A three part series of blogs where I will share my thoughts on Mindset and the capacity to grow in this area as well as the techniques I am using to enhance my confidence and improve my mindset on race day.
So how does your mindset affect your confidence, well now racing in my 12th year of international cycling I believe that mindset plays a massive role in performance. Physiology is huge in cycling and performance however at the top level I believe the difference is made in mindset. Or phrased differently, the mindset can influence the physiology to a greater degree than what many may realise.
I believe that there is so much information available on how to physically prepare optimally to compete at the highest level, there is an abundance of coaching, training, sport science and many more support systems available for athletes to progress. But working on your mind and your mental approach to training, preparation and racing is where there is untapped potential.
Cycling is a hard sport, if you crash, the peloton doesn’t wait, there are no time outs and if you don’t finish a stage, you can’t sub someone else in. You develop resilience in this sport to keep going no matter what, but to reach the very top echelons of the cycling world you need more than resilience, you need confidence. According to Psychology today: ‘Confidence is a belief in oneself, the conviction that one has the ability to meet life's challenges and to succeed—and the willingness to act accordingly. Being confident requires a realistic sense of one’s capabilities and feeling secure in that knowledge.’ So what does that really mean, I believe relating it to cycling, it means that you really truly believe in your heart that you not only have the ability to perform to a certain standard, but that you feel secure in that belief. Hoping is not confidence.
I have been working on overcoming self doubt and limiting beliefs in order to build my confidence to take on my goals and dreams. Self doubt is propelled to the limelight come race day IF you are not confident in your ability to perform. Everyone has a different story and upbringing that has shaped them into who they are today and also shaped what they believe. I have learnt that having limiting beliefs is something that you can change through different techniques. My own struggles on race day have been gripped by a belief that certain courses are not suited to me even though data or previous performance may counteract that belief. Building confidence is not something to happen overnight but an area that needs constant maintenance, much like physical fitness. I look forward to sharing some skills I have picked up on overcoming self doubt to build confidence next.