In recent years, sports psychology has grown in popularity among amateur and elite athletes. And for those of us looking to improve our bike skills, from popping a wheelie to cornering with ease, there are some key tactics that sports psychologists and mental consultants swear by for their clients. Let’s look at a few!
You may have heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals already—ones that are Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Timely. But have you really looked at your cycling goals and made sure that they fit that model? Most of us have a goal tied to a race result—i.e. finishing on the podium at a local mountain bike race. Or maybe it’s something like ‘Impress my partner with my mad bike skills,’ or ‘Show off on the group ride.’ While those are great, they’re also so vague that it’s going to be hard to hit those markers. A goal that depends on a race finish is tough because you...
Why am I posting this old school crash? Good question - and I have a good reason below. It links to my work as a coach for a customer base that is largely 'middle age'.
This happened way back during the filming of Reed Merschat's trials film Evolve. I was pushing not only my own limits but the sports. Driven by the curiosity of what's possible and the potential notoriety and relative fame that might come as a result.
At that age, barely 20, no one could stop me. I'm now 38 and priorities have changed. I invested in an exploration of what's possible physically early in my life HOWEVER many people have left this exploration until later in life. And they're charged up!
You can learn a lot about who you are by exploring your physical potential, but the process comes with risk and usually injury. It turns out injuries are a big part of this deeper learning about who we are.
Can you relate to this?
I certainly had many...
Unlike snow, fresh dirt doesn’t fall from the sky. It’s fun to skid, but skids drag dirt off trails - which may anger the trail gods. Yes some trails (machine built flow) are designed to withstand some sliding around, but many trails aren't.
What other options do you have beyond skids or powerslides for tight switchbacks?
Learning rotating stoppies and nose pivots will bring powerful solutions to tech trail challenges - and bring stoke to trail builders! My goal? Help riders learn these challenging skills gradually and safely
Learn more about these skills and a rad new course here.
If you can already ride stoppies, let others know what it feels like in the comment section below. Is it worth learning?
Filmed and edited by Jonathan Duncan
Guest coach Thomas provides clear reasoning why these techniques go far beyond just style and fun!
The wind wants you to improve - it wants you to be able to storm over a fallen tree, without hesitation. Logs are opportunities, not problems. Each has its' own reason for being there, and maybe one of those reasons is for your skill improvement - trail crews however are quick to cut them up and take them away - removing that technical skill development opportunity.
My point is, go towards the challenge so you can discover your weakness, work with it. Soon there won't be much mother nature can do to cause you to get off your bike - just hope that the trail crew didn't find your challenge before you had a chance to challenge it! And know that if you decide not to try, you may have passed up your last chance at that unique practice opportunity. Ride ON!
Why do we ride? For fun.
When we have fun, we naturally improve. When we watch better riders we get inspired, and when we receive coaching from them it boosts our learning curve, and we begin having even more fun. This fun level didn't exist previously, it was only created through continued curiosity, dedication, and a genuine fascination with the magic of mountain biking. Never lose sight of this root of fun and play. Ride ON!
How can you resist? You have the skills, and the lines you imagine are just waiting there to be ridden by YOU. They speak to you and say "I'm ridable, come play". You ask yourself, 'What could go wrong?' And whatever comes to mind needs to be dampened by another question, which is, 'What could go right?'. If you stay open, creative and curious, then fun optional lines will begin to show up everywhere. Ride ON!
By Molly Hurford - Coach & Ambassador
You’ve already signed up for the Ryan Leech Connection (RLC), so you’ve taken the first step towards improving your bike skills. But unfortunately, just signing up doesn’t guarantee results: you have to show up consistently, both in terms of watching the skills videos and moving through the courses, and actually getting outside to practice. Whether you’ve been training for years already or you’re a complete newbie, there are a few ways to get the most out of your membership. Let’s dive in!
Make It Easy
Why don’t people get outside to practice, or watch a new video every day? Because life gets in the way. The bike is dirty. I forgot my password. I got sidetracked checking email. Set yourself up for success instead. Have your bike and necessary gear (helmet, shoes) by the door so you’re always ready to get outside at a moment’s notice. If you’re the type of person who gets...
Retreat: My annual two-week screen-free holiday is over and new riding adventures await, more on that below… My online business is a labor of love - I pour huge amounts of computer time in to operate it. If you’re logging loads of screen time have you considered an extended break from all things electronic?
Ideas: For me, ideas flow differently when I’m free from the constant information stream of the internet. I used paper to capture my thoughts and dreams instead of with apps like trello, keep and slack. Stress busting bike rides trigger different thought patterns too, but disconnecting completely for a couple weeks is totally refreshing!
Vanlife: Turns out that it's in the best interest of my customers and sponsors to create video content on a variety of terrain types and trail networks ;-) ...So why not live and work on the road for extended periods of time? I have a new truck and a camper unit being built for it. Truly a mountain bikers dream...
From August 20 - September 3rd I'll be on my annual unplugged retreat, free from all things electronic. I highly value this time offline with my family, in fact it was on this retreat four years ago that I conceived the idea for the 30 Day Wheelie Challenge.
I recorded a Summer Update video, one take and first try ;-) In it I provide some reflection of the past year and some insight on where things are heading - it’s about 7 minutes of me rambling on about RLC!
The coach and ambassador team is ready to go in lieu of my absence, so keep firing away questions and reflections. I’ve also prepared a new skill drill challenge which will be shared next week!
High Fives Everyone!