Five Keys to Improving Your Mental Performance for Success In Racing

June 22, 2022

By Amber Balcaen

As racing drivers, physical training is a big part of our weekly preparation to make sure we are in the best possible shape for race day. But the secret to getting the results you want requires just as much time spent on mental preparation as physical. Combining the two creates a recipe for success.

I truly believe that our mindset and mental preparation are extremely important for being able execute our physical skills on race day. Mindset is everything when it comes to life, and our sport. When you can show up at the track with a confident and positive mindset, everything else will follow.

In this blog, I’ll share some of the techniques that have helped me most in getting my mind conditioned for race weekend. I firmly believe these practices are a game changer and will help you reach your peak performance!


Visualization - calling upon all of your senses to mentally imagine yourself driving your race car in competition - is a great tool to prepare for races. Your mind doesn't know the difference between what is real and what is imagined. Therefore, you can use visualization to prepare for each race by already experiencing the race in your mind. I love this because it’s a way of getting “seat time” without actually being in the seat. During visualization, you are essentially priming your muscles for the race. Make sure your visualizations are all positive: See the race exactly how you want it to be executed.

Law of Attraction

What you believe, you will achieve and what you put out, you will attract. Know what you want and have a clear vision of where you want to go. You need to truly believe in your talent and ability, and that you can achieve what you want. Remember that our bodies work perfectly, it’s our minds that get in the way. Your thoughts become feelings. These feelings influence your behavior and performance. Self-belief mixed with the desire to succeed will help you reach your full potential. Your thoughts must be positive and productive to help you get the results you want.


You have to want it, and be willing to put in the effort to get it. This includes creating a pre-race regimen that prepares you for what’s ahead. Preparation is key. Make a race preparation plan and commit to your plan every day. 

For example, my race preparation plan looks like this: On the days leading up to the race, I am on top of my fitness and nutrition, practice on IRacing, watch footage (in-car and past races), read about the track, fill out pre-race and post-race debriefs, practice visualization/meditation, and read self-development books.

It’s easy to make a plan but following it through can be tough so it’s important to be disciplined with promises you make to yourself. Discipline breeds action. Action breeds confidence. Confidence breeds happiness and success in your performance.

Execution > Results

“Results are simply the goals of our performance. When we are engaged in the performance, our focus needs to be directed on our execution - the specific actions and tasks that are directly relevant to the performance itself.” 

Pinpoint what you need to do in the race (ie. braking points, lifting points, lane choices, setting up passes, etc.), rather than fixating on the outcome of the race (i.e. finishing in the top five). Your focus must first be on being present in the car, then on your actions in each moment. When you focus on winning alone, you are focused on the result. When you focus on executing, you are focused on your performance. Concentrate on the task at hand and the results will follow.

Turn losses into gains

Racing is a sport where a driver can go their entire career without ever feeling whats it’s like to win. While winning is great, we learn more from losses than we do from wins. This is why focusing on consistent improvement is much more important than winning. When you constantly work toward getting better, your performance improves and increases your chances of victory. Evaluation of your performance is key in progressing your skills. Use every opportunity in the car as a chance to get better.

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