Do you perform relaxed and tension-free in a practice but then race tense or scared in races or national events? This is a big sign that your mindset breakdowns when you go from practice to race situations.
Why would your mind get in the way when you think the race really counts or is important to you?
This could be from several reasons:
- Fear of failure
In many cases, the pressure you put on your own racing can cause arm pump because you are no longer able to race relaxed and tension-free like you did in practice!
But the good news is that you can learn to control your mind and use it to help you race your best. Trying too hard is the number one mental breakdown that will cause you to ride tense on the track.
What would cause you to stress your muscles if you are in good physical shape?
My answer would be mental tension, which then causes physical tension in your arms, shoulders, and hands. If you have tension on the track (mental or physical), your muscles are not working together, they are fighting each other.
In the practice you do every week, no one knows what you did and no comparisons are made to other racers, so it is easier to ride up to your ability. In competition, it’s a different story. You badly want to do well for your family, friends, and sponsors. This can cause a lot of pressure for some racers to excel.
“I need to impress the manufacturers so I can get sponsorship,” you think to yourself.
The reality is that you want to do well for everyone involved, including yourself!
However, this state of mind often causes you to try too hard, tense up, and even get arm pump. You must approach each race with a relaxed and carefree mindset, just like you do in practice.