BPS Chartered Psychologist

Email: Help@SportsPsychologist.co.uk

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Latest: Dr Victor Thompson holds Sports Psychology workshops at the Professional Motorsport World Expo in Cologne, Germany on the 3rd and 4th November. Learn about how you can perform better and help your team perform better. With a special focus on pit crews and practical techniques for managing stress.

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Motorsport psychology >

Sports psychology to help improve your motorsport performance

Motor sport, in any form, requires the best psychological skills. Focus, concentration, confidence, stress management, the ability to get the best out of your team are some of these mental skills.

The best drivers (or riders) have highly developed and robust psychological skills. But you don't need to be a pro to develop these skills and improve. Here I give some examples of how I can help your performance. There are two sections:

  1. A list of 10 ways sports psychology can help your racing
  2. Examples of performance problems and solutions

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10 ways sports psychology can help your motor racing

  1. Manage pre-race tension and worry so you arrive at the event fresh and ready.
  2. Focus on the elements that are key for your optimum performance, without getting distracted by excessive details, irrelevant factors, or what others are doing.
  3. Develop routines for before the race and any down time so you exert more control and consistency over your performance.
  4. Manage the emotions (stress, frustration...) associated with competition..
  5. Maintain confidence in your ability to hold your performance or bounce-back following setbacks.
  6. Set goals for the year, month and next round or practice to shape what you do, focus your efforts and improve more quickly.
  7. Re-visit why you race, what motivates you, and set-up training and racing to further increase motivation.
  8. Develop images and visualise your performance, this speeds up learning and increases confidence.
  9. Process the experiences that hold you back so you can get back to performing well.
  10. Manage poor performances so they don't cause your race or season to self-destruct.

Performance problems and psychological solutions for motorsport

As you can see there are many ways that sports psychology helps motorsport racing. To give you a further idea of what sports psychology can do I’ve listed some common problems below; along with some of the ways (but by no means all the ways) I try to solve them. Perhaps you will spot your difficulties in some of the descriptions.

Problem: You get yourself worked up into such a state before even minor events that you feel extremely nervous, you want to leave, and sometimes even vomit.

Solution: After a full assessment of the difficult situation and your response we can apply a tailored stress management programme to reduce your physical tension and psychological stress.

Problem: In your last event you performed so badly that your confidence has taken a big fall.

Solution: We can look at that event in detail to understand what sense you’ve made of why it happened, and at the impact it has had on you since. We then produce a stepped plan for you to get back on track, increase your confidence to its previous level (or above) and overcome the setback.

Problem: Your performance is inconsistent over a series of events. You don’t know what you should be doing and thinking about before races.

Solution: There are sports psychology techniques that we can apply to help you identify your effective pre-race routine – this will lead to consistently higher performance.

Problem:Your performance has reached a plateau and hasn’t improved for a while. You set goals but don’t reach them.

Solution: Effective goal setting isn’t simple or a once a year activity. But with help you can learn to set appropriate and achievable goals, set up practice so you are likely to reach them and to conduct appropriate reviews of progress so goals can be lowered or raised over time. You will then be much more likely to achieve them.

Problem: You get distracted at key times of the race weekend (in practice or race).

Solution: We can work on techniques to improve concentration skills, identify the types of factors that distract you, and work on the key areas that will keep you focused when you need to. We will also identify the times when you don't need to concentrate fully on your driving/riding.

Problem: You’ve been racing for a number of years and it has become less exciting and more dull than your remember. Your motivation has gone. You wonder if there is any point of doing this for another year.

Solution: We can review why you race, why you got into motorsport in the first place, and plan the year so it is more focused, fun (yes, it can be) and interesting. These and other techniques can help you to boost motivation and enjoy your racing again.

What next?

Effective · Tailor-made · Professional

Dr Victor Thompson


london sports psychologist contact number