Drawing out Maximum Potential in Motorsport
Writes Simon North, Managing Director of Grovewood PR, who attended one of Linda’s seminars this year.
The Marussia F1 Team is a young and ambitious Anglo-Russian Formula One World Championship challenger with a desire to move quickly from the back to the front of the grid by the time of the Russian Grand Prix in 2014.
It’s a daunting task for a new entrant struggling to find its way forward in the ultra-competitive world of Formula One and to help speed up this process the team recently entered into a long-term technical partnership with McLaren. In financial terms the team estimates climbing up the grid costs $1 million for each second of improved performance.
Whilst in the hot and costly pursuit of technical excellence, it makes sense for the team to also focus on getting every last bit of competitiveness out of its drivers. This is why Marussia’s Head of Driver Development Marc Hynes, recently attended a seminar on training a driver’s mind organised by former racer turned psychotherapist Linda Keen.
The mind is possibly the last frontier in the quest for ultimate performance as Formula One and other top level forms of motorsport reach the point where technical advance is tiny compared to 20 years ago. Five times world champion Michael Schumacher was the last driver to bring about a sea change in F1 by taking driver training to new athletic heights, where now drivers such as Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg are physically able to compete at a high level as triathletes.
Mind training for a driver is aimed at opening up vast potential in the unconscious mind. This is the part of our mind which is not normally accessed by our consciousness but has massive influence on everything we experience including the level of attainable sporting performance.
Linda has worked with many drivers competing at a high level in motorsport and helped them to increase performance by identifying their thought pattern and working on positive rather than negative thinking. She shows drivers how the mind works and helps them to enhance performance through learning techniques tailored to the way they represent the world to themselves in visual, auditory and feeling terms.
“Driving a race car starts as a conscious activity but as a driver progresses it becomes unconscious, where the driver is no longer thinking about each element of driving a race car”, says Linda. “It’s important that a driver has a high level of concentration, particularly when fatigue comes into play towards the end of a race or stage. This is where mind training can help to keep the flow of a driver’s thoughts going in one, positive direction without interruption.”
We all process information through our five senses in different ways but tellingly research shows that most racing and rally drivers use feel rather than sight to take in the track or stage: asked to recall a race or final lap many could not remember seeing the chequered flag.
When training a driver whose mind works in this way a coach can use positive memories to recall a feeling the driver had when they nailed a lap, race or stage. This technique was inadvertently used by Red Bull Racing mechanics who taped the word ‘Monza’ onto Sebastian Vettel’s helmet so he would see it and recall feelings of elation from his first Grand Prix win just as he went onto the grid in Abu Dhabi to race for his first F1 title.
“We want to clear away any obstacles in a driver’s mind to allow them to harness their unconscious mind to the point where racing feels effortless”, Linda commented. “It could be simply seen as stacking the odds in the driver’s favour.”
Please contact Linda for the next available Racing/Rally Driver Seminar.