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Need help to overcome fear

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Besides my goon style, my fear holds me back the most, especially on jumps. So I was wondering what you guys think is the best way to overcome it. I always go to the track with a positive attitude very confident, then see someone hit a big jump, and all the confidence goes away and it will take me forever to gain it back or I wont at all and just keep rolling the jump.

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Ohh, its not just you... Everyone who first gets going in MX has the same confidence issues.

Lemme give you a bit of knowledge, something I found out the hard way and perhaps its my opinion, but I think its important in learning.

There are two trains of thought when it comes to learning a new skill. Lets move away from motocross and into a world I know very well; scuba diving. I use to teach diving professionally and I've even had to teach people how to swim in some cases. None the less, part of the scuba diving program is you must do 5 open water dives to get your certification. So what I'd do is take my students out the first day to a pond instead of the ocean. This gives me more control over the class, much less depth to be concerned about, and its more relaxed. Those people who feel comfortable and confident they can move forward, wind up coming with me on day two for some ocean dives. Those people who didn't feel comfortable, I would take them out the following weekend and try again, until they got it and were comfortable. The point here is quite simple; when building a new skill set, its critical to feel comfortable and confident in a situation that you have more control over. The second way of learning a new skill is to just get thrown into the ocean the first day, freak out and never go back to diving. I've seen it happen time and time again where people get sensory over-load, forget their newly found skills and basically never go further with it, which is sad.

Back to motocross...

You've been going to all these big national motocross tracks, its like being thrown into the ocean on your first dive! You ask a lot of questions, but most are rudimentary, basic skill stuff and that tells me; you haven't graduated from the pond yet. What the big tracks do is freak you out, you're the extremely small fish in the ocean, just trying to survive! The jumps are big, there are other fast riders passing you all the time, the surface is unfamiliar to you, its an utter train wreck and its no fun. Seriously, you need to spend more time riding at a rudimentary level, putting in laps on a track which isn't going to bite you, one that has way less obstacles and one which you can string together decent laps. You need to just have fun, get out there and ride without interruption. You need to be the king-fish in the small pond, before graduating to the next level.

You can argue that riding the big tracks makes you a quicker rider in less time. But at the same time, it doesn't necessarily make you a BETTER rider. If you wanna be a good rider, you need to put in the time and answers to your questions will just happen with experience.

Now, to answer your question! LOL :thumbsup:

Closing your eyes, pinning the throttle and preying you wind up landing on both wheels at the same time, isn't the answer. The answer lies in your ability to learn new things and take what you've learned to the next level. Lets say you clear a 30 ft table top and you see a 30 foot double, but can't clear it due to your brain seeing the BIG gap between the take off and landing. Well, tell your brain that you can do a 30 foot table top no problem and that 30 foot double is the same distance. Thats when you pretend the 30 foot double is really the table you clear and BLAMO, you just cleared it! But if you don't have that knowledge of what its like to clear that 30 foot table, which is what you used as a practice jump on the kiddy track, then you've got a gaping hole in your skills that needs to be filled in. Some guys will just pin it and prey, but in my point of view, its better to KNOW the answer instead of guess, especially when it comes to something as risk-involved as motocross.

When I visit a new track, I roll it first and try to get a gauge for what the jumps and corners are like. I go into my mind's rolodex of corners and jumps and compare the new track to what I know. Usually there are many similarities and almost immediately, I will have some semblance of pace. Then its all about learning the new stuff and adding that to your rolodex for the future. Sadly, it takes more then one or two outings to learn new things, it takes a lot of repeating, so visiting new tracks every weekend, isn't the best thing to do. Staying at one track until you got it down pat and then moving onto the next, is actually the best thing to do. This way, you've completely assimilated the track and have a wealth of knowledge for your next big challenge. If it takes you 3 weeks or 3 months, its the right way to do it.

