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The Mind Of A Champion


Jaybird180
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I just finished reading some interviews with Ben Spies, Casey Stoner, Nicky Hayden and Josh Herrin. For quite some time, I've been a student of the championship mindset and the distinctions are becoming clearer the wiser I get as to the differences to champions and non-champions.

 

From Nicky's interview I learned that he has an incredible humility. Even though he himself is a World Champion, he feels honored to be teamed up with another World Champion.

 

Casey has a never quit attitude, get it done regardless.

 

Spies' attitude says, 'I'm well prepared for what lies ahead'. Mladin was the training ground on which he cut his teeth. Even going as far as saying, "A couple people have warned me that I'm going to have to watch out for so-and-so in World Superbike, and that they'll slice you up or play games with you… Listen, I'm on vacation at these races. No sweat, I'm ready to go out and have fun."

 

I hope that someone can chime in and prescribe some material on creating, developing and grooming the MIND OF A CHAMPION.

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A question for Keith I'd say. He's still in Oz, due back late next week, then almost immediately to Vegas for schools. I also like reading the interviews with the top crew chiefs, and their views on champions. Like Kel Carruthers, Erv Kanemoto, Jeremy Burgess to name a few.

 

There for sure have been guys with the talent, but not the al-round package to get and stay at the top. Like Anthony Gobert. Man, what a rider!

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A question for Keith I'd say. He's still in Oz, due back late next week, then almost immediately to Vegas for schools. I also like reading the interviews with the top crew chiefs, and their views on champions. Like Kel Carruthers, Erv Kanemoto, Jeremy Burgess to name a few.

 

There for sure have been guys with the talent, but not the al-round package to get and stay at the top. Like Anthony Gobert. Man, what a rider!

This definately has implications off the track as well. I own and keep in my library books like this:

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You've left out Rossi. I think he's handled being a champion well. He's fought through plenty of adversary and handled it well.

When Hayden won the championship, he was struggling with his bike. At Laguna Seca his bike broke down and it pretty much put him out of the championship race, and he knew it. They put the camera on him driving to the pits, and he was in a cart and joking with the driver and smiling away. He's seemingly a good guy whom everyone cheers for because of not only his racing, but because of his attitude.

Stoner demonstrated an inability to maintain a championship pace. After winning the title in '07, he was unable to keep a superior bike on the rubber side, and maintain leads until he was well behind Rossi in the points race, then he became competitive again. I don't know if it was immaturity in the sport, or an inability to fight for his championship status. Hopefully he'll get used to being the defending champion and keep riding like he's the best out there.

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You've left out Rossi. I think he's handled being a champion well. He's fought through plenty of adversary and handled it well.

When Hayden won the championship, he was struggling with his bike. At Laguna Seca his bike broke down and it pretty much put him out of the championship race, and he knew it. They put the camera on him driving to the pits, and he was in a cart and joking with the driver and smiling away. He's seemingly a good guy whom everyone cheers for because of not only his racing, but because of his attitude.

Stoner demonstrated an inability to maintain a championship pace. After winning the title in '07, he was unable to keep a superior bike on the rubber side, and maintain leads until he was well behind Rossi in the points race, then he became competitive again. I don't know if it was immaturity in the sport, or an inability to fight for his championship status. Hopefully he'll get used to being the defending champion and keep riding like he's the best out there.

I didn't "leave" out Rossi. In this particular instance I was commenting on the articles that I had read.

 

But I'm glad you brought him up!

What makes Rossi SO interesting is that his mind is SO strong....and I've been watching this for years, that he has a tremendous psychological advantage over the field. It seems that other riders do things to ensure that Rossi will win.

 

When Pedrosa crashed into Hayden in 07 near the end of the season, I thought for sure it was a manifestation of "Rossi-ness". I think Stoner was also a victim of the Rossi-ness.

 

Many have fallen victim to it: Biaggi (poor, poor Max), Gibernau (he got under his skin so much). Somehow. Hayden has managed to be the exception! Rossi, early in mentoring phase of Hayden's GP career cut him off when he became a threat, taunting him even. But IMHO because of Nicky's "stick-to-it-tiveness" pushed through to become the lead Repsol rider when Valentino moved to Yamaha. I think this has helped Nicky grow up, much in the way Mladin helped Spies.

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Really like to see what Nicky can end up doing on that Duc. He just doesn't give up, but glad he left the Honda camp, hope he can do well with the Italians. Being able to make it work month in and month out, on the road, different countries, food, places to sleep, different teams, etc., that's part of the package at the top--not easy, not easy at all.

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Really like to see what Nicky can end up doing on that Duc. He just doesn't give up, but glad he left the Honda camp, hope he can do well with the Italians. Being able to make it work month in and month out, on the road, different countries, food, places to sleep, different teams, etc., that's part of the package at the top--not easy, not easy at all.

OT: I saw somewhere that the top teams take everything with them in the trailer just for the purpose of familiarity. Even the catering is familiar.

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Really like to see what Nicky can end up doing on that Duc. He just doesn't give up, but glad he left the Honda camp, hope he can do well with the Italians. Being able to make it work month in and month out, on the road, different countries, food, places to sleep, different teams, etc., that's part of the package at the top--not easy, not easy at all.

OT: I saw somewhere that the top teams take everything with them in the trailer just for the purpose of familiarity. Even the catering is familiar.

