Athlete's Corner

Athlete’s Corner: Riding Fearless

A lot of hard work and determination goes into mastering new tricks and perfecting the ultimate run. For the BMX Freestyle team, building that arsenal of tricks also requires overcoming a long list of fears.

In order to progress, riders must push their limits and move beyond the unknown. They develop techniques to build confidence and be as mentally prepared as they are physically, eventually working their way up to landing new tricks.

The Team USA riders competing at the first world cup of the season this weekend – the UCI BMX Freestyle Park and Flatland World Cup in Hiroshima, Japan – talked about how they don’t let fear hold them back. We asked them, “How do you overcome the fear of trying new tricks?”

Angie Marino (Phoenix)

“New things are always scary. I have arguments in my head with myself – one side is being scared to try a new trick, thinking the worst possible situation that could happen; and the other side is saying, ‘What's the worst that can actually happen. Don't you want to learn this?!’”

Nick Bruce (Youngstown, Ohio)

“I make sure I am comfortable with all of the baby steps (smaller tricks that lead up to the new/more difficult trick), and it helps me build enough confidence, so I can solely focus on landing the trick without worrying about anything else.”

Cory Coffey (Ojai, Calif.)

“When it’s time to learn a new trick, I visualize myself doing the trick in my mind first. When I’m scared, I try and understand what I’m scared of and focus on the positive outcome of landing it.”

Pat Casey (Yorba Linda, Calif.)

“There is only one way to get over it and that is to just send it. Try it and see what happens. I usually have in mind exactly how I will do something before I try it, so the results aren’t too crazy. But, sometimes I die on the first attempt.”

Nina Buitrago (Austin, Texas)

“Figuring out the safest way to pull something, convincing myself mentally I can do it and envisioning myself pulling it is usually how I conquer those fears. Friends who are there to encourage you help too!”

Eight members of the USA Cycling National Team are competing in Hiroshima, Japan, from April 6-8 at the first of five UCI BMX Freestyle Park World Cups this season. The women’s lineup includes Nina Buitrago (Austin, Texas), Cory Coffey (Ojai, Calif.), Angie Marino (Phoenix) and Hannah Roberts (Buchanan, Mich.); with Nick Bruce (Youngstown, Ohio), Pat Casey (Yorba Linda, Calif.), Justin Dowell (Virginia Beach, Va.) and Colton Walker (Minneapolis) on the men’s team.

BMX Freestyle Park will make its Olympic debut at the 2020 Games in Tokyo, becoming first Olympic BMX Freestyle discipline on the program. The event will also be on the 2018 Youth Olympic Games program this summer in Buenos Aires.

Follow @USACyclingLIVE on Twitter for updates during this weekend's World Cup. and USA Cycling on Instagram and Facebook for the latest on the USA Cycling National Team. Follow @UCI_BMX_FS and @fiseworld on Twitter for results and updates throughout the BMX freestyle season.