To make themselves feel comfortable and confident, top competitors in many different sports utilize a personalized pre-race (or pre-game) routine to help them perform at their best. Routines are not the same as rituals, a routine is a structured plan designed to help you reach your optimum performance while a ritual relies on superstition to control your performance (things like not washing your “lucky” socks or stepping on a crack). In other words a routine helps you take control of your performance while rituals assume fate (not you) will control your ride/race.
This was originally written for a downhill mtb team I coached but works equally well for all mountain bike riding and xc racing. A big key goal is to eliminate thoughts that will distract you and put youself in the poper mind state to ride with confidence!
Your pre-race routine should make you comfortable in strange/new surroundings, build your confidence, eliminate stress, and prepare you to do your best. I have listed many common practices to get you started but you must experiment and find out what works best for you. This is another aspect of racing where keeping a journal can really help you find out what works..
c. Remember, only concern yourself with what you control (which basically is your equipment and your riding) worrying about how your competition will ride is a big waste of time because you have no control over their riding
c. add your own
e. find out what works for you
a. find out what your racing fears are and how to put them to rest (weeks before race) and put. Many people worry about their competition’s performance , remember only concern yourself with what you control
c. Put yourself in optimum mental state for racing (again find out by experimenting while training) many people make a short list or mantra of why they will perform well, (i.e.. I have trained hard all winter for this, I know the course, I’m fast, I will ride my best etc.) also music is a big help to many racers, make a play list of songs that make you feel good!
d. Create an abbreviation for the things that you need to remember to have a good run and tape it to your stem or bars. Mine is B RAILUM which stands for Breath, Relax, Attitude, Intensity, Look Up, and Moto (Moto was my old expression for elbows up and out). Saying B Railum and then thinking about each component of it really helps me focus.
Use this as a rough outline adding what works and getting rid of what doesn’t through experimentation. A well thought out routine will make you confident at the start while your competition worries about their run and wonders why you are so confident.