It's astonishing at the amount of drivers that are having trouble in qualifying.
No one needs to tell you that qualifying is the most important part of the weekend and if you are planning on dominating your championship then that’s the time you need to shine.
Being able to 'perform on demand' is of major importance in all sports and is one of the main qualities of a champion; race drivers however regularly fall short in this area.
They can drive pretty well in testing, in free practice and in the races but all too often their brain goes to mush when it comes to qualifying. That's all it is though, it's just a mental issue they are having and it has to be one of the most common challenges that drivers come to me with or that I hear around the paddock.
Does this sound like you?
Are you not getting the results you know you can in qualifying due to over-driving, under-driving, concentrating too much on driving corrections, track position and other things within your control?
If so then don't worry because this is something you can overcome and if you do then you will be ahead of most of the others you share the grid with.
First you need to understand why this is happening; it all boils down to your state of mind and what emotions you are creating at vital times.
I will describe this better in a later blog but for now you produce emotions all day long by using just two ingredients:
Your Mind - your thoughts, what you say to yourself and what you focus on.
Your Body - how you use your body and breathe.
Put simply you use your mind and body to create your emotions, you have different combinations to create different emotions and you have this skill down. You know exactly what to think about and how to operate your body if you want to feel happy, if you want to create the emotion of worry, if you want to feel excited and so on.
Whilst you are driving you will have thoughts and memories pop into your head, you will breathe in a particular way and have a certain amount of tension in your muscles. All of these factors come together to manufacture an emotion.
If you are getting stressed when driving then your thoughts will be ‘Consequence Based’ which will create the feeling of panic or dread, your breathing will be shallow and certain muscles will be tense.
These are all ingredients which will come together to produce an emotion called overwhelm or stress. Every time you need that emotion you just operate your mind and body in that way and you will have it.
You may be having other emotions that are not serving you whilst competing which are preventing you from being at your best but rest assured that you are creating them, no one or nothing else is.
This is nice because it means it is all within your control. All you need to do is interrupt your emotion producing process that you are running by doing something completely different with your mental focus and body.
Redirect it in the opposite way to what you are doing and you will create a different emotion. Change what you are focusing on, how you are speaking in your mind, your breathing and your muscle tension (even facial expressions) and you will not be able to access that former emotion.
There is an easy Quick Fix solution to this.
The quickest way I have seen this done is by smiling.
Seriously the mind cannot be stressed or depressed if you have a genuine big fat smile on your face and you back it up with a deep diaphragm breath in and slowly breathe out as you go down the straight. A slight looser grip of the wheel and relaxing of the arms can also add to this nicely.
This sounds too easy to work but please give it a go when you are fighting with your concentration and emotions when in car.
I have used this time and time again as a quick fix and it has instantly transformed driver’s qualifying results.
This again is for the driver that has the ability to drive quickly (that’s important) but is failing to bring it when it matters due to nerves or over thinking.
This is just the tip of iceburg so if you need to know more then get in touch and I will show you some mental programming that will wipe this kind of problem away for good.
Have a play with this and get creative with things that can break your defeating emotions when in car so you can snap yourself out of that stupid state of mind in high pressure situations.