Top Tips: Mind Power

Getting your mind straight

· 2 minutes read

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Whenever a rider discusses different ways to improve on the track, there is so much focus on training and technique. That is hardly surprising, of course, because there are many training camps that have proven to pay dividends over the years. The Baker's Factory in Florida has been hailed as the best in the world and every guy who enters the very impressive facility tends to improve drastically. Cooper Webb, anyone?

The point is that improving on-track fitness and technique pays dividends, but there is an ingredient that goes along with that. What could all of that work possibly do if the mentality of said rider was in the correct place? Imagine that Cooper Webb completed the work in the off-season, but did not gain much confidence and doubted himself at round one. There is just no way that he would have acquired the results that eventually took him to the 450SX title in Monster Energy Supercross. The positive mentality comes along with having confidence in his programme, admittedly, but it is not a given.

What is the point of all of this? Arnaud Tonus has come on leaps and bounds in the 2019 FIM Motocross World Championship and, following that Cooper Webb turnaround, the media immediately flocked to the Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha MXGP tent to fight out what changed in his training programme or whether significant bike set-up modifications were made. The fact that he simply stated "I have not changed anything on the bike" when that question was put to him said it all. Instead he took the opportunity to proclaim the following…

"I think something happened, but I am not sure I am able to speak about it right now. I have been working a lot on the mental part for years and years. It seems like I figured out some stuff. Might be a time where I will talk about it, but not right now. I have no expectation or goals or things like that. I am really focusing on what I am doing right now, trying to enjoy the process and give everything I have. That is the mentality I have."

Although Arnaud Tonus said that he does not want to give away too much about his mental gains, that final sentence is telling  in many ways. Perhaps relieving the weight of expectation and everything that goes along with that has stopped him from overthinking certain situations and pushing over his head, therefore minimising the crashes that have been prevalent during his career as a professional athlete? There are many possibilities in that area, but the hope is that riders of all levels will read that and suddenly realise that they do control their own destiny. Every rider has the ability to improve on their mentality and therefore enjoy the benefits that come along with that.

It can be an easy fix as well. Arnaud Tonus made this mental turnaround between the Grand Prix of Lombardia, on May 12, and the Grand Prix of Portugal on May 18. The fact that a change can be as instant as that really speaks volumes about the power of the mind, it really does. Tonus has jumped from twelfth in the championship standings to fourth since making that change. What more needs to be said? It will be intriguing to see how he copes the next time that he is faced with a testing situation.

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