Mental challenge (Letting go)

So, let’s talk mental game.

How do you folks deal with wanting a certain result and managing your emotions in pursuit of it?

I find that I need to spend a week or so convincing myself that I can “do” it when my sector results and optimals come in line.

I have to get to the point where the results are almost on autopilot to allow myself to land the lap. It’s like you know you can do something but you have to get out of your own way, mentally.

Anyone have a certain way of dealing with/ thinking about this?

Sorry for the wooly, philosophical question but it’s hugely relevant to what we do. Feel free to be as wierd and flakey as you want, answering. I won’t judge. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I have no process for this. I know that when I start being ready, I have to endure a significant amount of “earning it”.

Earning it means landing a great sector and then folding under the significance of it in a subsequent sector. This continues until the “great sector” happens pretty consistently and I “forget” that I just did something special. This then allows me to hold my shit together a bit longer.

Am I just exceptionally neurotic or is everyone similar in terms of building speed?

(Edit: I suspect this isn’t a problem for the hugely experienced racers. I have noticed in my pal who is very accomplished that these pilots sort of see the track a bit differently. They appear to have a deep reservoir of previous turns they have experienced to draw from. They seem to get to the essential line quickly.)

This reminded me of a podcast I listened to recently that touched on the mental prep athletes go through when they really do well.

edit: turns out LOTS of super-successful people are very anxious. One of the reasons for their success is having thought through so many different scenarios in their heads, that they are rarely surprised to the point of not being able to cope.

The story of Michael Phelps using a mental playback of the lap to overcome being blinded by his goggles is pure Warren.

This idea of a mental movie we access is hugely important to how I see driving. It’s where the trained and the intuitive meet. Ideally, your higher functions are dedicated to watching the movie play out as you drive.

In a perfect world, the actual driving is not being concentrated on, its being dealt with by some essential version of me piloting the kart without thinking about it. (Not exaggerating here). The normal, anxious version of me is supervising the vision and warning about variations from expected plan. (Assuming I’m driving well).

What’s interesting is that his coach forced Michael to think “positively”. Michael got bored with positive visualization and started doing negative visualization on his own. This came in handy when his goggles filled up with water on his world record attempt. He swam blind, counting his strokes, knowing from practice what needed to be done.

Positive thinking works to a point. It can create the mental condition that allows you to complete a task. But, I’d say that this hugely simplifies the idea of mastery. It is mastery that allows you to be confident, which is what allows you to do the correct things at the right moment.

So, basically positive thinking is nice. If you happen to be in the right mood, it MIGHT allow you to access higher performance, but I wouldn’t count on it.

Tiny mistakes have very big impacts down the line in racing. It’s fine to be positive and you should always be positive otherwise you won’t be motivated to fight your way back. That being said, a slight error is a lap finisher in Time Trials. So, positivity only works until it doesn’t, which takes us to mastery.

To be truly confident, you need mastery. The problem is, mastery is a moving target… We get faster.

There will come a point where we run out of talent, though. I wonder what happens there. Does progression stop? Can we refine our driving and thinking indefinitely?


And this is probably why I should listen to Warren and do more race walking.

gear is used for that too here but general context defines what it means. But PEDs is probably a better term anyhow. I was probably a bit blunt with that statement, but knowing the extent at which people push the regulatory boundaries and hearing what top athletes say in public you can’t help but get a bit blunt. If we want to get to the root of top level mastery we can’t ignore there might be factors that athletes just won’t speak about.

That is true. If I were to tune myself physically via doping that might increase confidence in a roundabout way. I don’t drive for money. I drive for personal reasons and would likely derive no mental benefit. I dont need to hit a goal, I want to hit a goal. Unlikely I’d spend resources on that. Negative ROI health wise for no financial gain with considerable cost.

(Gear in US refers to heroin, I am assuming in UK it means PEDS)

i edited my post, instead of hitting reply. Doh

Fair point. I am more on the mental bit, anyways.

My hope is that mastery is not the only answer. It likely is.

I think the answer ultimately lies in learning how to keep “wants” at arms length and understanding that things will take as long as they take.

Expect nothing but demand much?

Presumably, you never reach a point where you are actually totally competent. But, you do reach a point where your competence exceeds your self-doubt, mostly.