 

Just like we do! Well, and so we have it on hand too :)

 

C

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Really like to see what Nicky can end up doing on that Duc. He just doesn't give up, but glad he left the Honda camp, hope he can do well with the Italians. Being able to make it work month in and month out, on the road, different countries, food, places to sleep, different teams, etc., that's part of the package at the top--not easy, not easy at all.

I was in favor of him going to WSBK. Him being a champion again in GP hinges on him being competitive on the Duc. He's a power bike guy, and if the Duc isn't a good fit I think he's going to need to go back to liter bikes.

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I didn't "leave" out Rossi. In this particular instance I was commenting on the articles that I had read.

 

But I'm glad you brought him up!

What makes Rossi SO interesting is that his mind is SO strong....and I've been watching this for years, that he has a tremendous psychological advantage over the field. It seems that other riders do things to ensure that Rossi will win.

 

When Pedrosa crashed into Hayden in 07 near the end of the season, I thought for sure it was a manifestation of "Rossi-ness". I think Stoner was also a victim of the Rossi-ness.

 

Many have fallen victim to it: Biaggi (poor, poor Max), Gibernau (he got under his skin so much). Somehow. Hayden has managed to be the exception! Rossi, early in mentoring phase of Hayden's GP career cut him off when he became a threat, taunting him even. But IMHO because of Nicky's "stick-to-it-tiveness" pushed through to become the lead Repsol rider when Valentino moved to Yamaha. I think this has helped Nicky grow up, much in the way Mladin helped Spies.

If you want to read about champions, particularly in sportbikes, how could you not read about Rossi. He is GREAT.

I think his legend does help him as well, though. Gibernau's curse, the pressure Stoner was under all season that caused him to choke. It goes on. I haven't seen any other generations greats, but no one I HAVE seen can ride like him. No one comes close. His book is on my list when I have time. Juggling too much as it is right now.

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It is in the press here all the time about how close the ducati team are, two world champions Nicky and Casey are working together to get the best from the GP9, neither of them think they are too good to take advice from one another, Nicky wants to get faster and Casey wants to get more aggressive! In the Honda garage they never communicated, it was every man for himself! Ducati are working as a team to get the best out of the bikes! As far as Rossi is concerned, no one can take away what he has achieved over his career, but he is beginning to show signs of weakness, The younger generation of GP riders are not intimated by him, in portugal last year Lorenzo became his first ever team mate to beat him, he never liked that much, also the Yamaha garage had a wall between them because they were on different tyres, this year Rossi has demanded that the wall stays, definately not a team player in that respect!

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It is in the press here all the time about how close the ducati team are, two world champions Nicky and Casey are working together to get the best from the GP9, neither of them think they are too good to take advice from one another, Nicky wants to get faster and Casey wants to get more aggressive! In the Honda garage they never communicated, it was every man for himself! Ducati are working as a team to get the best out of the bikes! As far as Rossi is concerned, no one can take away what he has achieved over his career, but he is beginning to show signs of weakness, The younger generation of GP riders are not intimated by him, in portugal last year Lorenzo became his first ever team mate to beat him, he never liked that much, also the Yamaha garage had a wall between them because they were on different tyres, this year Rossi has demanded that the wall stays, definately not a team player in that respect!

If Nicky and Casey have a genuine bond and work together like that, then watch out! I've had work situations where I was working on projects with guys who I got along with well and we had complimentary skills- we had enough in common to communicate and understand each other yet enough differences we could bring multiple viewpoints to the situation and with enough respect for each other to listen. Having something like that in a supportive overall environment which it sounds like they have (we weren't that lucky) is simply formidable.

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But isn't job #1 to beat your team mate?

 

C

What would the team owner rather see?

 

I think that job #1 is to beat your team mate and both Nicky and Casey have said that come race day may the best man win! Also it has become apparent over the last 2 years that Casey seems to be the only guy so far that can get the best out of the 800cc Ducati, in the last test in spain I was surprised to see Casey there as he should of been at home recovering from his operation but instead flew to spain to act as consultant to Nicky Hayden! If Nicky is fast it helps Casey develop the bike as previous team mates were so far off his pace that they could not share data effectively making it a one rider team! In my eyes Ducati this year have gone all out to build a team designed to crush Rossi, with 2 world champions, 2 rookies, and the immense experience of Sete Gibernau all getting the new carbon framed GP9 to race and develop while all other manufacturer's satellite teams will be on last years factory bike!

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Watch out for Dani Pedrosa in 2009!

Thank you. That's what I keep saying (I also keep saying the Texans are going to go undefeated), but he hasn't been able to come through yet. I'm looking for a Pedrosa/Haga win this year.

 

Ya he's super talented. Seems like most of the press will be focused on rossi, hayden, casey at least at first. Pedrosa might steal the show though. Besides he rides the dream machine :P

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One book on mental management by an olympic gold medalist. All in all, not a bad read. He does consulting work with athletes and businesses now.

I think that's a good one. I recall a study with Athletes where there was one group who mentally practiced, and another group who actually did the physical practice. The study's outcome was that game performance was nearly (astonishingly to the researchers) identical. The physical athletes has a slight edge in results. What was discovered is that the mind didn't care whether the rehearsal was real or actual, it was rehearsed the same.

 

Contrast that with Keith's writing on mentally running your favorite circuit as mentioned in Twist2. Interesting...

 

BTW- Does anyone know what that study was called?

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