I’m beginning to write this post as I have yet more questions about Mindfulness echoing around inside my head. It comes up a bit in my coaching, and in the space of a week, I’ve had three lengthy discussions with individuals where it isn’t producing the desired effects, but ‘it should be working’ I’m told.

Once upon a time I sort of thought I had a fairly good idea what it was about, but when I stopped to think about it, I began to wonder..

The wonderings that were coming to mind ranged along the lines of what’s it all about, what do we get from it, all the way to is it really all it’s cracked up to be? 

As the answer, I’m really not that sure, emerged from my gut, I was taken back a little bit. I felt the need to explore this a little and thought it might be useful to write about it while I did so.

In my earlier article What is Rhythm? and in Stage 1 of this series about reading the race circuit, I talk about how one of the most important skills for finding and improving upon your racing performance is being able to read the race circuit effectively. In Stage 1 I gave a brief overview of how we get to know our world and described a way for you to build on what you know by getting different views of the circuit and letting it sink in.

Stage 2 is more about understanding what were you doing and why.

In my article What is Rhythm? I highlight that one of the most important skills for finding good racing performance is being able to read the race circuit effectively. In that article, I describe the race circuit as sheet of music a racer must read to find their rhythm. The racing lines and the way the bike is ridden is an expression of how the circuit has been read by the racer. This depends on perception - how we get to know our world through our senses.

I think that not reading the circuit well is one of the biggest limiting factors to a racer's performance, both in lap times and in their available mental capacity. On the other hand, the best and most successful racers develop very good patterns of circuit reading and they know that this is the foundation of their performance.

Fear..

Just the word is enough to stir up associations that in themselves can strike fear into peoples’ hearts and minds.

Classified as a ‘negative’ emotion that needs to be controlled, overcome, ignored, or let go, we’re told it equals ‘Fight or Flight.’ An ancient rudimentary survival mechanism that, depending on who you ask, is rooted deep down in either our lizard brain or chimp brain. Because of this, it’s now out of date and inferior to our more developed rational thinking brain departments who should really be in charge.

Performance psychology is awash with comments about how fear wrecks performance in almost every area where it counts - in business, in sport, in performing arts, even in education.

But does this actually stand up to scrutiny in the real world?

Graham Hill Bend

In this second part of 'Why you should always walk the circuit', we're going to look at some softer psychological benefits to walking the circuit that racers often don't think about or recognise. The main benefit we're going to talk about is how it can help you to prepare yourself for racing.

Druids to Graham Hill Bend

There are numerous reasons why walking the circuit is so important if you want to a) improve your racing performance, and/or b) have a more enjoyable and rewarding racing experience.

The first, and probably most important reason why you should do this is: it is the only way you can fully develop your circuit knowledge. Let's look at why:

During 2014 I was introduced to Anthony Kirwan and Talan Skeels-Piggins and the newly formed motorcycle race team, Talan Racing. Talan was returning to racing from a pretty major crash at Assen in 2013 and I was asked if I might be able to help with the psychology and performance development of the team.

Given such an opportunity, how could I refuse? So I helped the team out a bit and together we achieved some very good results, with Talan's performance showing consistent improvement. I was then asked if I might work with the team for this season, 2015, as they had some new riders coming onboard and they wanted my continued support. Naturally, I agreed.

What is so remarkable about this team?

I decided to start this blog because so many things are coming up out of my coaching work and I wanted a space to write about them.

My intention is that my blog will follow some different strands which at the moment are something like: