Mental Preparation – Recover from a Setback

What is the most effective way to recover from a setback such as an accident, injury or failure?

If you’re an avid cyclist you are pretty much guaranteed that you will at some point face a setback. It is important to understand that these setbacks can be a great way for us to learn something and move on to better performances, here’s some great advice from Sports Psychologist, Alan Heary.

Here are three steps to get you back quickly:

There are a lot of things that can negatively affect confidence on the bike. Here are three of the most common:

So now we know what can reduce confidence we can look at how we can boost it.

Get rid of how we view past bad experiences

We can have the memory of a bad experience such as a crash very clear in our mind and can run it like a movie over and over.

To reduce the feelings that we associate with this movie try this:
Imagine you are in a cinema and play the movie of the incident. Now stop the movie. Imagine shrinking it down in size so that it is the size of a small TV. Change it from color to black and white and push it off into the distance. Now imagine that you are the director of this new movie that is playing on the big screen. Create an image of how you want to ride.

Practice the basic skills – After each of your rides spend 15 minutes practicing a particular skill you feel you need to improve, for example cornering or balance.

Stop the Self-criticism – Use positive self-talk to create a new inner voice that tells you that you ARE strong, fast, and you CAN do it. Practice this a lot!

Stop asking stupid questions – The brain is very clever. When we ask it a question it will go in search of an answer. If you ask a question like why am I not fast or why can’t I climb, it will give you answers like you don’t have the genetics, your too old, fat or you have the wrong bike!

Instead, ask better questions like “how can I get faster or climb quicker?” The answers to these questions are action bound answers and things you can control – do some speed work, do interval sessions. All of these answers will motivate you to work harder and get better results and so help build confidence.

You might also benefit from tips on Goal Setting or Utilising Pre-Event Nerves