You can’t win the race from the back of the pack. Whatever your sport or cycling discipline there are seven stages of development based on Canadian Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD).1- Active Start; 2-Fun-damental; 3-Learning to Train; 4-Training to Train; 5-Training to Compete; 6-Training to Win; 7-Active for Life.
First, you start being active and having fun with a variety of exercises. Then you get to know how to train; after training for a while you get fit enough to take part in a higher level of training “training to compete”, and you learn to train hard and smart enough to be competitive, and after that comes “training to win.”
Those stages of LTAD will take years to complete and during those years many things can go wrong. But in order to succeed you have to know where you are heading, and how are you going to get there.
To start the process you have to dream with your eyes open and see yourself at the top of the word. The biggest part of winning is believing in yourself. However, you will a need a system and expert advice to go with you on your journey, and those you choose must believe in your dreams. You will never win a race unless you believe you can win it – just believing it won’t be enough. You can’t win a race unless you put yourself in a position from which it is possible to win.
It is easy enough to talk about these things (especially when you’re a good talker) but the question is how do you achieve success in an actual race? When we talk about the system there are no perfect systems and only some systems are functional, but that is not an excuse and should not stop you from getting into a winning position. You may create your own support team, and start working as a team – a functional team is stronger than its fragments. This set up can be particularly effective from the teamwork developed between the athlete and the coach. As the coach doesn’t always attend all training sessions, this type of teamwork is vital.
A Dream (visual imagery) must be developed and practiced on a regular basis – “I mean every day” – just like riding your bike every day and for years to come. The visual imagery doesn’t just shape your pathway; it is also one of the best ways to prepare before a race. When you concentrate on a perfect race scenario, you are putting yourself in a Winning Position. When I talk about the perfect race, it is the race that you thought through piece by piece, and there is nothing in the scenario you do not know about. The more often you go through those scenarios in your mind, the better position you will be in when working out how you would react to a particular situation. It will prepare you for any critical situation you will encounter. In any case you should not forget that only one person is going to win… and that is you… keep saying to yourself “I am going to Win”.
By Houshang Amiri