How to overcome nerves?

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  • How to overcome nerves?
  • Premier Icon weeksy

    1 Practice


    2. Training.

    Premier Icon kayak23

    Someone will be along shortly to recommend some skills coaching, and I’d probably agree in this case.
    I think it would be good to build your confidence.
    I sometimes get the same, only with kayaking, not so much with biking.


    do you ride with a group? If not that might help?

    Premier Icon nickc

    Countdown 3-2-1, go on 2

    £100 please


    I think you gotta decide at the top of the hill what your willing to sacrifice on the descent – by that I mean, I decide Im OK with crashing, if it happens, it happens – and I come to terms with it before I set off. Once i’ve decided “Im OK with crashing” I find my riding is easier. Done know if i’ve explained that properly or not, but I think that fear can only exist in a place that doubt creates – remove doubt, remove fear – you can only do that by deciding what your prepared to accept.


    Ride with mates who you can develop with or try to keep up with.

    Go night riding, your skill level will then improve.

    Premier Icon roverpig

    Start small and build up slowly. It’s not a race. This is something you do for fun. If scaring yourself is fun then that’s fine and pushing yourself a bit can help you improve and be rewarding in its own right. But it’s not compulsory. Just find the sort of riding you enjoy and enjoy it.

    Premier Icon mrelectric

    As Willber, though it is easier to say “I’m Ok with crashing” when you have some pads and decent helmet. It doesn’t usually hurt that much anyway.
    Someone will mention sessioning as training; all good stuff.


    Use the force

    The above suggestions are far more sensible and legal.

    As above, are you riding in your own or in a group? Group riding is likely to help with this.

    Weirdly having a crash can help too (as long as it’s not a massive one) ‘cos it can remind you that actually it’s not usually not that bad. Don’t do what I did though and have a massive crash on a stupid bit of trail that knocks the wind and confidence right out of you!

    Few of us are riding Greno and possibly a bit of Wharny this coming Sunday if you fancy joining us. Can maybe give you a few pointers.

    (Disclaimer – I am not an MTB coach, or even very good.)

    Build up to things progressively. Start small work up. Session some small steeps until you’re confident.

    There’s always going to be an element of just having to do it, to conquer your fears though, but if you’ve got the skills in your locker, you know you should/will be fine.

    Premier Icon vondally

    I would suggest
    go for a ride with patient non competative macho riders who will aid you…support you
    pay for a skills day recommended ed o/jedi
    go for a ride to a quiet spot and ride a section again and again ideally after a training session
    hypno therapy……..friend had a huge crash shattered mentally as much as physically really really helped him
    ski………tis a lot steeper andputs things into perspective

    Go at your pace and confidence, pads are good but fundementally relax and enjoy build up small.


    Dont worry about it, I had similar a few weeks back, felt like bambi on ice the entire ride and just couldnt get it together. Went out the next day and had one of those superb ‘when everything comes together’ rides…It happens.

    Premier Icon dannybgoode

    FMC – kind offer. Would be well up for that. Drop me an email if you would and we’ll sort out details.

    dannybower at outlook dot com


    Danny B

    Premier Icon dannybgoode

    Thanks all for your suggestions. I’ll keep on at it.

    I used to go hammering down Stannage on a fully rigid Ridgeback in the days before disc’s etc and loved it.

    Just can’t seem to do it now!




    I think part of MTB is just accepting that once you commit to something you just cannot strop once you have started

    Add to that the fact you will inevitably crash at some point so just makes sure you do the correct my skill v risk of injury equation

    Also are you good enough to actually do it

    Every ride you do [ not on your local stuff] should have you ride some stuff where you are outside your comfort zone but not past your skill zone.

    Premier Icon dannybgoode

    So, out at the weekend again practicing some pointy downy stuff – we’re talking simple (really simple) singletrack. Little bit of rock, the odd root and other than that just a bit bumpy. And, if I’m being honest it wasn’t even that steep!!

