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How to regain confidence?


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Any of you guys have any tips or tricks to regain confidence after injury? Messed my knee up pretty bad last year and was off the bike for almost 10 months with the surgery and the long winter here in Ohio. I have been riding more than ever lately but cannot gain my confidence back. I feel weird, the bike feels weird. Basically everything feels weird. Oddly enough the faster I push the better I feel but when I ride like that I wear myself out and find myself chopping the throttle and riding extremely stiff... specifically when jumping and hitting high speed stuff which only wears me out to the point that the safest thing for me to do is pack up and leave before I injure myself again. Should I start attempting to ride through it or am I doing the right thing by playing it safe? My overall speed did not suffer much in any area except for hucking the big stuff but I cannot figure out how to stay smooth and ride relaxed. 

 

I know I will get a lot of people telling me that I just need seat time but I have had more seat time this year than I have at this point in the season for a very long time. It is not a technique thing or anything physical... it is my mind telling me not to do something. I feel great in corners, ruts, whoops all of the stuff I normally struggle with. It is odd because I am struggling with things that have always come easy and I never really had to concentrate on. Since I never really had to think about how to do those things I am having an extremely hard time figuring out what has changed. One lap I will go out and hit a jump or a corner perfect and then the next lap I will just let off and roll the same jump or coast through the same corner that I railed the lap before. 

 

I really just want to go out and have fun again but all I can think about when I get on the bike and start putting in laps is getting reinjured. I have never had this fear (not like this anyways) before so I have no idea how to get past it. I am beyond frustrated at this point. Two weeks ago I was holding my own in the A/B practice and then this past week I couldn't even hang with the slowest C guys. I can't remember hitting even the easiest of jumps smoothly because I was shutting the throttle down before I was leaving the face scared to hit the jump. I kept getting my feet caught in ruts because I was going too slow so I had to keep dabbing instead of keeping my foot up. Just all the little things that I have never struggled with before.

 

I am looking for drills, etc. that I can do at home with limited space that will help me shake this mental nightmare that I have going on right now. I'll even try meditation if that will help LOL. The public track is not the place I want to be making these mistakes when it is packed. I do have a private track that I can practice on as well but access is somewhat limited right now. I took a guy out last week by making a silly mistake because I was riding stiff and ended up getting out of my line. Luckily the guy was cool about it when I apologized but the last thing I want to do is get someone hurt. 

 

It is 100% mental and I have no idea how to begin getting back to my old form. 

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Just curious - how did you injure your knee?  Are you physically back to 100%?

 

I came up short on a medium sized double last November, crashed hard, and completely tore my left rotator cuff.  I had surgery in December and with the go ahead from my orthopedist, was back on the bike by the end of April.  I experienced exactly what you described in terms of confidence (though I was never that good to begin with ha ha).  I'm 45 years old and definitely don't want to go through that again.

 

Two things helped me to slowly get my confidence back.  One - before each time I hit the track, I set goals & limits for myself.  I decided before I even started the bike what I was and wasn't going to do.  At the end of each day, I was able to easily achieve the goals I set (which were low to begin with), and that felt good, which built up some confidence.  Two - I spent a lot of time watching people ride.  Seeing everyone else on the track successfully & pretty easily take a jump or rail a corner was also confidence inspiring for me.  (Of course, the opposite is true if I see a jump that not many guys take or several seem to struggle with - then forget it 🙂).  

 

I guess another part of getting my confidence back was knowing exactly why I crashed and how to deal with a similar situation in the future.  In my case, the approach to the jump was rough, and I got uncomfortable with how the bike was bouncing around.  So I stupidly let off the throttle and came up short.  Had I stayed on the gas, I probably would have been fine.  I've already taken bigger jumps this year and letting off the gas is NOT an option ha ha.

 

I hope this helps a bit - good luck!  You'll be back to your old form before you know it  👍 .

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i would guess that it isn't jumping and high speed sections that are wearing you out, but rather that those are the areas you notice fatigue earliest/most because the potential for injury is greater there.

 

You said most days you haven't lost any speed relative to before your injury. Everyone has off days where they just aren't feeling it, and you didn't say anything about your fitness before vs after your injury.

 

For me right now, I'm really happy with my speed for 1-3 laps at the track i've been using as a benchmark. After 3 laps it's pull off or ride around like a trail ride. So what I've had to force my self to do is ride for the long game. Run a pace I can keep for 20 minutes plus 2. Trying to build up my fitness and I find I over ride the bike less and because I'm not exhausted it's easier to stay focused on technique and not just hanging it out.

