By Carl Bastedo
“AS I THINK, I AM”—Profound words, and very true. A prime example of how this saying applies to motocrossers, is a riders tendency to “place himself”, while still on the starting line. Those of you who have raced for a number of yearswill all have done this. Your sitting, looking down the starting line wondering how you will do. You see Fred and you know you can’t beat him, then there’s Harry and that guys a sandbagger, should be up a class for sure. That new guy looks strong and his bike’s got all the trick stuff on it so your not likely to beat him. Oh well, fourth won’t be bad, I know I can beat all these other yahoos.
So the gate drops and you get the holeshot, your just givin er and your still in the lead after ½ a lap, you say, what’s going on and start looking behind you to see where Fred, Harry and the new guy are. Riding wildly you start overshooting corners, missing gears, finally, here comes Fred and Harry. You saw the new guy laying on the side of the track so your all pumped thinking you’ll get third. Then Fred and Harry blow buy and you feel relief. Problem is they had another guy in tow and he blows by you to.
You don’t even think about repassing Fred and Harry but you blast by the other guy on the last lap to take that third place you knew you would get. “AS I THINK, I AM”.
STRESS- HOW DO YOU HANDLE THE PRESSURE
We all handle pressure in our own way, some much better than others. Sometimes a little pressure can help you in your performance. We all have seen an example of this. Your sitting on the line and the guy beside you can’t get his bike started. His mechanic changes the plug, won’t start, they start trying to push start it, the referee has waited long enough, the 30 second board is up. The bike fires up and he makes in back to the line seconds before the gate drops, all out of breath and in a panic. The gate drops, guess who gets the holeshot? Very often it’s the guy who’s been in a panic trying to get to the line.
Then of course there’s the rider who looks great out at the practice track, rides with great speed and style, looks like a winner. Then you go to the race and the same guy has some kind of problem that prevents him from placing well or even finishing. They always fold under the pressure of the race, they create their own problems and it’s all because they can’t cope with the pressure of racing.
In order to do well at Motocross you have to have everything going for you. If you cannot handle the Stress & Pressure of racing you won’t go anywhere in this sport. Some ways to help you cope with stress are—Be in good shape, if not, your mental and physical resistance to stress could cause you to make mistakes. Get lots of rest, being rested will help you meet the physical and emotional demands of race day. Concentrate on what you are doing to prepare yourself for each race day. Don’t worry about other riders, if you know that you have eaten right, exercised properly and prepared your machine and equipment to the best of your ability then you will be well equipped to handle race day stress. Be involved in some other activity other than just Motocross. Take up fishing, hockey, golfing, boating. It’s good to have a little variety in life, it keeps your enthusiasm for racing at a high level and helps prevent mid-season burnout. Get organized, don’t be the guy every race who walks around the pits looking to borrow some piece of equipment because he forgot his. Being organized will help you concentrate on your racing and give you confidence in yourself. Finally, in this day and age we are finding that taking classes in such disciplines as Tai Chai, Yoga and other relaxation exercises can help you cope with stress much better.