I’ve already discussed the influences of the mind in regard recalling physical skills under panic. Now let’s kinda revers it here and see how you can use physical skills to create more of missing ‘mind-coolness’. Please understand, that your current skill (physical) level is absolutely secondary at this point. The relevance is how you put all those things you have to do to physically ride or race, to action.
Let me make two extreme examples to show you where we heading with this. A total beginner street rider- and a highly paid MotoGP pro racer. This is not a comparison of course, but will point out something which you HAVE to work on yourselves.
So here is our brand new rider ‘Joe’ and the first f’up doesn’t take long (no judgment. We’ve all been there). With harsh in/out movements on the clutch lever, Joe has a hard time finding the
friction zone. His unsteady throttle operation doubles the f up and the outcome is that the bike responses are accordingly. That freaks Joe out, and so the timing window for a up-shift is closed. His bike is screaming now at about 3% throttle opening. Shifting up through the gears is uncoordinated and never right, and this is just to move off. Joe is cornering now, but his down shifts are so out of line that it breaks the momentum. He most of the time ends up pulling the clutch through out the end of turns. That’s because he doesn’t know what gear he’s in and he is afraid that the engine brake will get him down. The inconsistency of brake/throttle put’s the dot on the ‘i’ and his eyes are following EVERY possible distraction. Etc, etc, etc. Ergo: chaos.
Now let’s have a look over the shoulder of MotoGP professional ‘Gusto’. He’s on his 19th lap of the French Grand Prix in Aragon. Gusto is doing a ‘lonely’ race, so no dog-fights etc. His ‘tire management modulus’ is ON, to make sure he’ll gets them trough the rest of the race. Gusto is highly focused now and totally dialed in. His lap times are about 1.2 seconds slower as his best qualifying time. Though, since the beginning of the 2nd lap he’s doing it continuously, in almost identical lap times… one after another, just half a second apart. With a precision of a Swiss watch, Gusto is nailing every braking marker- entry and mid turn. All in the same way and at the right time. All up and down shifts are pretty much in the exact same place. Gusto’s confidence to know that he’ll finish this race this way is rock solid. Everything is dialed in- continuously and harmonized. Ergo: patterns.
Quite a difference in dynamics, huh?!
Now imagine you (NO MATTER if you are a street rider or racer) would ride in a oval. Let’s say you’d do this totally within your comfort zone. Now let’s imagine that you would shift up twice out of turns, and down twice towards turns. Now let’s add a reliable line to it and a decent throttle brake transitions. Now picture you’d do all of this in the same manner, pace and feel at the same time in the same place… over and over again! Now if you’d do that, at that point you have to admit that NOTHING- absolutely nothing could ever go wrong, correct?! I mean look at it… it’s a pattern!
Patterns help to establish muscle memory- muscle memory leads to automatism. The consistency leads to self control. The control not just gives you confidence. It’s also a ‘risk-management’, because you’ll be fine as long you stay within established patterns. In the end it even helps to be more focused, because you might stop overthinking and just take care to perform the very next pattern- then the next- then the next- then the next…
Headcoach Can Akkaya, Superbike-Coach Corp