Riding Psychology 101 - brain stuff (an intro)

There are a number of psychological models used by Real World Riding, these articles are a brief introduction to some of them tied in together by another psychological model called 'Attentional Focus' developed by Frederick Niedeffer. The articles are aimed at all riders, but should be of particular interest to leaders. If you race, ride alone adventuring, ride in groups, these models will apply to you – after all, we're all human.

This series of articles will explore the models one at a time, so dip in as you wish. The models are all adapted from the theories, with apologies to the original academics who developed them. They are linked to eachother and reference eachother so ideally you can follow them in order, but feel free to dip in as you wish, or just go straight to the conclusion and 13 point plan for success.

  1. Intro to Riding Psychology
  2. Getting into the right frame of mind to learn - Mindset Theory
  3. An introduction to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
  4. Peak Experiences - Being "In the Zone" and "feeling the flow"
  5. Understanding Attentional Focus and the factors affecting individuals in training and development
  6. Attentional State vs Performance and Conclusion (with 13 point plan)

There is a baseline understanding that anyone can learn anything if they are taught in a style that suits them and provided the external factors are present to allow them to learn under those circumstances. We'll finish 101 with a note on learning styles.

How we learn differently

There are a number of models which explain how we learn, and in coaching the following types of learning are described;

  • Kinaesthetic learning – To experience the action, feel the body position
  • Audio Learning – To verbalise the action
  • Visual Learning – To create a real or imaginary picture of the action
  • Reflective learning – To take away the understanding of information delivered and spend some time thinking about it to generate a personal 'rationalising' of the information
  • Experiential learning – To just go and do it.

You can see that people rarely learn through only one way, and preferences may be different for different subjects. Also Reflective learning can be based on any of the other ways of delivery, provided that the information passed makes sense.

It's possible that included in the factors making it harder for learners, is the issue that if the learning material is delivered in a particular style that the learner doesn't operate well in, then they may struggle to learn, or for instance if a reflector isn't given time to personalise the information for themselves. This is why it is important to coach, and to seek to be coached in a number of styles in order that the one that best suits the learner's (your) style is used.

The other models used form a series of additional articles, culminating in an article on Attentional Focus which brings them all together. Click on any of the titles within the article here too learn more, or below to go straight to the Attentional Focus article for the 13 point agenda for successful development.