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Author Topic: The Mental Game Of Motorcycle Racing  (Read 6770 times)
stormcat
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« on: August 07, 2011, 07:43:40 PM »

I may actually order this. I added Sandra Stammova on my Facebook a few weeks ago and have been asking her the occasional question, to which she's been really great about answering quickly, and with a great sense of humour. Really nice woman. The audio book isn't just for racers, but for anyone who rides. Sure, Twist of the Wrist I and II are great for showing technique, but they do not address the actual psychological parts of riding. To me, riding is about 60+% mental. If your brain isn't where it needs to be, then it shows. I'm very interested in hearing solid techniques for getting past the whole "SR" crap.

Anyway, just thought I'd throw this out there for anyone else interested.

http://www.mentalgamecoach.com/Products/AudiobookMentalGameOfMotorcycleRacing.html
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« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2011, 07:53:33 PM »

It come down to this, A famous Ball player Ted Williams, was asked what he thinks about when hitting. His answer.  "It's better that you don't think too much if you don't think too good".

Same goes for riding.

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« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2011, 07:56:12 PM »

It's all well and good to say, "don't think too much." But if you're prone to over thinking and over analyzing things and have actually been trained to do so, it's not a habit easily broken.
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« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2011, 08:05:27 PM »

Hmmm...sounds interesting.  I suppose if I studied these lessons I could learn how to intentionally disrupt the mental state of my opponents, defeating them before we even line up.  Bears some research.

I'm very interested in hearing solid techniques for getting past the whole "SR" crap.

'Survival Reactions' are the result of your mind not being comfortable with a machine that's in some way out of control, even if you have the knowledge and physical skills to deal with it.  Best way to defeat that is spend more time being out of control.  In other words, go play in the dirt.

It come down to this, A famous Ball player Ted Williams, was asked what he thinks about when hitting. His answer.  "It's better that you don't think too much if you don't think too good".

A fellow who handles engineering problems for some very fast professional racers once told me something similar.  When assessing whether or not a young racer 'had IT', the dividing line tended to be 'are they mildly retarded'.  This, it seems, is the essence of speed.

If your brain functions at too high a level, there's always booze.
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stormcat
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« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2011, 08:07:20 PM »

If your brain functions at too high a level, there's always booze.

Ironic you should say this. My best riding occurs when I'm mildly tranquilized by painkillers.
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« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2011, 08:09:18 PM »

It's all well and good to say, "don't think too much." But if you're prone to over thinking and over analyzing things and have actually been trained to do so, it's not a habit easily broken.

A cohort who seems to have exactly the same over thinking problem you're describing recently had a breakthrough after we sent her to go tear around on a little motocross track on a big-wheel 85 a few times before our last trackday.  The dirt is seriously effective.
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stormcat
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« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2011, 08:10:53 PM »

It's all well and good to say, "don't think too much." But if you're prone to over thinking and over analyzing things and have actually been trained to do so, it's not a habit easily broken.

A cohort who seems to have exactly the same over thinking problem you're describing recently had a breakthrough after we sent her to go tear around on a little motocross track on a big-wheel 85 a few times before our last trackday.  The dirt is seriously effective.

If I eat dirt this coming weekend at the track, it won't be on a dirt bike. So let's hope that doesn't happen!  Wink
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« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2011, 09:00:22 PM »

It come down to this, A famous Ball player Ted Williams, was asked what he thinks about when hitting. His answer.  "It's better that you don't think too much if you don't think too good".

Same goes for riding.

FOG

Yogi Berra said it best.......Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical.  Grin
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Forbin
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« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2011, 11:57:43 AM »

It's been my experience that SR's kick in when something unexpected happens. Once it happens at least once, and you're able to analyze why it happened and what to do in response, it's no longer unexpected. You can recognize what's happening and execute a plan to deal with it.

The longer you ride while pushing your limits, the more you go through this cycle, the more your proficiency increases, and the the less numerous your SR triggers become.

---

My most recent SR event was a few weeks ago. I got an awesome start, I knew in my mind I was going to brake for T1 at the 2 board, and then turn in shortly after the 1 board. When my throttle stuck open, that threw a huge wrench in my plan and I lost my cool, grabbing a handful of brake. Now that it's happened, and looking back, I know the proper response would have been to try and forcefully close the throttle, and only start braking once the throttle was closed, possibly making use of the paved runoff area. Furthermore, since this particular case was triggered by a mechanical issue, I've taken steps to prevent it from happening in the first place by installing a proper aftermarket quick-turn throttle assembly.

