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Thread: Mental coaching

  1. #1
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    Mental coaching

    Does anyone use a mental coach or sport psychologist, or do the coaches people generally use provide mental training themselves?

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    I personally don't know any bike racer who uses a mental coach, but I hear the big time athletes do. Unless you are suffering in ways beyond what happens on the bike, you could probably get by with various techniques of positive thinking. If you feel it is a limited, hire a coach.

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    Thanks for responding. I'm actually a psychologist and when I was starting out was planning on focusing on sport psychology. I was able to get a handful of professional hockey players as clients with the connections I had, but making a living at it was difficult. I went another route and just left that behind. I've recently worked with a couple of people just pro-bono for biking, and it got me thinking about it again. I ran into a lot of stigma and reluctance for anyone to acknowledge they were working with a psychologist when I tried it before. Since it's ten years later, I think it is much more widely accepted now. I wasn't thinking about making a living at it, just something on the side that I found interesting. I wanted to see if there was a market for it at all before I put any amount of effort into it, but with the lack of replies, I'm guessing there isn't. I was thinking I'd just work with bikers since it's what I'm doing now and it interests me. I thouht if people were willing to pay for an actual coach, they might see value in it. Thanks.

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    People spend lots of money on coaches, I suspect your services could be bundled into a higher end coaching plan. I actually see a fair number of people who are really strong and work hard with the structured training but stink in races. I have to assume there is something going on that keeps them from reaching their potential.

    I think there might be a market. It seems like you don't hear about the psychology as much with people focusing on very numbers-driven plans, but tactics and thr mental side of racing may have their day in the sun again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jroden View Post
    People spend lots of money on coaches, I suspect your services could be bundled into a higher end coaching plan.
    This seems like a great idea. With so many coaches out there this would be something that would really set a coaching service apart from the crowd. I would contact a local reputable high end coach and see if he was interested in some sort of arrangement.

    I would not likely go out and get a mental coach, but I would see that tacked onto a training plan as a huge bonus.

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    I see so many people who train real hard then start talking themselves out of trying their best just before the race starts. I see a lot of people who don't try their hardest and want to be all "it's just fun for me" about racing despite being both talented and training hard. I think they have a fear of success that could be addressed by someone like you and would be able to just let go and do their best and be comfortable that it's good enough.

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    Thanks for the thoughts and suggestions. Hooking on with a coach is a great idea and would likely be the easiest way to go with it since I'm not looking to invest a lot of time to marketing, etc. I'm mostly thinking about it just because I think it would be fun, but I need to justify the time spent at it, which is the only reason I would have to charge. I know there are at least a few coaches here in Utah, so that may work out.

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    If you are decent at writing, maybe a good bridge is to do some short articles and blog stuff on topics of interest. I think maybe you need to almost create the need in people first so they realize the mental things they do to sabotage success.

    I guess the other wildcard in my mind is the duration of the relationship, does a person deal with something then move on and he's done with you? A coach is ongoing, i'm sure less about someone like you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jroden View Post
    If you are decent at writing, maybe a good bridge is to do some short articles and blog stuff on topics of interest. I think maybe you need to almost create the need in people first so they realize the mental things they do to sabotage success.

    I guess the other wildcard in my mind is the duration of the relationship, does a person deal with something then move on and he's done with you? A coach is ongoing, i'm sure less about someone like you.
    Yes, I have some old articles and topics I had written about when I was putting together my website 10 years ago, I'll just have to see if I can find them. I like to think I'm decent at writing given that is mostly what I do now. My guess is someone working with me would only last a few sessions at most, then maybe a "tune-up" here or there as needed. I don't think it would be a long-term thing.

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    When I did my first 100 miler, I rode by myself for hours on end, it was mentally tough, but I just kept telling myself, Im going to do this, and I trained for months, so I never gave up. Im not sure you could teach someone to be mentally tough. A person either has the will or they dont

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by nov0798 View Post
    When I did my first 100 miler, I rode by myself for hours on end, it was mentally tough, but I just kept telling myself, Im going to do this, and I trained for months, so I never gave up. Im not sure you could teach someone to be mentally tough. A person either has the will or they dont
    Not sure I completely agree with this. I think having the will and being mentally tough are two different things. I'll admit that when I first got back into biking 5+ years ago, everyone I rode with was much faster than I was. Just trying to keep up I would blow myself up and was always last in the group. Sometimes I didn't ride with people b/c I thought I was a little tired and then I would be even slower than normal.

    A few years ago I did the Insanity video series over the winter with a couple other co-workers. Personally for me, other than improving my fitness for the Spring I noticed that I had a lot more mental strength than I had ever had before. The videos pushed me to keep going even when I was at the point of exhaustion. Before riding the bike I would get to that point and just drop my gears/cadence because I couldn't keep up. Since then I decided to get into racing because I never wanted to be the last guy anymore. Now that I'm training for racing I routinely push myself mentally in ways that I would have never been able to before.

    I would agree that there are probably people that can't be taught to be mentally tough, or at least not significantly tougher than they are. But it's definitely not true for everyone.
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  12. #12
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    I don't think there is really a market for exclusive mental coaching in cycling; probably only at the highest levels. It's so different from other sports where mental factors really affects skill (basketball, tennis, baseball, etc.), hence affecting performance.

    I spent some time coaching basketball in high school and it seems I was more psychologist than coach. I currently coach high school MTBing and there is really no pressure; just a bunch of kids having fun. Some kids come in 30th place with huge smiles on their faces since they manage to finish the race and have a great time while scoring some points for the team. But I've coached basketball games where the whole bench was crying after a close loss during some insignificant midweek game. It's very different.

    In cycling (especially MTBing), it seems if you want to improve your placing, then you spend your money on fitness oriented coaching. Especially true since the vast majority of cyclist haven't hit their fitness potential yet.
    Last edited by Poncharelli; 12-25-2012 at 08:15 AM.
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  13. #13
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    I think the need is there, at times is hard

    to know it or acknowledged that you might need help(metal), is like a regular coach you need an outsider to see whats wrong or right when you fail to see it or act on it.. Many times pros have failed to make it because they crack.

    I think juniors at the highest level need it, since everyone reacts differently to stress (competition).
    Same reason some athletes just quit, for no apparent reason when they are close to the goal, or sabotage it.

    Good luck

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