What does it take to actually race a car? In theory, racing is pretty easy.
“You just sit there, holding on to the steering wheel and turning it from time to time. Occasionally you also need to break in-between constantly pushing the accelerator pedal to the floor. How hard could that be?”
But when you are actually getting into the car, this “relatively easy” task seems to be a whole lot more than just sitting around and having some fun.
“5 minutes left!”
You get the information to get ready for your stint. Already wearing your racing suit and shoes, you grab your helmet, your gloves and the fire proved balaclava.
“Breathing in … and out…. I try to calm myself down“
Stepping into a race car is no difference to any other “hard” thing in life. No matter what it is you are having respect of, like speaking in public, talking in front of a camera or doing a blog. You just freak out at the beginning, but over time, you can improve and get used to the process, until finally it feels as normal as putting on your shoes.
But until you reach this point in racing, you will have a hard time!
Your hearth is pumping intensely! You can feel your pulse everywhere! Getting buckled up in the seat, the safety belt pushes onto your chest and is making the breathing even harder. You are nervous as hell! You are sweating! Not only because of fear, but also because of all those safety equipment you are wearing. You can feel the pressure! Now you need to perform!
Giving your best will not be good enough! You need to be better than the others! You need to be faster! Your team and all the others are watching!
Being a race car driver takes more than just the skills for driving. If you can not handle the pressure, you will lose your focus! You will make mistakes! You will be slower! You will lose time! And all of this will make you lose! Not only on track, but also off track. Your drivers seat is in danger? Your team doesn’t want you anymore? The sponsors loses faith in you?
Not performing at the peak level of racing, this will make your life difficult!
The question is, how do you win the mental game?
Very similar to the preparation of NASA astronauts for their job in space, you can get used to even the toughest conditions! Instead of getting exposed to the whole situation at once, just separate the process into smaller and consumable portions that you can handle.
In my post #26 I already mentioned the book called “The obstacle is the way” by Ryan Holiday. Where you can find the subchapter “Control your emotions”.
If you want to be a race car driver, you need to be in control of you mind. You need to be the master of you mind.
Due to my formula student activities, I will be experience the mental part of racing at first hand, therefore, I will use this blog, to reflect upon my current status in the mental field, to be able to improve for more intense racing situations in the future.
In the upcoming weeks, we will tackle the mental part of racing.
See you next time!