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Is mindset everything? What is fake or real about how athletes think



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It is true that having a strong, winning, constant and tenacious mindset will bring us much closer to our goals than a weak mentality or one that accepts defeat at the first difficulty. But… Are we seeing the big picture, or is the tree blocking the forest? Does mindset make all the difference for an athlete?

Does having a winning mindset guarantee us “success”?  Without that mindset, is it possible to enjoy and even achieve great things? Do enjoyment and success go hand in hand? Let’s answer this question in this post.

mindet is everything?

What is the mindset?

Let’s take this concept out of marketing phrases and talk about what the mindset really is. The mindset is a way of calling what sports psychology calls “beliefs”.

That is, the way we think about something external (e.g., I think X brand is better than another) or internal (I think I am better than most riders at riding up hills). 

This mindset can be positive, as we have just seen, or a negative one.

We can believe that we are worse than the rest, or worse than so and so, and once that chip is installed in our behavior, we move away from what we believe to be negative and we approach only the positive.

If we believe that we are not good at motocross, we abandon the practice, throw in the towel and give up. The belief sets in and whether it is true or not, it can stay there.


The mindset of a champion

We have plenty of examples of successful athletes, those who appear on magazine covers or have tens of millions of followers on Instagram. It is said that they are where they are because they have a “winning mindset” or the typical “champion mentality.” 

We are told that one day these athletes believed in themselves and the next day they made it, and then we all want the magic formula. But that’s not the whole story and in between remains:

  1. The number of people who also believed they could do the same (or more), but fell by the wayside due to some factor (controllable or not).
  2. The positive mentality is necessary, but what is essential is the work.

What about off-road athletes?

The most typical mistake riders make is to believe they are very good at something or very bad at something, without proof. 

Another common mistake (and it is repeated in motocross, enduro, trial, etc.) is to blame external factors for one’s successes or failures, and here the goat is usually the bike.

It is clear that the machine is important, but if you want to progress, your mindset should focus on what you can control and improve.

At POWERING we are committed to empowering riders because we understand that the most important thing is the rider and his tools.

You can have the latest model of the most powerful and powerful bike on the market, but what makes you a better rider comes from you and nothing and no one else.

So, a good option to change the mindset is to stop thinking that the bike lacks power, has too much weight, or brakes badly.

That may be true, but it’s also true that there are plenty of things you can do to adapt. 

Maybe you can’t buy a new bike, but you can learn to ride it at higher revs and get stronger by training your physique with our app, working on the 8 skills that no rider should be without (whether you’re a pro or the most amateur of amateurs).

Want to drastically improve how you riding skills?

If you believe you can, you can?

There is a constant bombardment of motivational phrases that go for a positive mindset such as “I can because I believe I can” if you believe and work, you can and other little messages, which, besides, look great on a mug, a notebook or an agenda.

Let’s stop for a moment and think about the effect they have on how to train our mindset. If one day after another you are told: “you can be European champion”, “you can get the job of your boss’s boss”, or “you can get an A in everything”.

The formula there shows you that just by believing and working hard to achieve it, you will get it, and what at first glance seems to be successful almost in your hands, can become a hindrance by setting expectations, instead of aiming at a work process.

The day-to-day is more complex than formulas and it is far from what we are told. And here comes the failure of the phrases in the cups and windows of bars: they just told you that if you believe you can, that if you want you can.

But then it turns out that you believe, that you want to reach a goal and you don’t achieve it. Whose fault is it?  If you’ve bought into the “I can because I think I can” lie, then you’re the one to blame. Then get ready for frustration, demotivation, and anxiety.

How do you solve it? By being aware that the goal you have set for yourself is far beyond what is in your control and you will never control. You planned an entire motocross season and a worldwide pandemic appeared in the middle, or you just don’t always have 100 percent of your energy available. 

So you slow the bike down, look at the big picture and start thinking about how to set a better strategy and better assimilate the setbacks and successes, more genuinely. 

 fellow travelers

How to train your mindset? Do mindset hacks exist?

The first thing you need to know is that the evolution of your mindset is not an end but a means to achieve something and that mindset hacks do not exist. What does exist is the possibility of setting goals, which cannot be just anything, but must have some characteristics.

  1. They must be incredibly concrete, and therefore measurable. For example, the speed with which you work the curves, how you braking, how you accelerate, how much time you gain or lose there. Or even easier to measure: lower your lap time.
  2. You have to break with future frustration. Goals have to be important, motivating, but always achievable. If you are an amateur athlete, it would not be a good example to say that next year you will beat Mario Roman. But it would be a good example to consider an organization to train every day that establishes your planning before each race.

We are not going to deny it: we like risk.

We love that feeling of defying control on the bike or the motorcycle, and we can assume the sometimes inevitable: the fall. 

What does this have to do with the mindset, beliefs, or “motivational” phrases? Everything.

Rider, whether you realize it or not you are doing mindset exercises all the time when you get on the bike. We carry in our DNA this contradiction that if something goes wrong we could hurt ourselves, but yet we keep pushing forward, and that’s just fantastic and speaks to your strength.

Why do we do it? Because we love the feeling that sport gives us back, they do us good and we feel they are worth it.

If you have any doubts about whether your mindset is the right one, we can always tell you that it’s always possible to train. 

If you are reading this and you are as fond of off-road as we are, rest assured: your mindset will take you far.

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