Getting Back on the Iron Horse

News & Results

09/18/2003| 0 comments
by Kristen Dieffenbach, Ph.D.

Getting Back on the Iron Horse

Learn how to stay motivated after a crash.

psychological aftermath of a crash, let alone talk about it with anyone else. Acknowledging that a crash has affected you and seeking the appropriate tools to repair the damage is as important as replacing a cracked helmet or getting a broken bone set.

So, what do you do to put a bad spill behind you? First, you need to acknowledge and understand what happened. Trying to pretend a crash didn't happen, particularly once in which someone got seriously hurt will leave the memory lurking in the back of your mind where it will overshadow future riding. Examine what happened in the crash. Some crashes happen in the blink of an eye, while others seem to unfold slowly. No matter how you went down, the most important thing is to understanding why you went down. This will help you determine what you can do to avoid a future fall.

Falling (or not falling) is not always within our control. If the fall was truly out of your control, acknowledge this important fact. Sometimes crashes happen and you need to decide if you can focus on your efforts on accepting it as part of the sport and move forward. However, if you contributed at all to the downfall, it is very important that you understand and accept the role you played. Don't beat yourself up about it though, instead focus your energies on looking for ways you can improve your riding to prevent a repeat. Overall, understanding what happened and developing a plan to move beyond the crash will help you begin to repair your riding confidence.

When reviewing a crash and attempting to learn from it you should also enlist the help of a trusted teammate or fellow rider. Another person can often provide an outside opinion and fresh insights about what happened. Often athletes can be pretty blind to things and they may either completely blame themselves for something they had no control over or they may be unaware of how their own actions contributed to the problem. Either way, seeing the situation from a different perspective can help you more correctly identify what happened so that you can properly decide what skills you need to work on in order to avoid future scrapes. Further, discussing fears and concerns with others around you whom you trust can help normalize the experience and can help you see that others have been through it and have been able to recover.

After a crash it is very important to get back on the bike asap. The longer you are off the bike the more time your imagination has to get all worked up and the harder it can be to regain the trust and confidence you had on the bike before. If the physical damage from the crash keeps you off the bike for more than just a few days, you can use imagery to put yourself back in the saddle and minimize loss of mental ride time. Imagery should be done in a realistic controlled first person style. This means that when you use


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