than the obvious, like talent and good looks, have you ever thought about what
truly separates the winners from the losers on the racetrack, or the successful
from the mediocre in everyday life? Sure, a lot of success and failure has to
do with things that you can’t necessarily control, like natural talent
or how you’re physically put together, but the rest of it has to do with
things you can control. Besides the obvious things that are controllable, like
training, practicing, studying, and working hard, one other key ingredient often
is overlooked: a positive attitude and a strong outlook on life. Remember, a
good training program consists of four components: cardio conditioning, muscular
endurance training, flexibility, and training of the mind (i.e., attitude).
Most people who are serious about MX have the first three down pat. It’s
the last one that seems to get overlooked, and it is quite possibly the most
powerful of the group.
Journey Starts With a Step
beginning of any journey always starts with a first step. In MX, this first
step starts with training your mind and attitude. All the natural talent and
physical training in the world will only get you so far for so long. After that,
only the mentally strong will truly succeed. A positive attitude and tough mental
state are keys to a good training program. Bad news is everywhere, and it’s
difficult not let all of the negative news affect your attitude. This tends
to make you pessimistic about life in general and, in turn, your training program.
A bad attitude leads to bad habits, which lead to bad results on and off the
track. A very important part of any training program is first making the decision
that you want to become a better rider by committing yourself to a training
program. Then you must learn how to develop an attitude that will keep you committed
to your goals.
or Negative, Which Are You?
you tend to be a negative person, you must first identify your poor habits and
remove them from your life. Pay close attention to how you interpret events
that surround you. Your attitude is formed by how you interpret different situations
in life. By paying close attention to how you process the information around
you, you will be able to identify whether you are a positive person or a negative
one. When a difficult situation presents itself, do you look at the situation
as a pessimist or an optimist? Do you see the opportunity as a chance to fail
or to succeed? Your attitude is shaped by the way you perceive reality, and
ultimately, your attitude is made up of your thoughts and feelings.
your thoughts ultimately control your actions, the thoughts that you fill your
head with are very important. Usually in life, the quick, easy way will give
you instant gratification that fades quickly, while hard work and dedication
have no immediate gratification but will lead to lasting success in the future.
If you think negatively toward training and give into instant gratification,
you are letting your negative thoughts control your actions. Instant gratification
is a sign of a weak mind. If you condition your mind to remain positive, your
actions will lead you down the path toward success.
the Mind Like a Muscle
positive attitude is not simply developed by waking up one day and saying, “Today
I am going to be positive.” Although the brain is an organ, it can be
trained like a muscle. Over time, you have to condition your mind to develop
positive thoughts. Developing positive thoughts requires a great deal of energy
and time and will require you to live the lifestyle of an athlete. Training,
diet, riding, and all of the other ingredients necessary to become a successful
rider (or person, for that matter) must be part of your daily life. You have
to live the life of a champion to become a champion. I believe this applies
to every aspect of life, not just on the track. If you condition your mind on
a daily basis like you do the rest of your body, eventually the positive thought
process will become natural. A strong, positive attitude will replace the weak,
negative one. But in order for this to happen, you have to be willing to make
the commitment and work every day on your attitude.
Thoughts Breed Positive Actions
a positive outlook toward your training program goes hand-in-hand with a positive
attitude. If you dread doing your workouts and can’t wait for the hour
and a half to be complete, then you need to reevaluate whether or not you really
want to be successful at MX. By telling yourself each day that you don’t
want to go to the gym and that you don’t enjoy training, you are filling
your head with negative thoughts and are setting yourself up for failure. By
thinking negatively toward training, you are conditioning your mind to accept
negative thoughts. By telling yourself that you don’t want to train, you
will most likely look for the easy way out during your workouts and become inconsistent
and unproductive. This leads to failure. If, on the other hand, you are serious
about your race results, you need to develop a positive attitude about training.
Instead of dreading your workout, focus on how a good hard workout is going
to lead to better race results. Instead of looking forward to the end of your
workout, develop an attitude that your are invincible, and nothing is going
to stop you from reaching your goals. Accept the fact that training is not necessarily
fun and easy but difficult and grueling. By realizing this and remaining positive
you are conditioning your mind to be mentally tough and able to cope with negative
events. By getting through a tough workout and realizing that you didn’t
give up, you are conditioning your mind to be mentally tough and soon a positive
attitude will become natural.
a tough mental state is part of a good attitude. By training hard and pushing
yourself to your limit each workout, you are conditioning your mind to deal
with pain and adversity. The next time you are working out and feel like you
can’t go any further, condition your mind to accept the fact that you
continue on and work even harder. This mental toughness will carry
over to the racetrack and keep you digging for more as the moto wears on. When
your arms feel like noodles and your lungs are on fire, you will be more likely
to keep charging as the rest of the pack gives in. Because of your positive
attitude and tough mental state you will be able to endure more pain and adversity
on the track than your competitors. Proper training, and a tough mental attitude
will not necessary make you faster; but it will make you faster longer.
me it’s easy in professional MX to determine who will be successful and
who will be a flash in the pan. Guys like RC, Bubba, Chad Reed, Kevin Windham,
Davi Millsaps, Jeremy McGrath, John Dowd, Mike Alessi, and Doug Henry, to name
a few, all train differently, have their own thoughts and beliefs on how to
succeed in MX, and all have had varying degrees of success and failure on and
off the track. I only know of these guys from what I read and observe, but I’m
willing to bet that these past, present, and future champions all have at least
one thing in common: a great attitude and strong mindset.
only have to look as far as RC this year in supercross to see a great example
of what a positive attitude can get you. Bubba
and Chad Reed
are equally talented,
if not more so, and yet somehow, week after week, RC comes out on top. Maybe
not in each race, but that’s not the ultimate goal; the championship is.
Each week, I listen to RC talk about what he can
do to get better, not
what he can’t
do. He continually fills his head with positive thoughts
and always strives to be better. The opposite is true of the guys that never
live up to their potential and quickly disappear from the spotlight. Their common
thread is usually a poor attitude and weak mind.
All Up to You
of the great things about motocross is that it is an individual sport. Although
you may have a team of dedicated people behind you, once you throw your leg
over the bike and hit the track, things are mostly up to you. If you don’t
have the mental fortitude to push yourself past your limits each and every day,
then ultimately, you only have yourself to blame if you fail to meet your goals.
In a world that gets more and more competitive each day, a good attitude and
tough mental state are absolutely imperative if you want to be successful in
the game of life.
luck with your training, and as always, VT can be reached anytime at [email protected].
In addition, be sure to check out the Racer X archives
section, your complete one-stop information zone for motocross fitness. Archives
before November 2005 can be found here.