Probably my worst SR event to date was on May 31, 2010, and it involved two separate SR events in rapid succession. I experienced a sudden front end oscillation after hitting a bump on entry at full lean. I probably would have been okay if I just stayed in it, but I chose to try and stabilize it by standing the bike up. When I then ran off track, I saw the tire wall coming up and stomped on the rear brake in an effort to slow down on the dirt, avoid hitting the tire wall, and avoid falling down. I was still leaned over slightly, so the rear slid out and flipped me over in a highside, breaking my collarbone. If I'd kept my cool, I may have been able to use my front brake to better effect and, at worst, risked a lowside.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2011, 12:08:35 PM by Forbin » Logged
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« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2011, 12:26:57 PM »

It's all well and good to say, "don't think too much." But if you're prone to over thinking and over analyzing things and have actually been trained to do so, it's not a habit easily broken.

I agree.  My brain is always going through "cause and effect scenarios".  Great for problem solving but not great for things like this.

How to train my brain to not do this is in these kind of scenarios is what I'm after.

BTW, good luck this weekend.
 
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stormcat
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« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2011, 12:31:32 PM »

BTW, good luck this weekend.

Thanks.  Smiley  Since my little slide and continued failure to shake off the heebie-jeebies from it, I think I need to be in the slowest green group now. I'll work my way out of it by Saturday afternoon though.

The plan: don't think too much! And visualize everything going smoothly... and quickly.
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« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2011, 12:38:19 PM »

donno about T6, but STT has a general rule: You don't get bumped out of Novice/slow group.

Because it's more of a education track riding class than it is an actual trackday group. keep that in mind when expecting you'll get bumped out.

GL
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stormcat
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« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2011, 12:41:53 PM »

donno about T6, but STT has a general rule: You don't get bumped out of Novice/slow group.

Because it's more of a education track riding class than it is an actual trackday group. keep that in mind when expecting you'll get bumped out.

GL

I'm not talking about getting bumped into yellow. I mean, I expect to be in the slowest green group. They break up the greens into fastest, fast, no business being on a track. Unless I'm confused by what you mean. That's possible.
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« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2011, 12:52:38 PM »

maybe i'm confused by what you mean. color coding doesn't really mean much to me as MotoVid shuffles them around.

for instance, at a typical Motovid trackday we have 4 groups running 13 minute intervals each (1 minute grid clearance post and prior to traffic).

ADVANCE (typically Blue color stickers) runs a sub 1:15 pace
INTERMEDIATE 1 (Green Stickers, usually) runs a sub 1:30 pace
INTERMEDIATE 2 (Orange Stickers, usually) also runs a sub 1:30 pace, but sometimes they split this group depending on attendance that day... so maybe as slow as a 1:35
NOVICE (almost always yellow stickers) are the first time trackday riders, or riders who need consistency work. they run times ranging from 1:50's to 1:30's

by the sounds of it, T6 runs 3 novice groups in itself... but at seperate times? donno about that. if they are all on track at the same time, i just call that Novice group.

Three 15 minute groups then (2:30 for track clearance at Calabogie (big track)):

Slow - Grouping break-ups by gridding (Exactly like STT, BTW, slowest in the back, fastest up front, everyone leaves at same time)
Fast - A Gamish of everyone at the same time
FuckingFast - Also.
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stormcat
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« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2011, 01:06:37 PM »

Yeah, it's broken into three groups here too.

Red: advanced.
Yellow: intermediate
Green: newbs

They break it down even further amongst the greens to accommodate for years of riding experience, how you fare on the track, yadda, yadda. E.g., the first day at Calabogie they put me in the fastest green group, which is when I went off-roading. They bumped me down to the fast group after that and the pace was great. The next day they stuck me in the slowest of the green groups with those riders who had no business being at the track, period. They needed parking lot practice, if anything. Then I just wanted to go home and I was all pissed off and almost rear-ended that guy twice. Remember?

I don't know if they break up the yellows and reds the same way as they do the green.
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« Reply #15 on: August 08, 2011, 01:14:22 PM »

yes i remember. makes sense to me now. i thought they were having like 5 separate groups on track throughout the day. i thought to myself, "for as much as they charge, you sure don't get very much track time..."

but it sounds structured exactly like a STT day. ...just not logistically run the same way Wink
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stormcat
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« Reply #16 on: August 08, 2011, 01:21:23 PM »

The organizer emailed me today to confirm that I was coming this weekend. I told her I feel I need to be in the slowest green group now and told her about my lowside. Thankfully I didn't let her put me in the CRG2 (intermediate - yellow) like she was trying to talk me into.  Shocked

I'm sure I'll be fine in no time, though. Just need to suck it up and get back out there.

