Clarity is confidence is a phrase I like to use with any athlete. If we are clear on what we want to achieve (small to large goals), we can be more confident in our ability and how we are going to achieve these goals as it is clear what, when, where, why, and how we are going to achieve what we've set. There are two critical time periods when this phrase is key.
1. At the start of your training for the following competition season.
Is it important to be clear on what you want to achieve in the coming season. This reminder of what you are working towards will help motivate you through the long winter season, as well as helping you not become overwhelmed by the task at hand to get there, as we take smaller, more manageable steps. More importantly, however, this will allow you to break down 'how' you are going to achieve what you want. Creating positive action plans are a key step in achieving your goal as they create your pathway, making your goals more realistic and achievable as you are taking continual small steps to your goal.
2. The second important time period to be clear about is whilst you are in the place of competition (i.e. at the top of run, or the beginning of a race weekend).
We have all been there before, when we are riding a track and we come to a feature that we are perhaps nervous about, as we come to the feature, panic sets in and you anchor on the brakes. This can sometimes lead to injury and is likely to hurt much more than if you committed to the feature, mentally if not physically. On a downhill race weekend for example, if there is a feature (i.e. a jump) on the track you are nervous about, it is a good idea to build up to it (warm up on the first two runs), plan in a run that you are going to commit to doing that feature (e.g. run three). Then when you come to run three, you have already decided to commit to the feature, which in turn, helps focus your mindset for that run. This helps declutter your decision making process as you have already made that decision before you have dropped into the run. Then when you approach the feature in your run, you are not questioning it, you are setting yourself up for how you are going to tackle the feature and taking positive steps in order to do that. Subconsciously your brain has been working out how to achieve this ever since you made the decision to commit to doing it in run three - this helps performance by increasing confidence, as it was clear what your objectives were.
Clarity is confidence. When participating in such a dangerous sport like mountain biking, having a clear directive of what you are going to achieve is critical before you drop in. Clarity gives you a more positive mindset for performance, as it becomes almost a tick list to complete, rather than lots of random thoughts. Clarity frees up any wasted energy for your brain, allowing you to go into autopilot mode more easily, making it more likely you can enter your Flow State, thus improving performance (see PB article here
Thank you for taking the time to read my article. Remember above all else, fun is one of the most important, motivating, confidence inspiring emotions in our arsenal, so keep a smile on your face and performance improvements won't be far behind.
Thanks Sam Taylor Photography for the top photograph. peakmentalperformance.co.ukfacebook.com/peakmentalperformancecoaching