Performance & Race Driving Tip

Speed Secret: Build a trigger for, and practice, regaining your focus

The best drivers in the world lose their focus while driving just as much as you or anyone else does. The difference? They regain it more quickly. What they’re really good at is quickly and almost imperceptibly regaining it.

VIR Front straightLosing your focus is not that important. Regaining your focus is. But how? That’s the $64 million question, right?

The answer? With a mental trigger.

I’m sure you’ve seen someone wearing an elastic band around their wrist. Perhaps you’ve done that. It’s used to trigger a mental program, to take the person’s mind off of nail biting, smoking, worrying, or whatever. With repetition, the snapping of the elastic band triggers an alternative behavior. It programs the person’s mind to behave a different way.

Losing focus is like nail biting, smoking or worrying – it’s a behavior, one programmed through repetition. The more you lose focus, the “better” you get at losing focus. The good news is that the more you practice regaining focus, the better you get at that, too.

I recommend using a trigger phrase, such as “Look ahead,” or “Slow hands.” Each and every time you recognize yourself losing focus, say one of these phrases and re-focus by focusing on looking farther ahead or slowing your hands down with the steering wheel. Focus on a specific aspect of the act of driving. Do this in your daily life, at work, while driving down the highway, when reading a book or watching a movie, or out for a walk or run. The more you do this, the quicker you’ll get at regaining your focus.

I talk more about focus, regaining it, and triggers in this video Quick Tip – Focus: The Mental Game of Driving.

Check back here often for more tips and advice for performance drivers, race drivers, high performance driving instructors, and anyone else interested in learning to get around race tracks quickly.

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