The interesting bits for me in this interview turn up in the first 55 seconds:
- What do you do to psych yourself up before a race?
- What are some of your 2018 racing goals?
As you’d expect, Aaron Gwin doesn’t need to psych himself up. The big thing he has to do on a race day is to control his emotions and channel his nerves/desire/adrenalin into the task at hand. Put another way he has to place himself in the zone. I’ve posted on this in the past e.g. Danny MacAskill on Anxiety, the ‘Zone’ & Mental Imagery, along with the techniques elite level athletes use to get there e.g. Self-Talk. The thing to note here is that Aaron gives us a partial glimpse of how he gets himself there.
When it comes to the question about his goals, Aaron’s answer is focused. The question asks for ‘some of his goals’ but he doesn’t list a series of goals, he gives just two. To give yourself the best chance of achieving your goals, you pretty much have to limit yourself to one as the more goals you have, the more you divide your time between them. The net effect of having more than one goal is to reduce the intensity you can put into each goal and thus reduce your chances of achieving it. Aaron knows this and so he doesn’t give a long list.
So why’s he picked two if it reduces his chances of achieving either? The interesting bit about Aaron’s two goals for this year are one is a Downhill World Cup goal and the other is a World Champs goal. By making the distinction between the World Cup season (a 7 race competition) and the World Champs (a one-off race that occurs at the end of the World Cup season so he can go for broke) Aaron shows his understanding of intensity and how to achieve goals.
If you’re going to take the time to practice, practice like the elite.