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Three Tips To Calm Pre Race Nerves

What’s the point of learning race craft if your brain isn’t able to apply these skills during the race? When we are very stressed or nervous, the rational part of our brain gets switched off and it’s very difficult to execute the plans we had for how we would race. Here are three quick, evidence backed strategies to help settle your pre race nerves:

        1.      Power posing
Research has shown that standing in a “power pose” for x seconds prior to stressful situations increases performance. Power poses could be the victory pose (both arms lifted up and outstretched wide) or standing with feet wide and hands on hips. It might help to do this in private (eg toilet cubicle, truck or trailer) where you aren’t worried what others are thinking and you can focus.

        2.      4/6 breathing
Simply breathing in for 4 seconds and out for 6. Having a longer exhale switches off our brain’s “fight or flight” response, which enables the executive part of our brain to switch on which helps us to focus our attention, problem solve, regulate our emotions (such as stress); these are all crucial for staying calm while taxing and able to implement everything you plan to eg hitting race lines, effective passing and blocking

        3.      Drumming
Similar to 4/6 breathing, this switches off the fight or flight response by lulling the brain into a rhythmic and repetitive activity. Simple things like drumming your hands for a few minutes (maybe pop some headphones in and listen to a beat to drum along to) can go a long way

Give these strategies a try before a race, or better yet, practice as often as you can prior to the race and then use right before the race. The more you’ve practiced them when in a calm state, the easier it is for your brain to switch into a calmer state once your nerves are high.

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