If you ask most racers the main thing that causes them to win or lose, if they are honest, they will lift up their index finger and point directly at their head.
Sure, racecars are mechanical devices that certainly can have problems and regular maintenance is essential to a successful racing program, but a lot of racing wins and losses that are measured with thousandths of a second margin of victories come more from what is inside the helmet, than what is under the hood.
Racers will spend countless hours fixing their race cars, doing routine maintenance, and tweaking with various settings, but they are much less likely to do anything with their mental game.
If you ask other athletes involved in golf, baseball, or most other sports they are much more likely to talk about such things as centering and getting in the flow. However, for many racers, they spend more time working on their race machine than working on their brain machine.
There are literally hundreds of things that sport psychologists have identified to help enhance mental performance.
My Philosophy and Overview of My New Book:
1.) My philosophy and intervention techniques are based on solid, valid, reliable research.
2.) I strongly believe that all athletes (especially drag racers) are doing some things very well and these things need to be acknowledged and capitalized upon. Other things have room for improvement and these things need to be identified and targeted for intervention.
3.) When targeting behaviors to alter, it is important to start with things that can make the greatest impact on success. In addition, I strongly believe that only a few things should be altered at one time. Other sport psychologists argue that no more than 10% should be altered in a game plan at one time.
4.) As a social psychologist, I also think it is important to look at both the individual and the individual’s environment (e.g., friends, crew, family, track environment).
5.) Finally, I also think that self-report surveys and self-assessments such as journal questions and self-reflection are important tools to help assess strengths and areas for improvement. They can also be useful to assess change and growth.
The book's plan is sensible in that it is economic in terms of money and time. Most drag racers have to juggle their racing with career and family demands, therefore all interventions need to be as succinct and efficient as possible.
Whereas in other sports, basketball, golf, etc. there has to be more emphasis on physical skill and training, this plan will not focus on any physical training. Although it is acknowledged that appropriate sleep, exercise, and general health are important, the physical aspects of drag racing are much less important than the mental aspects.
It is important to note that in drag racing the margin of victory (or loss) is often measured in hundredths or thousandths of a second. Therefore, any plan that can help a drag racer gain even the slightest mental advantage can result in a victory.
I have a Ph.D. in psychology. I teach psychology at McKendree University in Lebanon, Illinois. In addition to working with auto racers, I have also worked with various college athletes including volleyball, softball, soccer, golf, basketball, and bowling. I am a certified performance consultant through the Association for Applied Sport Psychology. I am also on the United States Olympic Committee Sport Psychology Registry. I am proud to call myself a drag racer and part of this wonderful community of people.
"Not just interesting ideas, but actual tips" -- Brian Gardner St. Louis, Missouri
"Had never won a race, I've won 5 times since buying" -- Allen Smith New Albany, Ohio
"Great confidence builder" -- Jerry Coopman Mankato, Minnesota
"Great for racers and crew members alike" -- Jeff and Linda Brost Nekoosa, Wisconsin
"All you need if your car is set up, and you're still not winning races" -- Gordie Stone Coclhester, Vermont
"Will bring me one step closer to winning consistently" -- Randel Spicer Palm Harbor, Florida
"I can't believe how much of a difference you made for me in such a SHORT amount of time. I wish I would have talked with you years ago!" -- Drag Racer
"It was awesome to hear the players quote you last night. That says a lot for what you do" -- Head Coach
"I can definitely see a difference!" -- University level Bowler
"Won our last tournament - it's paying off" -- University level Bowler
“You are a part of what happens on the field. You always help the players think positively and never give up. Thanks" -- University Coach
"I started to relax and realize that what I was accomplishing was pretty darn good. Thanks for all your help. I feel like this journey is just beginning" -- Olympic hopeful
"She is liking her sessions with you a lot - definitely "into it" for a lack of better words" -- Mother of 14 year old tennis player