    But, at the top of this (and any hill) I get the most terrible nerves (sheer panic is closer to the mark) and its hampering my ability to get down safely. I know the theory – stay loose, look forward not down, weight over the back a bit etc but just can’t put it into practice.

    Anyone got any tips? I’m going to swap the SPD’s out for some flats so I can get my feet on and off the pedals quickly and I’m more than happy to repeat repeat repeat but just need to get over the hump so to speak.

    Cheers all

    Danny B

    Premier Icon vincienup

    I find that when following mates down the run I can tend to be far more cautious than if I have them immediately behind me…

    I’m considering a skills day and I’m also considering a gym membership for a bit… I hereby promise not to be so crap next winter!

    you just cannot strop once you have started

    I quite often get a bit stroppy with myself!

    Premier Icon nedrapier

    Another thing that might help is try and realise what the feeling of “fear” is, and change your reaction to it.

    Stick with me!

    You’re approaching something you know requires effort and concentration, and your body goves you a big dose of adrenaline. Just because you have that shot of adrenaline, doesn’t necessarily mean that what you’re approaching is anything to be afraid of.

    Your body’s giving it to you to help, to sharpen your senses and reactions and to fire your muscles.

    Repeats (sessions) of a trail section that’s just within your confidence level. You’ll get comfortable and smoother; then move on.

    Premier Icon D0NK

    Group riding is likely to help with this.

    not for me, I get incredibly tense when people are watching, other people may help with line choice but if I haven’t seen a line it’s probably so far out of my skill range I wouldn’t attempt it anyway. If the group stops to look at some obstacle I may well chicken out but as soon as everyone else starts to ride off I’ll have a quick go at it.

    of course no one believes you when you catch up and say you cleaned it 🙂



    I find that sticking to the rear wheel of someone who I know to be a better technical rider than I am works quite well for me.

    My top tip for scary stuff is one I got from a skills coach (Stu at forestfreeride): Ignore the obstacle and stare down the trail to your next safe braking zone, let go of the brakes and don’t brake again until you get there. It helps me out a lot when I remember to do it.


    learn to crash…daft as it may sound but the number of people i’ve seen come off a bike with arms and legs flapping about, they’ve always got up saying something hurts and then this puts the fear of god in them. learning to keep your arms and legs tucked in as much as possible, how to roll into an impact and knowing how to kick a bike out from under you can give you that confidence boost if it does go wrong.
    this might help you as you’ll know what to do if things go pear shaped on a descent. once you’ve learnt this you can concentrate on your descending technique…you’re doing the right things in shifting your weight back, keeping it firm but loose and looking ahead…flats will also help you massively.
    if you can ride with someone who has more experience of downhilling then ride a session with them to get some advice, starting off small and then building it up as you get better and more confident


    Danny, I am hopefully going to be out this Sunday with FMC too, so will be happy to try and give you some pointers/tips 🙂

    I’m probably not the best coach, but can have a go 🙂

    Premier Icon Mad Pierre

    go for a ride with patient non competative macho riders who will aid you

    Anyone ever met any of those?!!! 😮

    Stop stopping at the top and overthinking it and just ride it. Following someone (as other shave said) would probably help

    Best advice I can now give is not to try and keep up with Duane 😉


    +1 for night riding, I found myself thrashing down stuff that in daylight I’d stay shy of. Then when I did hit them in daylight I found them much less scary.

    Maybe the thought of bears chasing me in the dark was what made me ride down them?

    Premier Icon dannybgoode

    Cheers Duane

    Greno woods is only 5 mins from me so I’ll definitely be there Sunday. Will be good to ride with you guys.


    Danny B

    This is going to sound really, really stupid but closing your mouth and breathing through your nose seems to allow me to calm down and focus better. Then when you’re riding, put a lot of faith in the bike. Bikes can roll over and cope with stuff more demanding than maybe you think they can. Let the bike do a load of the work, stay loose and if needed, edge off the back of the bike a bit, maybe even dropping your seat too. Death grip and hanging over the front of the bike doesn’t work.