Ok, its midnight, I gotta go to bed. Sorry for the long write-up, but I think you've got a good head on your shoulders and I'm glad you ask questions, so keep them coming and I'll keep on being a smart-ass with my high-tech off-subject answers!!! lol :thumbsup:

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talk to the faster riders who are hitting the jump . ask what gearing they are running and what gear they hit it in. watch they're technique a few times than you can always ask to speed check them follow them beside the jump a few times on the side of the track (dont hit the jump) til you consistantly judge thier speed than take a different line than them and hit the jump. remember its best to overshoot a little than case it.

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you have to be able to walk before you can run, tye's advice is very good. There is nothing wrong with rolling a jump that is intimidating to you, it will be there when your ready. Get more seat time, practice fundamental techniques, train during the week a bit and eventually you will come out of the corner before the jump and decide next lap around your going to clear it.

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Ask yourself honestly, with no ego involved: "am I ready to do this jump"? The answer should come from your jumping experience and skills. If the answer is "yes", as others have said you just need to find out exactly how you're going to hit it and your fear will disappear. If the answer is "I hope so" your fear is all that's keeping you from killing yourself. Give it some respect and come back when you -are- ready.

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I always have a friend (who is hitting the jumps) gauge my speed and stuff on a couple dry runs, then for some reason it makes it easier for me to commit

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Ohh, its not just you... Everyone who first gets going in MX has the same confidence issues.

Lemme give you a bit of knowledge, something I found out the hard way and perhaps its my opinion, but I think its important in learning.

There are two trains of thought when it comes to learning a new skill. Lets move away from motocross and into a world I know very well; scuba diving. I use to teach diving professionally and I've even had to teach people how to swim in some cases. None the less, part of the scuba diving program is you must do 5 open water dives to get your certification. So what I'd do is take my students out the first day to a pond instead of the ocean. This gives me more control over the class, much less depth to be concerned about, and its more relaxed. Those people who feel comfortable and confident they can move forward, wind up coming with me on day two for some ocean dives. Those people who didn't feel comfortable, I would take them out the following weekend and try again, until they got it and were comfortable. The point here is quite simple; when building a new skill set, its critical to feel comfortable and confident in a situation that you have more control over. The second way of learning a new skill is to just get thrown into the ocean the first day, freak out and never go back to diving. I've seen it happen time and time again where people get sensory over-load, forget their newly found skills and basically never go further with it, which is sad.

Back to motocross...

You've been going to all these big national motocross tracks, its like being thrown into the ocean on your first dive! You ask a lot of questions, but most are rudimentary, basic skill stuff and that tells me; you haven't graduated from the pond yet. What the big tracks do is freak you out, you're the extremely small fish in the ocean, just trying to survive! The jumps are big, there are other fast riders passing you all the time, the surface is unfamiliar to you, its an utter train wreck and its no fun. Seriously, you need to spend more time riding at a rudimentary level, putting in laps on a track which isn't going to bite you, one that has way less obstacles and one which you can string together decent laps. You need to just have fun, get out there and ride without interruption. You need to be the king-fish in the small pond, before graduating to the next level.

You can argue that riding the big tracks makes you a quicker rider in less time. But at the same time, it doesn't necessarily make you a BETTER rider. If you wanna be a good rider, you need to put in the time and answers to your questions will just happen with experience.

Now, to answer your question! LOL :thumbsup:

Closing your eyes, pinning the throttle and preying you wind up landing on both wheels at the same time, isn't the answer. The answer lies in your ability to learn new things and take what you've learned to the next level. Lets say you clear a 30 ft table top and you see a 30 foot double, but can't clear it due to your brain seeing the BIG gap between the take off and landing. Well, tell your brain that you can do a 30 foot table top no problem and that 30 foot double is the same distance. Thats when you pretend the 30 foot double is really the table you clear and BLAMO, you just cleared it! But if you don't have that knowledge of what its like to clear that 30 foot table, which is what you used as a practice jump on the kiddy track, then you've got a gaping hole in your skills that needs to be filled in. Some guys will just pin it and prey, but in my point of view, its better to KNOW the answer instead of guess, especially when it comes to something as risk-involved as motocross.

