The ability to focus allows you to maintain concentration over a period of time and tune-in to what you need to and tune-out the rest. There are many different factors to focus on while you are on your bike. Figuring out what cues to tune-in and which ones to tune-out can be challenging. To be a successful racer you need to be able to control your thoughts and focus on the things that help you perform your best.
Dealing with Distractions
Your ability to control your focus and deal with distractions can make the difference between…..
….having a great race and being miserable. There are two types of factors that can break your focus (if you let them!): external factors and internal factors.
External Factors: These are things that are outside of you that can break your focus.
External factors include the weather, crowd noise, other competitors, etc.
Internal Factors: These are things that are inside of you that can break your focus. Internal factors include negative thoughts, emotions, past performances, etc.
“There comes a time in every race when a competitor meets the real opponent, and understands that it’s himself.” Lance Armstrong
Oftentimes the things that distract you the most are completely out of your control. If you choose to focus on things that are not under your control, you are wasting precious energy that could be better used for the next climb. By focusing on the things that are in your control, like your attitude and your reaction to the situation, you are focusing on the things that will help you to ride your best.
The above paragraphs come from an article written by Carrie Cheadle for Team Swift, Junior Development Cycling Team. This is a strong, practical article that goes on to discuss critical moments and focus cues as well as some practical exercises to help you optimize your focus when it counts. Here’s the full article.