biggest difference of all.” — Willie Mays
Have you gone out for a ride in a bad head space, distracted and not truly committed to the experience? At the end of the ride you are aware of how lucky you are that you didn’t wreck. Or maybe you did crash? The loss of focus and connectivity to what you are doing disconnects you to the experience. It is at this moment when progression stops and your roadblock builds.
Sure enough mountain biking is much more complex then individuals give it credit for. Yes, there are the many skill components that creep up on the important list for improvement but, what seems to be the predominate roadblock for cyclists is the mental element.
So with that, how do you get in the right head space for success? Now, that is not as difficult as you might imagine. Like anything taking a few moments to gain your composure and to focus before a test, giving a speech or riding your unicycle on the spine of a castle. Deeply breathe, shake the cobwebs in your mind and acknowledge that you have the power to chose how to feel and face the situation. If you believe you will fail, then fail you will. If you tell yourself you are capable and strong then your mind will follow.
The way we talk to ourselves can effect so much in our life. In regards to sport and mountain biking in particular, you can win the mental game by entering the situation with a positive approach. If you just don’t feel positive, go for an easy spin to clear your head before you try to tackle the challenging terrain. Nothing helps move negative emotions more then actual physical movement.
Once your head is clear and ready for action, then tackle the rock garden. Keeping your eye on the prize with positive self talk, good things will happen. It is in the moment of doubt that we take the wrong detour.
Amy Renn is the co-founder of A Singletrack Mind which offers mountain bike skills clinics and coaching throughout the west coast. From multi-day events to specialized clinics for beginners to advanced riders, A Singletrack Mind’s coach Dylan Renn will make your riding experience more enjoyable. Learn more asingletrackmind.com.