Pros On Bikes: Team Sky Coach Teaches Bikers How to Enhance Peak Performance

Sir David Brailsford, cycling coach

Brailsford swears that although fitness trackers are great tools that motivate bikers, hyping up performance is based on managing the power-to-mass ratio.

Ever wondered how those pros on bikes can hike up their speed and endurance? We decided to follow the trail of the Dave Brailsford’s coaching strategy. We learned that compulsive cyclists may be just as destructive as compulsive mobile sports betting gamblers. Both have to be careful about going for the big haul immediately. We should try to achieve our big goals and big money little by little. Let’s see how smaller increments can make everyone happier.

Be careful not to lose muscle mass if you want to increase performance

First off he advised that bikers should focus more on “power-to-mass ratio” rather than “quantified self” movement. By so doing we’d be measuring the wrong thing, thus coming up with false results. Brailsford says “Big data’s a challenge for all of us. It’s an area where everybody’s trying to steal a march on each other.”

If a cyclist is dead set on losing weight, just as how a gambler may be eager to spend all his money at once in UK poker rooms, then they may end up dehydrated and losing muscles instead of fat and the gambler may end up losing all his money. That’s no good of course. So when bikers use an application to measure their day’s productivity on a bike, they may just be stripping themselves of the “unstructured time and daydreaming that’s key to creative problem solving.”

Goals vs Targets

Cycling training
Brailsford also works in close collaboration with Steve Peters, Team Sky’s psychiatrist and Fran Millar, who is head of “winning behaviors.” The trio stresses that goals are different from targets. Elevated and ambitious goals are good, however, it’s targets that should be special yet achievable. For gamblers, most online casinos in the UK have a good gaming policy, where they block your account should you be spending too much.

According to Brailsford, it’s not just about wanting to be the best in the world. It should also be about “I want to shave 15 seconds off my mile this week.” If cyclists mix up goals and targets then then will easily get frustrated and the feeling of underachievement will set in. The advice here is to set attainable goals through a well-thought -out program. This will leave us with “a sense of satisfying momentum and positive reinforcement”. Same for gamblers, don’t spend more than you have, you’ll get zero satisfaction.

No pain, no gain for the wannabe Tour de France’ champions

This is one more activity where the ‘no pain, no gain’ strategy is needed. Commitment to being a world class cannot happen if you are not prepared to suffer to reach those goals and target. Riders have to develop a keen realistic understanding of the pain and deprivation needed to achieve them. Coaches are marvellous at laying out all the roadblocks ahead that may face the pros on bikes.

This is why they make use of the “hunger index” to determine if wannabe Tour de France’ champions are really serious are about following through. Brailsford explains “In our sport, you’re going to be hungry. You’re going to have to get down to unsustainable levels of body composition. You can’t lose weight without being hungry.”

A massage therapist – a biker’s best friend

Massage Therapy

Another challenge for the biker according to Brailsford is to overthrow the “dictate and control management” in British Cycling. Brailsford believes that all that does is actually deter riders from being in charge of how they ought to perform. “We took the crown, if you like, off the coach’s head and put it on the rider’s head,” he says. “We told them, ‘You’re the king or queen. You’re the one who’s going to get the medal” says Brailsford.

He emphasizes that the supporting body is there to give expert advising or being supportive. Just as UK gambling laws are there to guide online gambling operators and to deter illegal activities. Once riders understood that, they really felt as if they were in control and rode on the wind. Brailsford also pointed out that massage therapists and mechanics should be considered as part of the team’s support staff. They are the ones with whom the riders converse the most, and so those are the ones who most likely spot solutions first.

Brailsford also created the “idea of the month” strategy because he firmly believes that “Ideas have value, they don’t have rank”. He was the performance director of the British national cycling team from 2002 to 2014. Now he directs the professional Team Sky which will be participating in Tour de France that begins July 4.

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