Q: “How can I learn to overcome anticipating what the car is going to do instead of reacting to what it IS doing? I am too much of a technical/comfort driver that wrongly anticipates how much grip is in a corner, entry speed, or tenses up when really pushing, expecting the car to slide. I am still improving but a lot slower than people that go out and spin or go off course and have to dial it back. How can I learn this aggression?”
A: As Nike would say, Just Do It. Okay, that’s not funny – or useful!
Just telling yourself to relax and trust yourself that you’ll respond appropriately when the car does something, and not anticipate and over-react is not easy. But remember, you do what you do because you’re programmed to do so – you do what you do because you have a habit of doing so. The reason you anticipate – and I bet you over-think, too – is because you’re programmed to do so. The reason you don’t do what you want, which in this case is trust yourself and respond to the car, is because you don’t have the right programming to do so – yet.
You’re not alone in this area, as I’ve coached many drivers who are just like you. The goal then is to first understand it, which hopefully you do after what I just said. Then, you need to change your programming. Yes, change can be difficult, but it can be done, as it’s no different from any other habit you’ve changed in your life.
The first, and most important step in changing your programming is to use mental imagery, or as it’s most commonly known, visualization. If you spent 20 minutes every night, and then 10 minutes each morning for the next month, imagining yourself on track, simply responding – and being comfortable with that – what do you think would happen? Your mental programming would change. I can’t guarantee that everything would be perfect within one month, but your programming would have begun to change, and then you’d start to see small improvements on the track. And when you saw those improvements, you’d believe that you can do this, you’d do more of the appropriate things, more mental imagery, more improvement… and you’d be on your way to making the changes you want. The momentum would be on your side.
You mention other drivers who seem to be able to go out and take some risks, then dial it back. The reason they do that is because of their mental programming. Who knows where that programming came from – it could be from driving on track a lot, how they’ve learned to approach things from other areas in their lives, past experiences, etc. But if they can do it, you can do it. It’s just a matter of deliberately working on your mental programming.