When I visit a new track, I roll it first and try to get a gauge for what the jumps and corners are like. I go into my mind's rolodex of corners and jumps and compare the new track to what I know. Usually there are many similarities and almost immediately, I will have some semblance of pace. Then its all about learning the new stuff and adding that to your rolodex for the future. Sadly, it takes more then one or two outings to learn new things, it takes a lot of repeating, so visiting new tracks every weekend, isn't the best thing to do. Staying at one track until you got it down pat and then moving onto the next, is actually the best thing to do. This way, you've completely assimilated the track and have a wealth of knowledge for your next big challenge. If it takes you 3 weeks or 3 months, its the right way to do it.

Ok, its midnight, I gotta go to bed. Sorry for the long write-up, but I think you've got a good head on your shoulders and I'm glad you ask questions, so keep them coming and I'll keep on being a smart-ass with my high-tech off-subject answers!!! lol :thumbsup:

Well written tye1138:thumbsup:

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Is fear a good or bad feeling to have while racing? The answer is yes,,,and no. You should have just a little bit of fear but not too much. There’s that balance thing again, I’ve said it many times, that there’s a balance to everything in life, especially racing. When you do something like race motocross/supercross/off-road ect where a little fear is involved all your senses are heightened. That little bit of fear turns on all your primordial energies. Your adrenal glands are activated, you have better concentration more blood is pumped into the muscles, your pupils dilate for better vision, in short your strength, endurance and reaction time are increased. You are ready for action. On the other hand if you have too much fear you tighten up, you’re mind begin to race and you loose concentration.

Think about this simple test for a moment. If we have two people, Harry and Chester, Harry is normal regarding heights but Chester is afraid of heights. We have a strong board that is twelve feet long and eight inches wide. We extend this board 3 feet off the ground and have Harry and Chester walk across it for $10.00. No problem, one at a time they both stand at the end of the board with relaxed muscles, steady concentration looking out in front of them at the board and walk across it easily for the $10.00. Then we extend the board 50 feet in the air between two buildings and ask Harry and Chester to walk across it for $100.00. Harry is first; he stands at the edge of the board ready to walk across it. Harry has just enough fear to turn on all his senses, and he is 100% concentrating on his goal, walking across that board. He makes it no problem and collects an easy $100.00.

Chester is next as he stands at the end of the board, his breathing is short and shallow, his muscles begin to tighten, the palms of his hands become wet and clammy, he feels a lump in his throat and Chester’s concentration is interrupted with thoughts of falling to his death or serious injury. Chester’s fear makes his goal of walking across the board much more difficult. Objects are those frightful things you see when you take your mind off your goals. It’s the same kind of thing when it comes to racing; too much fear makes you perform much worst.

If anyone tells you that they don’t have any fear at all when they race they are not being honest with themselves or you. Everyone has at least just a little bit of fear when they race. And besides, if they didn’t have any fear at all they wouldn’t be able to perform as well. Remember, just a little bit of fear is enough to make it important enough to kick in the primordial juices without getting too much fear to tighten you up. So how does one produce just the right amount of fear without red lining the fear factor? Well, I don’t think anyone has a problem with not having enough fear. The question is how does one not have too much fear while racing? In short the answer is confidence. The dictionaries’ definition of confidence is; trust, reliance, self-assurance.

If you have too much fear while racing or even riding a motorcycle than you don’t have enough confidence in your abilities to do the job and the fear should be there. It’s there for a good reason, to keep you from getting hurt. The only way to get over the too much fear problem and to acquire the confidence is to earn it by being prepared and knowing your limits, not riding beyond your abilities. The following list breaks down the preparation and how to recognize your limits factors for an easier understanding.

