Viewing 19 posts - 1 through 19 (of 19 total)
  • Mental block – advice?
  • gingerflash
    Full Member

    This is about MrsF, posted with her consent.

    She used to ride a lot, and while not as brave and technically gifted as some, she did fine. She rode Lakes and Peak a lot, trips to the Alps, Liguria etc, from about 1994 to 2010. Then she had about 10 years off (children!) and is now riding again. Her skills in many areas, particularly on difficult climbs, are as good as ever.

    However, she’s having a massive mental block about downhill corners. This was never her forte but it’s getting worse ride-by-ride. At the weekend, she got off and walked some corners, and slightly rocky sections, that our 9yo son rode with ease, at the Leeds Urban Bike Park (yes, it’s pretty bad).

    On holiday this summer, we went walking in the alps. She was tense/scared on chairlifts, which is a new thing, and very unhappy walking along any sort of ridge.

    She got a new bike earlier in the summer (Sonder Dial). At first she raved about how confident it made her feel, how she liked the big wheels, the wide bars, and the dropper post, but that confidence has gone.

    She’s never had a major-injury crash, and we can’t work out why she’s feeling like this. It’s not like she’s riding badly – she just can’t bring herself to even try.

    She really wants some help with this.

    What do people think? Hypnotherapy? Skills coaching? Anyone to be recommended around Leeds?

    Thanks
    GF

    rhayter
    Full Member

    One-on-one skills coaching. It’s not cheap but a whole morning starting with the basics of cornering, working up to more sketchy, steeper turns could be just the things she needs. And maybe some CBT? That’s really effective at dealing with new/unfounded fear.

    Yak
    Full Member

    I would say a skills coach…but then walking/chairlifts are also an issue too. So something underlying this needs addressing. A sports psychologist maybe?

    BillMC
    Full Member

    Ageing? Lots of us have lost our head for heights with increasing years possibly a result of growing awareness of mortality.

    ta11pau1
    Full Member

    On holiday this summer, we went walking in the alps. She was tense/scared on chairlifts, which is a new thing, and very unhappy walking along any sort of ridge.

    That sounds like vertigo, if it’s just downhill corners or sections that are the issue then I’d say these are linked.

    Mental blocks can be really bad and the more you refuse to do a feature that you know you can do, skills wise, the more you beat yourself up about it, and the worse the mental block gets. I’m the same with ruts. And any sort of exposure. Put a rutted trail on the side of a hill with a bit of exposure and you’d think I’d never ridden a bike before!

    I’d suggest getting the possible vertigo (height triggered I’m guessing) looked at and sorted, and then some coaching.

    gingerflash
    Full Member

    I would have urged her to see Harry Wood (The Right Track), the coach who has done so well for our boys, but it seems he’s stopped coaching now.

    If anyone could recommend someone, that’d be great.

    We have thought about the coaching at Dalby, not least because they have loads of the sort of steep downhill corners that she’s struggling with, but i guess there’s plenty similar on the Chevin.

    CBT is a good shout, thanks. I might try someone who helped me (not with riding issues) and see if CBT might be the right thing.

    IHN
    Full Member

    MrsIHN has had some very good results from hypnotherapy for similar irrational (or maybe more accurately ‘rational, because falling off will hurt, but with an overexaggerated assessment of risk’) things, so that’s deffo worth a shot.

    Ageing? Lots of us have lost our head for heights with increasing years possibly a result of growing awareness of mortality.

    There’s also this.

    There’s also, possibly, the fact that she’s riding with you, who I’m guessing is quicker and more confident up and down stuff than her, and the boys, who I’m guessing are at the age where they throw themselves down stuff without a care, which all might be adding a bit of (unintentional) pressure and boysiness to it all, which might not be helping? Are there any relaxed laydees groups for laydees that she could get out with, to build her confidence in a less ‘macho’ (and I use the word very advisedly) environment?

    gingerflash
    Full Member

    There’s no vertigo, if you mean dizziness, loss of balance etc. Just fear.

    The boys aren’t super confident. They’re not throwing themselves down big steep stuff. They’re doing fine, but this is all pretty low level stuff, and I’m riding at their pace, stopping and coaching them along. It’s not like we’re bombing ahead complaining that she’s holding us back.

    dangeourbrain
    Full Member

    I’d suggest getting the possible vertigo (height triggered I’m guessing) looked at and sorted, and then some coaching.

    This seems the sensible place to start, if it’s also noticeable with walking, chair lifts etc it’s unlikely trying to deal with the riding in isolation is going to achieve much of anything. It’s not a riding problem.

    Are the walking and chairlifts things that also went on hold for 9 years?

    A big gap like that is enough to really set you back with most things, you’ll have an image of yourself and your ability which is unlikely you measure up to and it’s very easy to concentrate on the “I’m not capable” bit “I’m not capable of doing that at the moment, I just need practice” especially when you’re not 20 anymore.

