Riding a motorcycle well and with longevity requires 3 primary elements.
Good skill, road-craft (or race-craft) and the right mental approach.
Today we talk about the right mental approach using mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the practice of bringing your attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment.
High performing companies such as Adobe, Facebook and Google, now have their own meditation groups to practise mindfulness, improving the health and mental performance of their employees.
We can use mindfulness to not only improve personal well-being, but also our motorcycle riding performance.
Often, we look to the aliens of motorcycles in MotoGP to see how riding is done well.
Jorge Lorenzo is a famous case. The once fiery and temperamental Spaniard suddenly became a smooth, calm and ultra focused athlete, virtually overnight.
How did he do it?
Lorenzo spent the off-season studying a mindful relaxation exercise system called Sophrology to improve his concentration and motivation. Today, no other rider is as focused as the almost robot like Lorenzo.
So how do we start improving our motorcycle riding through mindfulness?
It begins with focus and attention. This is easy to say and tricky to actually do.
Our best students, the riders that improve out of sight, display certain traits. They are not digitally distracted by their phones or constantly talking to their mates.
They listen, attentively and are fully immersed in the feeling of energized concentration.
They have focus, and you can too.
As going to the gym builds muscle, mindfulness builds strength in your attention span. If you can learn to harness and improve the quality of your own attention the spin offs can be significant.
The ultimate result is to experience the mental state that Psychologists call 'flow' or being in the ‘zone’. Once you experience flow you wont want to go back.
When we perform well the dopamine kicks in and we get motivated to go to the next level. It’s a reward system that’s keeps on giving.
Our road rider students start to experience ‘flow’ initially through one or two corners that start to click, right through to our racers race long ‘zone’ at world championship level.
Once you have committed to mindfulness and improving your concentration and focus, the next step is to work on the detail.
How precise and consistent is your bike positioning?
Where are your eyes?
Is your inside arm too stiff?
Are you holding the bars too tight?
Is your core engaged?
What’s your degree of focus?
However, that’s another chapter in your riding story.