By USAC Level 1 and TrainingPeaks Certified ALP Coach Jennifer Sharp
When I first started racing a decade ago, cyclingnews.com had a section in their website dedicated to mental training. I gravitated to this section more than tech reviews or race results - I wanted to know what I could do to train my mind to become a champion.
Since discovering a love and passion for all things sport psychology related, my bookshelves and mind are filled with mental tools I'd like to share. Below are a few tips to help you step it up this coming season and prepare for any goals you may have.
Surround yourself with positive people and those you admire.
We all have cycling heroes, both locally and abroad. I'm fortunate to work with Alison Powers, the only person in history to win all three USA National Championships in one year and who has mastered teaching technical skills. I learn something new every time I'm around her. What I admire most is that she's upbeat, positive and loves to teach. Her demeanor has a positive impact on how I approach coaching and training. Surround yourself with people you look up to and that are positive.
Observe habits and ask questions.
What is it about successful riders that put them ahead of the rest? What do they do in their down time? What are they reading? How often do they drink while on the bike? What do they do for their mental training? Try some of their habits on for size and see which ones work for you.
We are headed to Tucson in January for a 7 day training camp. Want to join us? We have a few spots left to fill. The focus will be base miles, 3-5hrs daily and can be tailored toward individual goals and needs. As always, we will include skills training- riding in a group, time trialing, cornering, climbing, and sprinting. Each evening we will have a athlete/coach meeting and a group discussion about training, racing, nutrition, mental preparation, coffee, etc. For more details click here.
Find a mentor. Or two. Or three.
Mentoring is a personal development relationship in which a more experienced/knowledgable person helps guide a less experienced/knowledgable person. Having multiple mentors can help broaden your knowledge. A mentor is different than a coach since it is relationship based verses task oriented. You hire a cycling coach to get better at cycling. And a mentor can shed some light on cycling but also focuses on the bigger picture.
Be open to other learning opportunities such as other sports. Broadening your perspectives can open up new ways of thinking and approaches. Try looking into tennis, golf, basketball or even Formula One to get a grasp of high performance. People are doing incredible things in all areas of life - don't limit yourself to just learning from cyclists. Study the greats and you can learn new insights.
If you want to step things up this next season, look to those who inspire and motivate you to figure out what they're doing right and implement it in your mental training. Greatness awaits!
Located in the mountains of Colorado, ALP Cycles Coaching has over 25 years of professional sports experience. We believe coaching is much more than a training plan. We provide an all-encompassing program to make you a smarter and stronger well-rounded athlete. We take pride in offering an elevated coach/athlete communication relationship through phone calls, e-mail updates, and data analysis for each workout. This "hands on coaching" approach includes athlete training rides, strength training, skill sessions, and opportunities to join training camps and clinics. All of this in addition to your personalized training plan will arm you to reach your goals and beyond!