Episode 3: Getting better at identifying your mindset for practicing MTB skills

[Partial Transcript]

[Kitchen sounds, background dance music]

What you’re hearing is me doing the dishes after dinner in our kitchen while listening to a song, Oh Yeah, by the Swiss group, Yellow. The song was part of the soundtrack for the 1986 film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, one of my all-time favorites. You can also hear me practicing.

[Voice: quick-quick, slow, slow; left-right, left, right; kitchen sounds, background dance music]

If you’ve ever tried to improve your dance skills beyond the klutz stage, you’re probably familiar with some version of the two-step. And instructors often try to get your brain and body synced up with drills that include those word patterns, quick-quick, slow, slow; left-right, left, right. 123-5

Or maybe it’s slow, slow, quick-quick, slow, slow; left, right, left-right, left, right.

Normally I have my Bose headphones on so that my wife Robbie, who’s upstairs in her office, doesn’t have to hear the thumping bass to songs I like. She says the vibrations travel right up the wall.  But yeah, I’ve started learning to dance and my wife is not likely to want to be in the same room with me, never mind make body contact, until I can at least find the beat and demonstrate a bit of rhythm.

[Audio: Background dance music fades]

So hey. Welcome to the MTB Practice Lab. I’m your host, Griff Wigley, Mountain Bike Geezer, and this a show about learning how to get better at practicing mountain biking skills with a few detours on other stuff I’m trying to get better at.

This is episode 3 and it’s primarily about paying attention to the mindset you have when you’ve decided that you want to improve your mountain bike riding skills. And maybe other skills that you suck at but want to get better at like me and my desire to get better at dancing.

Why is mindset is important? “Because the way we think about getting better at something new can change the way we do it.” That’s a quote from Trevor Ragan, the founder of The Learner Lab, which, as I mentioned in Episode 2, is all about “unpacking the science of how to get better at getting better.”  Trevor has a very good overview of this principle of mindset on his website — two videos, a short survey, and a list of resources if you really want to go deeper on it.

Sometimes we operate from two types of fixed mindsets in which we believe that talent is something you’re born with, that you have certain natural abilities or you don’t and that you can’t do much to change that. You either tend to think “I’m bad at that kind of stuff so there’s no point in trying.” Or you tend to think, “I’m good at that kind of stuff so I don’t really need to work too hard at it.”

(CONTINUED: Full transcript, discussion, and feedback option on Patreon)

 

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