Having watched the highlights of the finish from yesterday’s first stage in the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey I thought I would post something about self-control. Petacchi, who had the best position under the flamme rouge of the last kilometre, lost control of the situation and was relegated to last position, instead of getting eighth, he was penalised one minute on GC after hitting French neo pro Nacer Bouhanni from FDJ during the final moments of the sprint.
This is not the first time we have seen pro-cyclists lose it at the very moments they should be keeping it together. Who can forget Mark Renshaws Jostling for room in a frantic finish in stage 11 of last year’s Tour De France when he repeatedly head-butted Julian Dean as the Kiwi squeezed the Australian for room.
In the heat of the battle, pros are not immune to losing their cool and embarrassing themselves in front of millions of fans who watch in horror but it doesn’t just happen in the pro ranks. There are moments in sportives where I have seen cyclists completely lose self control and their tempers with other participants. It happens in youth as well as senior ranks and can be detrimental to performance.
What triggers cyclists to lose their self-control during competition?
The simple answer is frustration! However, frustration can be quite complex with frustration or anger occurring at any moment of an event, which frequently causes athletes to forget about the rules of the sport, proper sportsmanship, or what is morally right.
I am sure you have seen (or identify with) cyclists losing emotional composure for many reasons at different times in events. Frustration and anger causes a lack of focus which leads you to make stupid errors.
It is worth noting that whatever the reasons are for the frustration or anger you feel, they are only triggers. The way you react to these triggers is really what you need to deal with. They do not cause a loss of composure, your reaction does!
Remember this: No one can make you feel frustrated but yourself. Getting cut off by another rider only triggers your frustration. Your reaction may be to become angry and retaliate. But, what you think about after getting cut off determines your reaction. Your mental toughness plays a vital role in this process.
If you are a composed athlete you will not allow people to push your buttons and “trigger” negative emotion. You will remain composed and have control over your reaction because you are aware of the thoughts that lead to your frustration and anger.
If you would like to learn more about how you can become the ultimate composed cyclist or triathlete you can email email@example.com and book a one-to-one session or find out where the nearest seminar is taking place to help you achieve greater mental toughness.