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Sounds like you have a mental block which is obvious but is the knee causing it if you tore say your acl 10 months is a great turn around time but are you worried about injuring that knee again if that is the case just take your time coming back maybe save that big jump till next week what you need to do is focuse exclusively on the things your struggling on and in turn as you get better at that your confidence will come back you have been off the bike for awhile if I was you I would just do baby steps May practice doing figure 8s lock to lock just a slow drill then maybe a circle rut just gp put and have fun maybe not worry so much about how fast your going which class your able to ride with just focus on you and nothing else and it will calm you down and you can relax and ride and be for to long your confidence will return good luck

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If anything I feel that I am probably in better shape than I was before the injury. Since I was not able to do much in terms of "impact sports" I spent my time in rehab and then in the gym. I missed the end of 2013 and most of last season. I only rode like twice in 3 weeks at the end of last season and I was def not 100%, no jumping or anything. Just some long trail rides. Then another 4-5 months away from the track during winter. I did spend a little bit of time riding on the ice and in the snow which is not really my thing. 

 

I had a meniscus tear and partial ACL and they did some cleaning up of my MCL while they were in there. Not exactly sure what/ how it happened. It happened really fast. I don't remember if I lost control on take off or on landing but I remember thinking I was going to be able to ride it out. I remember landing and getting the dreaded speed wobble so either I cross rutted upon landing or I landed slightly sideways causing me to start swapping. I hit the second jump face and was launched off the bike because I had no control. I tried to land on my feet on the backside of the take off but my body was moving too fast for my feet to keep up. Of course I was slammed down violently. Never lost consciousness but apparently I bent my knee in a way that it was not supposed to bend. After sitting there for a while I was able to walk to my truck with some assistance and drive myself to the ER. If I would have  gotten my feet out in front of me instead of under me I probably would have walked away unscathed except for my pride. 

 

It was not my first knee injury that required surgery. I have had multiple surgeries on both knees throughout my football career and go figure it wasn't even a knee injury that ended my football career, it was a pretty serious shoulder injury that to this day prevents me from throwing a baseball without shooting pains and tingling from my fingertips to my neck. This recovery time was on par with past knee surgeries. 10-14 months seems to be the norm. depending on what exactly needs to be fixed. 

 

I guess what is frustrating me is that I know I can physically do these things, but something in the back of my head is telling me that I shouldn't. There is nothing more frustrating than getting to the jump face and subconsciously shutting the throttle down even when I focus on not doing it. 

 

I'm thinking about trying some woods rides or something so I have something out of the norm to think about/ focus on. Seat time is getting me nowhere because no matter how hard I try, I just end up in the same place. I've been on the bike for months now and still can't do the smallest of jumps without a death grip on the bike, or letting off before I get to the face because of fear. These are jumps that I could do on a bicycle blindfolded. It is really hard to explain what is going on in my head when on the track but I just cannot convince myself to just do it. I know that once I can get into a rhythm I will probably snap out of it but I just cannot bring myself to mentally commit. I have never consciously been afraid to do certain things on the track like I am now. I have always had a just go for it attitude, and have always seemed to be able to judge what I should and should not attempt. 

 

Sorry for the long winded posts but it is the only way I can describe it and I am not even sure I am getting it 100% right. Not to sound like a pansy but it literally makes me want to throw all my gear in the trash and sell my bikes. I have never been this frustrated in my life. I am competitive so I always want to get better but I ride for fun so when I cannot have fun you can see why I would feel this way. 

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If you've never dealt with it your self before, then you don't know what a realistic time span to 'getting over it' is. There have been times it's taken me more then a year after being healed to get over the mental blocks and back to where I was. It's a slow process and not something you can not just switch off. A mind set is not an easy thing to change. I would try to break it down. It's obviously bothering you that you're not clearing the jumps, that is enough to weigh on you mind while riding. Accept that you will not be clearing these jumps for a while. Work on getting your mind set back to focusing on riding rather then crashing. Go ride some new places with some new jumps, build back up from the basics. I always ride a mixture of offroad and mx so that may be a good idea as well.

Edited by Blowin_Trannys
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Mental block/fear is something your going to have to figure out as an individual. It took me 10 years to get back on my bike. And i wasn't the one who crashed. I watched a good friend end up in a coma. After hours of brain surgery he's alive but he's not the same. It scared me enough to quit. Fast forward a decade, I'm back on my bike and having more fun now than i ever did. I ride with a different mindset now. I don't care about how fast i go, or about the 3$ trophy, etc. Just have fun. Every day i ride, my confidence and speed get better.

The one thing that has helped me the most, riding slower and keeping fundamentals/body position in check, instead of just riding fast and getting out of shape.

This is my first year back on my bike and last week things sort of just clicked. My corner speed was a lot faster, i was doing jumps without a second thought that i previously rolled and i was able to put in more laps before getting tired.

Good luck to you and just keep riding. If you get uncomfortable in a section, slow down and work on the basics there. It will come together for you in time.

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  • 4 weeks later...

If you can whip go throw a few, if not, learn... I find when my riding is off going out and having a bit of fun helps reset everything and lets me relax. Also working on one obsticle until you are comfortable works sometimes. Concentrate on being smooth more than fast and the speed will come back

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Well, I didn't come back from injury this year, but I am running for points in my series, and we have a lot of touring cherry-pickers, LOL  So, basically I started looking at the big picture and decided all I had to do was finish close to my nearest series-regular competitor... BAD IDEA!!!. My confidence went down hill fast this year,  I got timid, scared of injury, and scared of losing points... mostly in the corners which are my weakest spots. 
 
