Everybody wants to improve their riding, and ‘Go Faster’ is a term we often hear. ‘Going Faster’ is however an outcome and not a tangible thing we can just buy off the shelf. Instead of focusing on this outcome, we need to shift our focus onto the behaviours (controllable’s) that will result in the outcome we are after.
As many of you may know, Gareth – UK ALine Mountain Bike Coaching manager, also works as a Mental Performance Coach, assisting athletes to better improve their overall performance through targeting mental processes and PST – ‘Psychological Skills Training’. Something we do a lot at ALine, is merge the two worlds of MTB skills training, and mental skills training, together.
Today’s Top Tip is about just that, merging mental process’ with identified skills training.
Within sport psychology we often refer to the 4 C’s of performance. They are, Commitment, Confidence, Concentration, and Control (emotional and physical). Referring to each of these four areas and asking yourself… ‘what is my Confidence for X terrain’ will help you identify different areas you may need to work on in order to improve your performance and ‘Go Faster’.
If we look at steep sections as an example, we could briefly go through and analyse it in the following way:
- Commitment: 8/10 – I commit to the sections without much hesitation
- Confidence: 5/10 – I don’t feel too nervous going into steep sections, but I do not ride them in an attacking way
- Concentration – 6/10 – I generally look in the correct areas of the track, however sometimes find my eyes wondering to obstacles I want to avoid on track
- Control: 8/10 – I generally don’t panic on steep terrain and am able to keep in control of the bike.
We have now identified one or two areas we could see a lot of improvement in, namely Confidence and Concentration. Looking at confidence, we can now begin to break down what being confident on steep sections looks like and importantly, what you need to do in order to gain confidence here, e.g. build more experience and ride steep tracks more often, learning the coaching points for riding steep terrain etc etc. This will lead to directed practice.
Our Top Tip in bullet point form:
- Highlight the different areas of your riding (e.g. steep terrain, flow, jumps)
- Rate yourself on the 4 C’s in each of these areas
- Devise a plan to improve each of these areas for each skill – they are likely connected.
- Don’t rush it – remember this will not improve instantly, rather set a realistic time frame – e.g. in 6 months time I would like to improve my confidence on steep terrain from a 5 to an 8 by doing the following…
If you are unsure of how to improve any of the areas identified above, please get in touch with ALine, as there is a lot we can do to help you improve your riding and enjoy the journey of progression.
Have fun out there and keep it rubber side down.
Dr Gareth Jones ALine UK Manager