    The setup of your bike might need to change as well. Shorter stem/bars with more rise, forks too soft and diving through the travel, steepening your head angle?

    I’d be inclined to agree with some others comments about a skills course. I went on one a few years back and from a purely personal point of view, I felt I picked a few things up from it but didn’t especially get vfm. What I did like about it (and maybe this would be better as a start) was that it was getting out into the woods and sessioning stuff over and over again, something I rarely do when I’m out riding. So maybe a more cost effective way of getting ‘skills training’ would be to go out with a better rider and find something (like this descent you mention) and session it, thinking about why it feels wrong and adjusting your body positioning and bike setup to counteract.


    of course no one believes you when you THEY catch up and say you cleaned it

    On the plus side you are so far ahead we can say we cleared it 😉
    PS I dont want to see the trail or drop that is too far out your skill range tbh 😯
    Amusingly you were so far in front yesterday you could neither hear me swearing nor know just how far off piste i went on that descent 😉

    Premier Icon vondally

    Mad Pierre……..some exist usually women are exceptional at this, saying that my SO isn’t especially 😕

    It is something Jedi said in one of his blogs…worse thing is all your mates shouting mtfu and so breaks your concentration and flow. Ed O is exceptional at this calm and cool you can do it approach.
    It really does make a huge difference


    I recently did a skills course, as someone above mentioned it didn’t exactly rock my world BUT I took away a few good pointers….the coach recommended that every time before you go for a ride, get on the bike and practice getting as far back on the bike as you can ,make your bum actually rub on the rear wheel, do this 3 times before you set off. Thats where you want to be when your tackling the steep stuff. It’s definitely helped me with my riding/confidence so it might help!!

    Cheers, Paul

    Jedi would def disagree with this ^ but YMMV


    Put some music on your headphones and sing along.

    The less you think about the obstacle ahead, the easier it is.

    Jedi would def disagree with this

    So should any good coach/instructor.


    I don’t think you need to particularly practise getting “off the back” of your bike, but what IS critical is that you have an unhindered fluid movemement whereever you are positioned! Allowing the bike to flow and move under you, whilst your body mass continues in a straightline is the key imo! If you watch how the top guys and girls just sit on a bike, you can see there natural and relaxed technique. Tensing up, or “hanging on for dear life” as i have heard it described are really not conductive to finding a smooth flowing technique that leaves plenty of leeway for dealing with both the un-expected and the expected 😉

    I’d say you can learn a lot just sitting on your bike in a car park, feeling how you can move the bike around underyou, and how that effects your balance etc


    Do you ride with someone you trust to guide you down a few slopes to help build up your confidence? If so then just follow along behind them, let them pick the lines and the speed and you can focus on following them rather than working it all out for yourself.

    Premier Icon theotherjonv

    I’m also convinced this ‘getting off the back of the saddle’ thing is a red herring. maybe useful if you’re a xc racer where seat height adjustment isn’t practical, for the rest of us, before a steep down, dropping the saddle makes a big difference.

    Whether that’s by the old style way or a new dropper post, you pay your money, you take your choice, but the confidence it give me by having my CoG just that few inches lower is huge.

    And of course +1000 to going to see Jedi, who i never go for a ride without (others are also available and by all accounts very good too)


    So should any good coach/instructor.

    Different coaches will recommend different things – they are teaching the student how they think something should be tackled.

    Neither is “right” and neither is “wrong”


    Walk the tricky section in question. Pick lines. Pick braking points. Pick “no braking” sections.

    Give it a go.




    Have a beer, and wonder what all the fuss was!!

    (All the above is best done with 1 good mate, who is a good rider. An audience won’t help!)


    Do you spend any time on flat ground practising the same obstacles?

    Any time in a car park practising monoevering?

    Start small and build up.

    Dont get up on “hanging off the back” it’s bad practise, just a strong, central standing position. Put the seat down as far as it will go too.


    is the right answer. All the other stuff about flow/hanging back/breaking points wont help with nerves. A pint or two will. A bong might help with nerves but it wont help with riding (We call it the de-motivator 😀 )

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