'The need becomes a greed' - AP McCoy on the psychology behind winning

AP McCoy shares his thoughts on the psychology of success.

'The need becomes a greed' - AP McCoy on the psychology behind winning

It is day one of the Punchestown Festival today where a seven-race card takes place.

Ruby Walsh will be looking to continue on from his recent Irish Grand National success as he partners Min while Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Paul Townend will be aboard Un De Sceaux in the feature race - the Champion Chase.

Both jockeys know the road to success and retired jockey AP McCoy shared his thoughts recently on the psychology of success.

McCoy, who was champion jockey 20 times in a racing career that spanned more than two decades and saw him earn many wins in the big races such as the Grand National and the Cheltenham Gold Cup, said that he was lucky that he worked with a lot of successful people from a very young age.

He said: "If you do that you can hopefully tag along and they can make you as good as you want to be."

AP then spoke about his self-belief and how it helped him to win races.

"The moment I got on a horse, I was totally convinced that I was in control and that I was as good as, if not better than, anyone else. My mindset was that every horse I rode, I was going to win on it.

"You have to have that ambition to think I am going to be better tomorrow than I was yesterday. I've said it to numerous people since I've retired, there is nothing like winning."

The racing legend then went on to explain how he continued being successful.

He said: "I honestly think to be successful, you have to have a vision or a target and normally the target is the person who wins more than anyone else.

"When I was lucky enough to be champion jockey, you then look at people's records and when you break people's records, then you compete against yourself.

"When I had my first winner, I wanted a bit more of that, and then when you get it a bit more regularly, you actually get to the point where you need it - the need becomes a greed."

AP McCoy and JP McManus.
AP McCoy and JP McManus.

He explained what really successful people need, saying: "You have to have the ability to stay very level and not ever think that you have actually made it."

The one piece of advice AP would give to young jockeys starting out on their career is to have a work ethic.

"I know that if I was doing it again that I wouldn't, hopefully, lose as much as I lost before but I know that I couldn't have tried any harder, I know that I couldn't have worked any harder.

"Having things in place, having a team of people in place that could make me think that all I have to concentrate on is my focal point of winning and being successful. Everything else around that, the team can take care of that."

Jim Bolger
Jim Bolger

McCoy has worked under many successful trainers, but he singled out Jim Bolger, saying he "didn't particularly enjoy the four-and-a-half years working for him".

"He was always challenging you, you knew he was probably going to ask you the one question that you didn't want to be asked.

"I know for a fact that Jim Bolger made me as successful as I am because he changed my mindset, my way of thinking."

He concluded by revealing the one thing common to all the successful people - Bolger, Martin Pipe, JP McManus - he has worked with.

"They have the ability to think forwardly and think that I am going to find an edge, I am going to find a reason why that I can make things happen quicker and better and easier than everyone else."

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox