Jan 11·edited Jan 11Liked by Griff Wigley

This is an interesting poll. To your primary question "Do rewards matter?" I think the answer is Absolutely! :-D

During the first 2 questions I felt like the definition of 'reward' was a bit vague. But for some folks it might be appropriate.

For the last question, I put 'other' as a reward because I don't always use positive self talk on the skills I am working on. But I _DO_ use positive talk on things I shift my practice to. I always try to do some skills which I will be successful at which makes the positive self talk easy.

Also I do listen to music while practicing often. So I suppose that is a reward _during_ practice.

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Jan 11Liked by Griff Wigley

I never have rewarded myself for practicing MTB or Trials skills. Just being able to practice is reward in of itself.

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Jan 11Liked by Griff Wigley

It was not until I read Ira's comment below that I recognized positive self-talk as a type of reward. I was thinking more like ice cream cone!!

That being said I absolutely use self-talk feedback continuously through practice. I use it on rides as well; not only in the moment but even after a ride or session when I am reviewing. I even find myself hours later asking myself "what was special about - what did you get right and what might you do differently the next time you are visiting that feature, section of trail etc.

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Jan 12Liked by Griff Wigley

I feel when trying to establish new habits or patterns it is important to reward yourself . The act of setting aside a dedicated practice session to build on the skills which will ultimately lead to more flow and fun on the trail should be recognised.

You are denying yourself the easier option of going for a ride whether solo or a group ride. This shifting of focus and practicing in a way that others dont should be rewarded so it becomes a habit and helps in the progression of your riding.

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Jan 13Liked by Griff Wigley

I tend to view the practice session as a reward in itself, but will occasionally pat myself on the back after a session where I have achieved something. Although perhaps the act of editing video and posting up a 'shredit' and discussion topic to the practice lab or to RLC is also a reward as I'm seeking approval from peers? Oddly I'll often 'give myself' a beer after a good ride, but not after a practice session - I think there's a mental reward for the calories out.

On the flip side - how many people punish themselves after a bad session? I do. Not physically, but I can drop into an 'I'm so shit' mindset if I don't perform as I wanted. This is one of the reasons I started setting adaptive and achievable goals during a session instead of constantly practicing to failure.

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Jan 13Liked by Griff Wigley

Tricky definitions, perhaps relating to our basic motivations?

Basically -- I don't think of "rewarding" myself. That seems to imply I am biking for some extrinsic reason........and that I have 2 separate sides: one that performs and one that rewards.

I enjoy biking.....that is it's own reward.......like Patrick says.

But of course there are immense "rewards": exhilaration, fitness, satisfaction, communing with nature, a feeling of growing mastery, survival.......to say nothing of a pint or two afterwards.

This is kind of nit picky perhaps, but I like to have my ideas very straight..........especially if I risking Life and Limb or putting out a major effort.

After a few injuries, and some sweating in the desert sun, "positive thinking" didn't cut it anymore. I needed something as real as sweat and blood.

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Jan 14Liked by Griff Wigley

"Positive Self-talk"

I'm afraid the terminology tends to worry me.

We are translating deep and complex motivations and processes into words, which we are then using to structure, guide and inevitably limit our actions. It's always been a kind of square-peg-in-a-round-hole thing and, right from the start, when therapists and self-help folk started "talking the therapy", it has seemed limited.

Maybe if the sheer act of talking implied some kind of opening-up or sharing -- and there was value in that, then the form of the jargon would not be critical?

But here, I'm thinking that the whole concept of "Reward" may need reworking.

So........what is an intrinsic "reward"?

Maybe a feeling of positive reinforcement that is not at a higher cognitive level? .......We don't have to be very conscious about doing it...........it happens "naturally".

I find it necessary to consider all cognition as conscious.........without allowing useful but fanciful concepts like the "unconscious" or "subconscious" to bale us out..........so I wouldn't find it useful to define an "intrinsic reward" as a positive feeling that arrives unconsciously.

A better measurement might be whether you continue with the activity/sport or find that you skills level improves and you can undertake more advanced challenges safely.

I expect there has to be some acknowledgement that you have acquired a new skill level (or not). This will be needed to set future plans. I would like to substitute something like "a glow of satisfaction or pleasure"..........something that is a simple and pure outcome and does not lend itself to verbal or mental manipulation.

And so I guess I am attempting to see the "growing mastery" as self-evident and self-rewarding.

For me, and we are all different, the formal practice comes hard. I love biking, the formal practice not so much. It's not that I mind the discipline and I do enjoy the skills I learn but I'd rather be riding free.

Maybe the "reward" comes from appreciating that a short time opportunity can better be used for practice than a free ride........or just in anticipation of shredding to come?

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Jan 15Liked by Griff Wigley


OK........so you are not succeeding -- in spite of working hard at it...........

We'll assume that you really do want to improve this skill.......it would be useful to you and improve the quality of your rides.

So you do have to do some thinking and analysis. Something is wrong and needs correcting.

It could be a lot of things and I think it would be good to consider them all:--



You are not using a good learning progression........maybe trying a move without having prepped the best moves leading up to that? Maybe you don't understand the mechanics of the technique?


Your gear is not rigged right, saddle too high, or too low, wrong gear, weight incorrectly distributed etc......?


You are in the wrong terrain. Maybe too steep or too loose?


You were too tired or not fit or strong enough?

All these possibilities can be fixed if you just change a simple item of approach or focus. If you want to improve you can just do that.....and get off the plateau.

Then there are some factors that cannot be changed without more personal introspection. eg:--


The physical risk or effort required is not suitable for your lifestyle. The goal is unrealistic and unattainable without a major reappraisal and reconstruction of your condition...........maybe not even then......maybe you have reached your limit in this endeavor?

Maybe you don't actually enjoy biking THAT much? Maybe you would be much happier doing something else?

The point, in this discussion, is that I would not consider "bargaining" with myself by offering a reward.

As I mentioned, such a process would imply that I could divide myself up; one part, who "knew best" considering itself in charge and calling the shots -- trying to tempt or coerce the other half (the weaker, ignorant partner) into doing what was "best" for it.

It may be possible to construct such a Master/Servant relationship but I prefer the possibility of a simpler, more unified and dignified option.

Doing an inside backflip may not even be absolutely critical in my life, actually.

There may seem to be elements of sophistry in this arguement.......and language is an inexact tool, but I suspect that there are profound implications here for how we harness and direct our will and purpose.

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