 I didn't even want to go ride, and I live 2 minutes from my local track and I'm the track prep guy. LOL
 
My answer was to watch Gary's Vet vids and take points  and pointers and just go out and pick a couple corners and start slow and work back up... I knew I could do it, but I was afraid to... so with nothing to lose on a off day, I prepped 2 corners and rode my ass off.  Prolly 100 corners each way working on technique and confidence... I honestly wasn't there for more than 2 hours  and was railing these corners like I never have, LOL I had a perfect rut burned in that fresh corner in less than 20 minutes. AND IT FELT AMAZING.. follow Gary's ideas and walk the bike through the obstacle totally thinking about technique and the right thing to do until you can work up the speed, you can do it in 1 day if you find the right place and the right riding partner to help you build your confidence back up.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Experts

Well, I didn't come back from injury this year, but I am running for points in my series, and we have a lot of touring cherry-pickers, LOL  So, basically I started looking at the big picture and decided all I had to do was finish close to my nearest series-regular competitor... BAD IDEA!!!. My confidence went down hill fast this year,  I got timid, scared of injury, and scared of losing points... mostly in the corners which are my weakest spots. 

 

 I didn't even want to go ride, and I live 2 minutes from my local track and I'm the track prep guy. LOL

 

My answer was to watch Gary's Vet vids and take points  and pointers and just go out and pick a couple corners and start slow and work back up... I knew I could do it, but I was afraid to... so with nothing to lose on a off day, I prepped 2 corners and rode my ass off.  Prolly 100 corners each way working on technique and confidence... I honestly wasn't there for more than 2 hours  and was railing these corners like I never have, LOL I had a perfect rut burned in that fresh corner in less than 20 minutes. AND IT FELT AMAZING.. follow Gary's ideas and walk the bike through the obstacle totally thinking about technique and the right thing to do until you can work up the speed, you can do it in 1 day if you find the right place and the right riding partner to help you build your confidence back up.

That's great to hear...congrats! You get it! "Repetition is the mother of skill" quoted from Anthony Robins. Always make sure that repetition is the correct way.  👍  👍  👍

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Finally something clicked about 2 weeks ago. Things are quickly getting better. Feels like I finally got back into my groove. I am finally having fun on the track again. Thanks for all the help. Just had to keep pounding out uncomfortable laps and soon enough the discomfort went away.  

Edited by BDubb106
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Finally something clicked about 2 weeks ago. Things are quickly getting better. Feels like I finally got back into my groove. I am finally having fun on the track again. Thanks for all the help. Just had to keep pounding out uncomfortable laps and soon enough the discomfort went away.

This happened to me also. Went out for a race and was just in a really good mood. Having a ton of fun in the pits and on the track. I even threw out a YEE-HAW as i went past the stands. Lol. But because of all this, i ride smoother and less tense. I ended up holeshotting both motos and finished 3rd both motos.

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  • 2 weeks later...

You didn't mention if you had knee braces or no.  But I went through some knee surgery this past March.  Meniscus and a ruptured/tore fat pad(?) or something.  But I was in the same boat.  I did NOT want to suffer any more knee injuries.  So I upped the money and bought a set of knee braces.  Just knowing the fact that my knees are protected from bending the wrong way or impacts helped me tons feeling better on the track.  I can focus on my technique instead of worrying about my knee. 

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You didn't mention if you had knee braces or no.  But I went through some knee surgery this past March.  Meniscus and a ruptured/tore fat pad(?) or something.  But I was in the same boat.  I did NOT want to suffer any more knee injuries.  So I upped the money and bought a set of knee braces.  Just knowing the fact that my knees are protected from bending the wrong way or impacts helped me tons feeling better on the track.  I can focus on my technique instead of worrying about my knee. 

Yes I had knee braces. They help but you can still suffer an injury while wearing them. I have a set of custom CTI braces that were fit by my Dr. after my previous injury (football). Actually, I was wearing knee braces every time I injured either my knees except for the first time. College coaches would not even let me run with the team in the spring without them. 

 

My knee braces fit perfect and I still occurred the injury. Dr. said there was no damage to the brace. He said that it did exactly what it was supposed to do, but my knee just couldn't take that little twist. Obviously my knee was already weak from something and the fall just put the nail in the coffin. 

 

Just feels good to be back in the groove finally.

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

 

My knee braces fit perfect and I still occurred the injury. Dr. said there was no damage to the brace. He said that it did exactly what it was supposed to do, but my knee just couldn't take that little twist. Obviously my knee was already weak from something and the fall just put the nail in the coffin. 

It's the twisting that the knee braces cannot protect you from.  Moving side to side and too far forward is what they do for you.

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