    Add to that the young children, their dependency on you and so on and it’s very normal for people to become hugely risk averse during a protracted break. It’s not an easy thing to fix.

    Edit

    The boys aren’t super confident.

    This also probably doesn’t help, fear and nervousness are contagious and the instant one of the kids worries about falling off it’s very normal to start thinking about what happens if they do.

    /edit

    Assuming the walking and things have been kept up in the middle is there anything that’s happened – illness, fall, a big number birthday, not just for your wife but friends and family etc.

    IHN
    Full Member

    It’s not like we’re bombing ahead complaining that she’s holding us back.

    Cool, fair enough, just a thought

    Given your comments about the heights/ridges/chairlift stuff I’d say hypno/CBT (because any good practioner tends to use a mix of techniques) is, from MrsIHN’s experience, certainly worth a try then.

    EDIT – and what Dangeourbrain said

    EDIT, EDIT – and say hi from me, and if it’s any consolation, I’m as crap as I was ten years ago 🙂

    fooman
    Free Member

    My wife rides and my daughter helps out on women only MTB coaching days, there’s nothing coming up but we’re also in (North) Leeds they’ll happily go an session some local stuff with her. They’re not coaches themselves but know sometimes it’s better to do a little riding with other women away from the ‘hairy sweary’ crowd.

    ads678
    Full Member

    My wife used to be a bit of a thrill seaker, never a mountain biker but, she never had any fear doing bungies, tandem skydiving, paragliding. She still snowboards but is a lot more into the, we’ll just float about a bit then go for a nice glass of wine sort of thing.

    Age and kids! She’s just happy being the one at the back making sure everyone is ok nowadays. She deffinitely doesn’t want to do anything scary anymore. Apart from waking up next to me every morning!!

    Womens specific skils coaching, would be great though I reckon. Sorry don’t know anyone though….

    dangeourbrain
    Full Member

    (oh and without wishing to point fingers, does your wife actually want to do this stuff now? And I do mean, if she had a day off and free choice to do whatever, would she choose to do it on her own, without you and the kids?)

    phil5556
    Full Member

    Skills coaching and / or riding with someone other than you / another female.

    My wife is generally pretty handy on a bike, but has the occasional day where she has “the mental block” and nothing I ever say can improve things.

    We were out with a friend last week riding some quite difficult stuff and I’m convinced she did better than she would have done if it was just me and her out.

    The three of us had a chat about it and friend also says she notices the same when she’s out with just her other half vs other girls. I reckon it’s probably not an uncommon phenomenon.

    IHN
    Full Member

    I reckon it’s probably not an uncommon phenomenon.

    I can certainly relate to it from experience of riding/skiing with MrsIHN. She deffo relaxes more when she’s with people that aren’t me.

    MoreCashThanDash
    Full Member

    I have a paralysing fear of heights and exposure, always have had, and I was never great with any sort technically challenging stuff either.

    If she wants to overcome it, hypnotherapy, skills coaching and pads will help.

    If she’s not all that fussed about it, I’d suggest a gravel bike instead.

    gingerflash
    Full Member

    “This also probably doesn’t help, fear and nervousness are contagious”

    I doubt it’s this. they’re not frightened, it’s just that they’re not reckless either. They’ll have a go, crash, try again, make it. We’ve had some tears, but they’re perfectly happy to keep trying. I just wanted to make the point that they’re not doing backflips and smashing themselves to bits.

    the fear of heights is also, i think, a new thing. We can’t think of anything that’s happened over the years, or more recently, that could have caused this. It’s not like a relative had some dreadful height (or downhill-corner) related accident.

    I do wonder if it might be age, and that some part of her feels that she is less likely to bounce, without injury, than 10+ years ago. Maybe a minor crash or two would actually help. She is in pretty good health/shape and runs quite a bit. She is certainly not old for her chrono age (48). I just wonder if she feels more fragile than she really is, and cannot imagine hitting the deck without serious injury.

    tonyd
    Full Member

    Doesn’t sound like a skills coaching thing to me, it sounds like she has got a bit older, a bit wiser, and has young children to consider. My wife was never the biggest risk taker, but since we had kids she has become more nervous about pretty much everything. Is it a maternal thing whereby she worries about hurting herself and being unable to look after the kids?

    dangeourbrain
    Full Member

    She is certainly not old for her chrono age (48)

    Not saying it is but there’s a lot going on biologically for ladies around this age, but loss of confidence isn’t unusual.

    Loss of confidence and self-esteem

Viewing 19 posts - 1 through 19 (of 19 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Thanks for popping by - why not stay a while?IT'S FREE

Sign up as a Singletrack Member and you can leave comments on stories, use the classified ads, and post in our forums, do quizzes and more.

Join us, join in, it’s free, and fun.

Singletrack Quick Fire - Clips or F...
Singletrack Video Archive: Singletrack Quick Fire - Clips or Flats?