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IMGCA Article - The Mental Game of Auto Racing


Our Love Of Racing

Shirley Bullington

There's something about our human nature that enjoys being competitive. It is built within us and almost mimics primitive behavior. We seem to have this inner desire to be the "top dog" -- doing things quicker and smarter. It is sort of like self-preservation. We desire to go the distance through all hardships and never stop.

This nature is very profound in athletes but we all have it to some degree. We are naturally competitive and sometimes even with ourselves.

In sports, we usually always are supportive of a person or team even if we don't like sports or never participate in them. Sports have been around for about as long as mankind. And, we always want to be winners.

It's funny to see people who are typically quiet and in self-control go crazy and lose it at the stock car races. We typically have no control over it. Even the most timid of us will cheer the success of those who are able to run, ski, kayak, swim, row, guide horses, or cycle faster than we are able to. We seem to still want to be the strongest, healthiest, and quickest. And, if we cannot be that then we love to support those who can be.

It is all psychological really. It gives us a good feeling inside. It's like "virtual racing" or "virtual challenge."

We are addicted to this feeling of wanting to be the winner in the various "races" of life. We are not exactly concerned as to why we feel this way but we do nonetheless. We just want to be the fastest.

We love to be winners and everyone loves a winner. Being winners makes us feel better about ourselves. Even if we are bystanders to a race and contribute no input we are still happy just being part of it. We even feel as if we are part of the team too.

In order to race effectively, we have to properly train and direct our inner feelings of anxiety properly. This must be done even before the start of the race. The feelings of anxiety produce a positive force that will have an effect on the competitive part of our brains.

We need the anxiety in order to maintain a racing state of mind. If we did not have anxiety then we would find it hard to get motivated to win. It would not be "exciting" enough for us.

The person in the stands watching also helps to increase the energy level in the racing environment. Without the energy level or charisma, there would be no purpose to watching the race and we certainly would be apathetic to who will win or lose. It's all in the preparation and the competition. We describe it with phrases like "getting into the zone," "going with the flow" and keeping up momentum. We always want to be mobilized, ready, have a vision of our victory to come.

We all must have goals in order to accomplish anything in life. We need set them, practice them, and strive to reach them on a consistent basis.

For all of us, there is nothing to compare to winning. Even if we don't win, we love the thrill of the game. We love to watch the horse races with the jockeys speeding around the track on sleek, well-built horses. And lastly, we are thrilled to pull for others because we love to see them be winners too.

And it's not just racing. More than likely the swimming teams, track star fans, and downhill skiing racers would totally understand competition too.

Shirley Bullington, the author, enjoys racing and operates , a site devoted to racing and racing resources. Be sure to visit for all your racing needs.

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