Here is the reality of focus. Whatever you decide to focus on will be your reality. If you choose to focus on the negatives or choose to see what’s wrong in your life or a situation, they will be the things that are exaggerated. You are going to learn to focus on these things and see them everywhere. Sometimes, its hard to see the positives in a bad situation. It really has to be a conscious process for some people to sit down and find a positive thing in every negative.
Here’s an example. . .
” I had a terrible race, nothing i wanted to do worked out, and i feel like i wasted my time and money doing it” …
Now its easy to feel like this. We all do! However it is not easy to find the positives in this situation when you are feeling down and upset. It has to be a conscious effort.
” I didn’t race how i wanted to but i got some great training in, learnt a lot about my competition, got to practice my technical skills and I can use this practice to hone in my skills and come back stronger for the next race!”
“Lucky I made the time and effort to do this race as now I know I need to focus on my nutrition and work out a better strategy for the next race”.
There is a special region of your brain that determines whether you are looking at something positive, negative or neutral and you CAN take control of this. It does take work but you can shape the world to work in your favor by re-training your thought process to find positive things and optimizing your ability to see different perspectives. If you manage to do this you will have more energy to attack your goals because if you can believe that it’s going to happen your chances are much higher. Belief and focus are the most powerful tools that you have and if you believe you can focus your time and attention on your goal you will be rewarded.
Cycling is one endurance sport that has received considerable attention from research disciplines such as physiology, biomechanics, nutrition but unfortunately very little in the way of psychology. The focus of attention that cyclists adopt when on and off the bike have a significant impact on performance.
Start the day with some positive affirmations. If you are the kind of person who may have some self doubt, low motivation or low self esteem, positive affirmations may help.
|Present Tense Affirmations|
|I am an amazing cyclist|
|I am always pushing myself in my training sessions|
|I am willing to do whatever it takes to win my race|
|I am always thinking about cycling|
|I love cycling training|
|I am a natural born cyclist|
|I find it easy to find the motivation needed to get on my bike and complete my training|
|I am committed to training for my race|
|I just naturally take action|
|I naturally think positive thoughts|
|Future Tense Affirmations|
|I am becoming more motivated by the day|
|I will become a positive thinker|
|I am finding myself more focused on my training|
|I am turning into someone who is willing to do what they need to do to win|
|I am learning to love training|
|I will push through the pain barrier|
|I will stick to my training schedule|
|I am becoming fitter and fitter|
|I am transforming into an amazing cyclist|
|I am becoming more determined to push myself|
|Training is something I love to do|
|Staying motivated at all times is easy for me|
|Being physically fit is something I pride myself on|
|I’m an amazing cyclist|
|I have a high level of motivation|
|Cycling is fun|
|I always make sure to push myself in my training sessions|
|People see me as someone who is focused on winning|
|I find it very easy to think positive|
|Training for a race comes easy to me|
If you can copy and print these out and say them to yourself every morning you may find the use of these positive affirmations a bit silly to start with but the more you do it and the more you repeat yourself you brain starts to believe what you are saying. Write a list of your goals and say them to yourself at the end of these affirmations to concrete in your mind what you want for yourself.
So what should you be focusing on during a race?
Being involved in physical activity for several hours gives the athlete a lot of time to focus and think. What is the content of these thoughts and where do athletes focus their attention on during such extreme physical activities? There are two general pathways, the first being internal factors and the second external factors. An internal focus refers to a concentration on bodily symptoms and other factors associated with the endurance activity. In endurance sports specifically, an internal focus encompasses all factors pertaining to the activity, such as movement execution and physiological aspects such as heart rate, muscle tension and feelings of fatigue and pain. An external focus, in contrast, implies a distraction from physical effort associated with the endurance task. It is important for an athlete to be able to think about these factors during a race and during training. If you teach yourself to understand how your body is processing the internal factors you will be able to make changes and use your positive affirmations to your own benefit. The same goes for external factors.
If you are interested in working on your psychological skills as an athlete and want to find some literature to help- Here are 5 great books that you can get as a paperback or audiobook.
- Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success
- The Champion’s Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive
- Peak: Secrets from the New Science Expertise.
- The Mindful Athlete: Secrets to Peak Performance
- How Bad Do You Want It?: Mastering the Psychology of Mind over Muscle
Don’t feel like picking up a book… you can always watch my free training where I talk about focus and other elements that make a great cyclist. The training has been designed specifically to give you the best tips and tricks I have learnt over the years training some of Australia’s best and most successful Mountain Bike athletes! You can find the free training here: Free Mountain Bike Training – PCS Coaching
High Performance Mountain Bike Coach
My speciality is helping serious and recreational mountain bikers break through plateaus to attain higher levels of performance so that they can get fitter, faster, stronger and win more races!