Preparation:

1. Being in good physical shape.

If you’re out there racing or even riding and you’re not strong and in good shape you’re just asking for an injury. And besides, you can’t ride well if you’re tired anyway. This is a big factor in earning that confidence, you have to put in the consistent hard training in order to get and stay in good shape. It’s important to be at your ideal weight and not be over weight so a good common sense diet is also necessary. If you don’t feel strong the fear factor is going to go way up. To get the most effective diet and training methods for motocross check out my Motocross Conditioning Video or DVD from my website (mxraceschool.com).

2. Getting enough seat time.

There’s no way to feel really comfortable on the bike and not have too much fear unless you have ridden and still ride a lot. There’s no substitute for having the feel of the wheel so to speak. When you have a lot of riding time under your belt the bike becomes an extension of your body and you know what it’s going to do before it does it. This way you can stay ahead of what is happening instead of not being sure and trying to catch up with it. How can you not be very afraid if you don’t know what that bike is going to do? If you’re going to ride really good you have to put in the seat time.

3. Having a well-prepared motorcycle.

If you’re riding a wore out bike it’s only a matter of time before it breaks and you sure don’t want it to break on the face of a big jump. A serious racer has to have well maintained equipment. You or a mechanic has to go over the bike every time between rides. Every time before you get on it you should have a checklist to go through. Things like; is there enough gas, is the chain adjusted correctly and oiled? Is the tire pressure right? Are the spokes tight? Are the linkage bolts tight? Are the controls working properly, especially the throttle? When you know your bike is going to do its job it takes away a lot of fear and dought.

4. Don’t take unnecessary changes.

Whether you’re racing as a professional or an amateur just go out there and have fun and do what’s necessary in order to reach your goals. If there’s a big double or triple that’s beyond your current abilities and no one in your class is going to be jumping it anyway don’t be thinking you should try to jump it. If your thinking you should be pulling off some free style moves forget about it, do you want to be a racer or a free stylist? If you’re finishing practicing for the day and your friend says come on you gotta try this jump I just found, forget about it, tell him you’ll check it out next time. Do what you feel is necessary and enough and leave it at that.

5. Recognize your limits.

Every man or women has to know their own limits and you always have to stay within those limits while racing or riding. Racing is all about being on the edge but you better know exactly where that edge is and don’t go over it. It’s better to slow down a little, get some points and race again next week than to crash and burn. Once you acquire a good portion of experience its really pretty easy to know where your limits are, you can feel them. When you’re flowing with the track and riding smooth you’re within your limits. When you start to make mistakes like; missing a line, making a bobble here and there, when your arms are pumping up and/or you’re getting really tired, when things begin to happen faster than you are anticipating them to be happening, these are signs of going over the edge, over your limits. With the correct types of preparation and practice over each week and month you should be able to increase your limits but you have to be consistent and it takes time. Don’t try to rush it by riding over your head or it will end up taking you more time to improve. Remember to feel your limits and don’t go pass them.

When you have these five previous categories covered you will see the strangle hold of fear dissipate. Of course as I explained earlier there is always going to be some fear but it’s a good fear, one that will make you pay attention and heighten you abilities. Don’t ever take anything about racing or riding for granted. Just about the time you do is the time it will jump up and bite you. Always have that special kind of respect for it and make sure you are always prepared and using your head every time you throw a leg over your iron horse.

Over the years I’ve had a lot of riders, both young and older, tell me that they are having trouble jumping doubles. They say they can jump the same distance on a tabletop jump but they are afraid to jump that distance over a double. They are asking me how they can overcome their fear and do these doubles. Sometimes these riders are at my motocross school and are asking me this at the beginning of the school. I say, well I’ll watch your jumping techniques when we cover jumps and we’ll see what we can do about it. When I’m asked this question I pretty much know what to expect and most of the time I’m right on the money. Their jumping abilities are in need of some serious improvements before they throw themselves at the mercy of the doubles. They say they can jump the same distance on the tabletops but they don’t land on the down side every time. If that were a double they would be doing some serious case landings and getting rebounded over the bars. They also have trouble controlling the angle of the bike in the air. Sometimes the front end is too high and sometimes it is too low. These are riders that are missing one or more of the five qualities listed above. I always tell them the same thing that they should not be jumping doubles yet and that there’s a good reason for their fear. If and when they develop the control to jump and land just how they want every time over safer jumps then they will not have that terrible fear and they will possess the confidence to do the big doubles, big doubles no troubles.

