Sports Psychology for cyclists

- improve your cycling performance 

Sports Psychologists have become more and more popular in cycling over the last few years - helping cyclists and cycle teams to perform better, more consistently. In the era of marginal gains, your mind contributes much more than a marginal amount to your performance.

Get in touch to book a sports psychology consultation for your cycling

- in London UK, by video call or telephone

Cycling is a massively physical sport, there is no doubt about this. When you ride, your physiology is challenged, especially when you cycle hard (intensely) and/or far. But, just because your body is doing a lot of work, this doesn't mean that your mind doesn't have a lot to contend with and contribute to how you do - in training and racing.

 

For instance, before a race, your mind goes into overdrive thinking about how you will do, how others will do, whether you will crash... You will likely experience an increase in stress, anxiety and agitation. In the majority of cycle races you have plenty of time to think. To think constructive thoughts. To focus on what is helpful. Or, to wind yourself up more. Become distracted into what is not going to help... When you ride, you are always thinking. 

Cycling covers many disciplines, which each have overlapping, but somewhat different psychological demands and challenges. There's the track and velodrome riding, which can be short explosive individual or team sprints, head-to-head sprints, individual or team time-trials, the keirin riding behind the motorised derny bike, madison and omnium. Beyond the velodrome, there are road races, time-trials, cross-country mountain biking, downhill mountain biking and BMX races. The need to cope with the pressure of competition is common across all disciplines. So is the risk of accidents and signficant injuries. Which when suffered, often cause significant pain along with psychological problems such as a drop in confidence, increase in fear or anxiety, a tentativeness or phobic avoidance of ride scenarios that remind the rider of the accident, or even more limiting post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) reactions. These responses are often confusing as well as deeply unpleasant. They are treatable and examples of the help that I as a Clinical Sports Psychologist can help riders to overcome.

On a personal note, as a youth, I loved my BMX, being fortunate to have a BMX track in my home town and a quarter-pipe ramp in my own driveway. I rode my bike whenever I could. As I finished my degree in Psychology in Sheffield, I swapped my mountain bike and rides in the Peak District, for a road bike and got into triathlons. For the last 20-years, I have competed in triathlons every year but one year. With several races at the European and World championships, I have plenty personal experience of riding a bike and managing my own performances. 

As a Sports Psychologist, I have helped many cyclists over the years to better manage their mind, their events and their performances. This has included amateurs and professionals. I've worked with road racers, time-trialists, track cyclists, BMXers and more. I have written for, provided expert comment for or answered reader's questions in Cycling Weekly, Cycling Plus, The Cyclist... 

I know what you are going through and the psychology of cycling.

On this page, you will learn:

 

Read on, or get in touch with me to book your Sports Psychology for cycling assessment appointment - remotely by video call (Skype, WhatsApp), telephone, or in London UK. It would be great to hear from you.

Ten ways Sports Psychology can help your cycling

 

  1. Become clearer about why you compete, what motivates you, setting-up training and racing to foster maximum motivation

  2. Develop images and visualise your performance, to better manage performances and increase confidence

  3. Manage pre-race tension and worry so you arrive at your event fresh, ready and keen to perform

  4. Develop routines for before the race and any down time, so you gain more control and consistency over your performances

  5. Focus on the elements that are key for your optimum performance, without getting distracted by irrelevant factors or what others are up to

  6. Better manage your emotions (stress, frustration, anger...) associated with competition

  7. Develop bullet-proof confidence in your ability, performance and bounce-back-ability following any setbacks

  8. Set effective goals for the year, month and next training session to shape your behaviour and focus, leading you to faster improvement

  9. Process crashes and injuries so they do not make you overly phobic, tentative or anxious

  10. Manage periods of poor form so you get back to your best

There are many other ways that sports psychology can help your cycling performances. I list these 10 ways to give you some ideas. Maybe within this list you are seeing some ways that I as a sports psychologist can help you. Get in touch, to find out how I can help.

 
 

Manage your cycling anxiety, nerves and stress

Usually, pre-race tension builds in the hours and days before an important (to you) event. Your mind, diet and sleep are all affected by your rising levels of stress.

Your frame of mind has a large bearing on how you perform and the outcome of your race (your position and your enjoyment, or misery).

Your performance can be affected to a large extent by how stressed you are during the event (e.g., your race weekend). By stressed, I mean:

  • How much tension you hold in your muscles. Tension will make your movements and biomechanics less efficient.

  • How much adrenaline is coursing through your veins: some is good, too much and this can put you out of your comfort zone, distracting you from your race strategy, as you wonder what on earth is going on with your body.

  • How positive you are: are you expecting things to go badly, to start poorly, to go behind, let yourself or others down, make a fool of yourself…? Lining yourself up for a self-fulfilling prophecy!

 

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If you wait until race day to start managing your stress, you will almost certainly be too late to do anything significant about it - particularly if you have not already developed robust stress management strategies to draw on. This is a common problem for cyclists - of any discipline. 

I have developed a Sport Stress Management Program it is available to download straight-away, to tackle your stress, anxiety, panic, tension… for your cycling. The program is available to download straight-away. It addresses the three important areas:

  1. Physical tension (with not just one, but three proven physical relaxation techniques)

  2. Stress-related thinking

  3. Unhelpful stress-related behaviour (what you do or don’t do)

This program is based on the stress management courses that I researched, developed and taught within the NHS. It is based on what works. You can get this all for less than £20. It comes with a no quibble, 100% money-back guarantee. That is because I am confident that it will help you. Go ahead and order your stress solution today.

Alternatively, if you want more tailored help for your stress, or any other area of psychology that is impacting on your performance or life as an athlete, then do get in touch. I can help you in London, or wherever you are by a remote consultation. I look forward to hearing from you.

Dr Victor Thompson

Clinical Sports Psychologist

Tel (UK): 07979 622537

help@sportspsychologist.com

© 2018 by Dr Victor Thompson