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Having understood your level of competitiveness and set the goals that you want to achieve it's then important to understand how high the bar is in terms of the competition you will face and the level you need to train at, if you are to achieve those goals.

The challenge we have in motorsport unlike some other sports is that there is no ‘Bar’ for us to measure ourselves against, as there would be if we were taking part in high jump, and we don’t have a world record time to compare against like the 100 meters or the  1,500 meters, etc., etc.  So it is very difficult for us to know where our level of performance is compared to our rivals, as we can only really compare ourselves to our direct peers – drivers in the same car as us, racing on the same circuits as us.  The challenge here is that our direct peer group is not our ‘world motorsport peer group’.

If for arguments sake we look at drivers who are trying to make it into Formula 1, your peer group would be as follows:

1.      Age group – Again for the sake of argument let’s say the target window for being signed to an F1 team is between 22 and 26, that makes an age peer group size of five years (you could sign for F1 at 22 or 26).  So if you are 16 years old your peer group rivals are all the drivers aged between 14 and 18… that is a much larger number than just drivers of your own age. 

2.      Racing Category – Drivers who are rivals for your F1 seat will not be just racing in the formula that you are in, they might still be karting, they might be in formula’s above and below yours – the challenge you have is that you can’t compare yourself to these drivers… you don’t know how talented they are and how high their bar is.

3.      Country – Motor racing doesn’t just take place in the UK, there is the US, South America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East, India, China, etc.  – this is a massive potential peer group, especially when you factor in the five year age window… and again you have no way of knowing how talented all of these drivers are and how high their bar is.

What does that mean for your skill level:

1)      You will become comfortable with your current level of performance – Remember the nature of the human being is to only push as far as we need to (staying within our comfort zone).

2)      Without knowing it you will train at a level below that of other drivers in your peer group – As a result you will be less skillful and adaptable.

3)      Without knowing it you will not be as resilient as your peer group – You will not be conditioned for the higher levels of competition you will face.

What will happen when you meet stiffer competition:

1)      Your challenge / skill ratio will be out of balance – You will be less skillful than the challenge you face.  This will prevent you firm accessing flow which you were probably enjoying when winning in your national championship.

2)      You will experience performance anxiety – You will start to think about how you can escape this discomfort as quickly as possible – emotion will rule at this crossroads of choice not logic.

3)      You won’t know how to go faster – If you have become comfortable with your level of performance you will not have scrupulously studied your strengths and weakness and learnt everything there is to know about your Method (technical, mental and physical).

4)      Your will start to drive consciously ‘trying’ to go faster – This will over-ride the unconscious autopilot and drive away automaticity which will further reduce your performance. 

5)      You will cease to operate close to your Peak Performance State – Trying to driver faster will make you over-drive, or you will become cautious so as not to make mistakes, under-driving.  This will further reduce your performance.

6)      You will have low levels of self-belief and high levels of doubt – This will further drive away micro-flow.

7)      You will feel threatened - Instead of looking at the situation as a challenge you will be in danger of looking at it as a threat, again driving away micro-flow.

8)      You may start taking too many risks – This can happen if you become too aggressive and try to cheat time, this will result in incidents and accidents further reducing your self-belief.  


What action can you take?:

If you encounter this situation when you get to, for example FIA F3, it may well be too late… how do you overcome maybe three years of training and development (that served you well at the time) but in reality was 10% below the level of your ‘world motorsport peer group?  So retrospective action is not the solution, pro-active action in your training now! is essential – you have no idea of the level of your peer group so you have to be exceptional in everything you do…

take zero chances or you may live to regret it.   


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