Racing is a game of confidence. You must have tons of it according to racing super starts James Stewart and Dan Wheldon, two racers I have talked with personally about confidence and the mental game of racing.
Do you set expectations about where you should finish the race based on lap times and who you are racing against? One of the huge mistakes I see racers committing is what I call *placing themselves on the start line.* This means that you mentally have a finish position you think you *should* achieve.
This only works well if you think you should finish First in the moto or race. However, many racers place themselves in third, fourth, fifth and beyond depending on lap times in practice and other factors such as the reputation of other racers.
You are as fast as you think you are, and if you limit yourself with practice lap times, you will finish where you think you *should* finish in the race.
So how do you harness confidence and make it stick lap after lap? Racers get confidence from many sources: past experience, training, equipment, believing in their ability, and quality coaching.
I talked with Indy 500 Champ Dan Wheldon on the importance of confidence for successful racing. He said that self-belief and confidence are the two keys to winning races and championships.
The main idea is that you need to harness the power of confidence to race at the limit and make confident decisions. Some racers just ooze confidence while other racers have to work at harnessing the power of confidence.
How well would you perform if you had a full tank of confidence every race you strapped in the car or jumped on the bike? Confidence comes from several sources such as your training, seat time, fitness, coaching, and belief in your ability.
You must have belief if you ability for confidence to flourish. Belief in your ability is really a definition of confidence. If you think you are just an average racer, you will be average. If you think you are a great racer, you give yourself the best opportunity to race well.
Patrick J. Cohn, Ph.D.,
Master Mental Game Coach
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