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.Great, now I know what I'll be calling myself on the track for a while.....Chester! lol Great posts though, definately have some more to work with.

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as long as you dont ride over your head too much. I dont know how helpful it is to race a buddy around the track before your completely ready. it can help, you can get an ego boost in a sense that may or may not work out for you. i work on transmission lines ect. and if i focus on the job at hand i do pretty well at blocking out the heights. hopefully this isnt counter productive. great tips guys. i am learning every day i get on the bike and i suck but its getting better.

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Look find a decent size table top at the track say 30-50ft(something small) if there are any around that size. Start off slow and do a small jump to flat maybe 5-10ft do it a few times then if your comfy with that go a little further 10 -15ft and you will get a feel for what gear how much speed. repeat this till you can clear the jump do this a few times then find a bigger one after a few practice sessions like this you will have the confidence to go a little bigger.

If at any stage you feel real uncomfy go back one step and repeat some more it aint a race.

the reason i say table tops are that they are forgiving in the fact that you can come up short with out to much of a drama but if you short doubles or triples thats not so forgiving.

You cant just wake up one day and say yeah i can hit a 100ft got to work your way up.

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Ya I know to pace my self till I get comfortable. But im not talking about "little" jumps. Im talking about decent-big triples or big doubles. Ive been riding a 250 for a year, and from what I remember, have never hit a triple and it pisses me off. I always have the confidence but get scared once im coming up the lip. For example(lol): the big I5 tripple, I have been trying to triple it for about a month, and every time I come up to the lip I chop the throttle, now I dont know why I really do it. I dont know if its because sometimes on little jumps I stay on the throttle to long and land on the back wheel and im scared thats gonna happen on a big jump. So im gonna ask this, what kinda throttle control do you use on big jumps?

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So im gonna ask this, what kinda throttle control do you use on big jumps?

Same throttle control you use on small jumps, its all the same stuff. On bigger jumps you wanna get up to speed quicker and hit the lip with a decent amount of generated speed, not just wicking it on at the last second. Its also good to be in the proper gear, so you're not revving it out approaching the jump.

Body position is the biggest thing with larger jumps.

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hey pit bike, please do not try the triple at I-5 for a long time. it's one of those that if you short it there is a big penalty. its easy to case it on that one and the way the landing is, I see cart wheels in your future. that is a 4th gear wound out or 5th mid throttle jump right into a right hander.

how about trying one of the ''triple'' tables at AV motoplex or the big table at piru? either will build your confidence for longer jumps and if youre short, well its just a harsh landing...

btw, a buddy of mine had it in his mind to hit that triple. i wasn't there, but thankfully he talked to someone doing it and the guy asked him if he clears the finish line jump every lap, every time, or clears the himilaya every lap. my buddy couldn't answer ''yes''. that put it in to perspective for him.

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hey pit bike, please do not try the triple at I-5 for a long time. it's one of those that if you short it there is a big penalty. its easy to case it on that one and the way the landing is, I see cart wheels in your future. that is a 4th gear wound out or 5th mid throttle jump right into a right hander.

how about trying one of the ''triple'' tables at AV motoplex or the big table at piru? either will build your confidence for longer jumps and if youre short, well its just a harsh landing...

btw, a buddy of mine had it in his mind to hit that triple. i wasn't there, but thankfully he talked to someone doing it and the guy asked him if he clears the finish line jump every lap, every time, or clears the himilaya every lap. my buddy couldn't answer ''yes''. that put it in to perspective for him.

The himilaya? And im not 100% yes im gonna do it. Ive tried it before, and have cased it, I just wanna work on it with more confidence, not "oh, I guess ill try it", and crash.

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