Back to the thread topic, I'd love to know how riders crash and just get back on and go fast again. Like, how the heck do you do that?!
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« Reply #17 on: August 08, 2011, 01:24:26 PM »

I watched a TV show on this a while back on the discovery channel. Fighter pilots and race car drivers all share a similar ability to clear their minds of distractions and simply focus on the required tasks of riding, driving or flying. Interestingly they found people who showed slight (non debilitating) symptoms of ADD showed exceptional performance and focus in high excitement/high stress situations. Apparently the chemicals our body releases in fight or flight mode overwhelms a normal brain and causes panic however in an ADD brain it simply pushes it into optimum functioning mode - apparently why most ADD medications seek to mimic these chemicals the body naturally produces.

 
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Forbin
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« Reply #18 on: August 08, 2011, 01:49:02 PM »

Back to the thread topic, I'd love to know how riders crash and just get back on and go fast again. Like, how the heck do you do that?!

See my previous post. It's all down to eliminating SR triggers. That doesn't mean you have to crash to learn. Just recognize when something unexpected happens, analyze your response to it, think about what you should have done better, and form a plan for when that previously unexpected event happens again. Think about that plan for a good long while, even imagining yourself executing it. The next time it happens, you'll be surprised how quickly you respond with your planned action.

It's really tough when you're starting out because all of your senses are being assaulted constantly and that's enough to trigger SR's on its own, even when the bike is totally stable. I had a small leg up in that I spent about 6 years sim racing in Live for Speed. Even as one of the top drivers in the world in that game, it still wasn't enough to prepare me for the assault on my body and senses. It didn't help that, in the sim, I was used to being able to go as fast as I wanted into a corner, crash, and just gradually back my pace off till I didn't crash anymore. That wasn't going to fly in real life for obvious reasons.

Knowing the track and having very precise reference points helps a lot too. Being lost on the track is another major SR trigger.
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stormcat
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« Reply #19 on: August 08, 2011, 02:01:47 PM »

It's really tough when you're starting out because all of your senses are being assaulted constantly [...]

That's a good way to put it. When I explained to the one instructor the first day that I found everything I needed to focus on as being confusing, he looked at me like I had three heads.
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« Reply #20 on: August 08, 2011, 02:04:48 PM »

It's really tough when you're starting out because all of your senses are being assaulted constantly and that's enough to trigger SR's on its own, even when the bike is totally stable.
Aint that the truth.

Ive only been riding for about 4 years, and the 7R is the first bike ive REALLY wound out. Ive ridden bigger and faster bikes, but a they are not mine i was super careful with them.

The sheer volume of the exhaust screaming at speed alone is enough to induce just the tiniest amount of panic in the back of my mind. Add to that the arm pulling acceleration throwing me back against the passenger seat, the WIND NOISE, and it becomes a little more than that tiny creeping feeling at the back of your neck. It isnt fear, but it is a matter of knowing every 100 RPM brings me that much closer to killing myself over something dumb.

Im not afraid of the bike, im not afraid of going fast as fuck either (been there, done that). But I know that doing so even in the middle of nowhere with a solid mile+ of corn field on both sides with no possibility of someone pulling out is still excessive, dangerous, and stupid. I guess my better judgment starts to overcome the stupid power of the bike, and thats a good thing if you ask me.

I like to make sure I have enough room to slow down carefully to the speed limit before coming up on the first driveway in the road. To me its way more than enough to be able to get that out of it, and I like to keep my margin for error larger than the situation requires.
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« Reply #21 on: August 08, 2011, 03:25:02 PM »

Hey Squidge,
You ought to try it with 20 other guys all wanting the same piece of pavement. The race starts used to be terrifying when I first started racing.
   When I was close to retirement, they (race starts) were the only fun part. Can you say adrenilin burn out?

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« Reply #22 on: August 08, 2011, 03:26:15 PM »

maybe you should have crept into the middleweights or lights (650's) then FOG.
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« Reply #23 on: August 08, 2011, 03:31:18 PM »

Well I'll tell you racing EXs was no beginner class. We had many of the so called fast guys come to cherry pick the production twins class, only to leave with their tails tucked firmly up their asses.
When you get a EX close to the lap record for the class, I can assure you it is real racing.

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« Reply #24 on: August 08, 2011, 03:36:27 PM »

...so how come it was boring...
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