How often has someone given you a piece of advice and you’ve thought…..’if only I’d known that 6 months ago’? That’s the power of mentors and the world’s elite have theirs:
Michael Jordan had Dean Smith
Kobe Bryant had Michael Jordan
Cristiano Ronaldo had Laszlo Boloni
Tiger Woods had his dad
Mozart had his father
Josh Bryceland had Steve Peat
Loic Bruni had his dad, Nico Voulloiz and Fabien Barel
Sergio Garcia had Jack Nicklaus
Greg LeMond had Bernard Hinault
Laura Trott had Sir Bradley Wiggins
Michael Phelps had Bob Bowman
Ian Thorpe had Doug Frost
Novak Djokovic had Boris Becker
Andy Murray had Ivan Lendl and Amelie Mauresmo
Lionel Messi had Pep Guardiola
This list is far from exhaustive and all those named above will have had other mentors than the ones mentioned. The important thing to realise is, if you’re wanting to have a chance of fulfilling your potential as a rider (or at anything else for that matter) you need a mentor.
The right mentor provides you with the benefit of their experience so that you can avoid mistakes and, as a result, achieve your goals more quickly. They provide, in essence, a fast track to success by helping you to more accurately visualise and identify important areas for development and support you by giving you confidence in the development decisions you’re making.
As the purpose of a mentor is to learn from them, when choosing a mentor it’s essential to make sure they are significantly better than you. The rule of thumb is to find someone who is where you want to be in 10 years time (I mentioned why in Matt Jones…..10 years proves the theory?). It’s also important to remember that mentorship goes two ways though, and supporting others who are 10 years behind you will help you develop too.
So book a course with a skills trainer. Join a riding club and turn up regularly. Surround yourself with riders who are where you want to be in 10 years because mentors are indescribably important in your development. While it’s true that we learn from our mistakes, it’s not the only way to learn (& in many cases is a slower way to learn). Why else would the worlds elite athletes go to skills trainers, sports psychologists, fitness coaches and cite the mentors who have helped them to achieve?
If you’re going to take the time to practice, practice like the elite.