Proper Mental Preparation Is A Key Winning Strategy For Pro Motocross Champions
It seems like every week another pro racer is struggling to reach his potential. Pro motocross riders work extremely hard at reaching the podium, and the true winners know how critical a role ‘mind preparation’ plays in achieving top results. Unfortunately, many racers neglect mental preparation, choosing to spend all their time and money on bike performance, practice laps, and physical training instead. Racers often stumble, yet have no explanation for what’s causing slower lap times. Today’s professional motocross racers are some of the most highly trained and technically skilled motorcycle riders in the world. Ever since they could barely throw a leg over a dirt bike, they’re coached by parents, physical trainers, team managers, mechanics, and even girlfriends. Sometimes even all of that knowledge and experience isn’t enough, and they still can’t seem to find their way to the podium. Why? Well…as a pro athlete ‘mind coach’, I have learned that many defeats are because of a lack of proper mental preparation. The solution seems simple, get in a great mental state and you’ll win more races… but on today’s professional motocross circuit, that’s not so simple.
I coach dozens of high profile NBA and NHL athletes to keep their mind focused on a win. Pro motocross racers want the same mental advantage. When a few a tenths of a second can make the difference between first place or tenth place, a riders mental state becomes a huge factor. A few weeks ago I was at the Factory Kawasaki test track in California, working with a very well known pro rider who I coach. Several other pro riders were there practicing too. Oddly, for some reason, not one of them asked what we were doing. Motocross is still a fairly young sport, with new strategies and techniques evolving daily. Many competitors are still learning about unexplored strategies and tips. The sport requires tremendous confidence in yourself and those around you. It’s also a young persons sport, with very few real veteran champions to guide the young racers through their mental obstacles. As a result motocross racers are getting very little psychological coaching. The coaching they do get, is not always professional, accurate, or helpful. People giving advice are doing so with the absolute best intentions, but have no experience or training within the field. I choose not to give technical riding advice to riders that I’m ‘mentally’ coaching, so why do so many technical riding coaches feel qualified to give so much ’mental’ advice? The good news is that, as the professional sport of motocross racing evolves, I believe we will see family, friends, mechanics, and trainers, much more supportive of the importance of mental preparation via qualified mental coaches.
Recently I worked with another pro motocross rider who has great family support, the best physical trainer in the business, and an amazing factory support ride. Yet, even with all of that, he was still having trouble getting on the box and staying ‘focused’. He had everything he needed to win races, but had some personal mental blocks affecting his results… mental blocks of which he did not even realize existed. In a few short days of coaching, we were able to quickly identify those obstacles, eliminate them from his thoughts, and replace them with a focused mental strategy on winning. The results were immediate. He was clocking faster lap times and made it back on the supercross podium. A renewed, positive, mental state was his explanation for a turn around. This is not an isolated case. For me the reason he was back on the podium is clear…taking care of one’s ‘mental game’ could possibly be the most important part of winning in the sport. Good qualified mental coaching should not be overlooked in the ultra competitive sport of motocross. Stay tuned to ChronicMX.com as I role out some of my key mental preparation tips in the coming weeks.
Reporting for ChronicMX.com, I’m Pat Dalton, professional mental coach and owner of MOTO Mental Edge.