The ground work had already been done. Two whole days to spend with four riders that were all ready to move beyond the intro stages of coaching. Read on to find out whether we moved on to backflips or bashing berms, scrubs or soaking jumps.
Not to burst your bubble, but moving beyond the basics doesn’t mean a lot changes- the main skills are still the same. What it does do is help the main things really come into their own as they become even more exaggerated, and I can work on refinement. Basically that means they are now ready for me to show them more of the finer things that I concentrate on when trying to improve my own riding. Lets look at some examples.
Larry is my most experienced “student”. I say that word carefully because he is more of a friend and contemporary of mine than anything else. He probably understands more the mechanics of riding than I do, but he says he always gets something from our time together.
This time around he discovered that getting off the rear brake into corners really makes a big difference, and I wanted him to work on his ability to really move the bike for kickers and whips. He also helped me to better understand why being forward for an upramp works so well, helping the rider blow through a jump to stay low rather than getting knocked so high. It was all something of a win-win situation.
Ben could also be lumped into the category as Larry in that he is a finely tuned racer that knows most of what I will teach him, yet he also made great gains as a student. His riding seems to click when I am watching, whether it is because of the refinement I give him or not.
For example his rut riding really improved when I got him to sit in a solid part of the corner before it tightened the most. Suddenly smooth, he could then enter faster and really rail the thing, another example of how we all need guidance to reach our best.
A camp was exactly what Derek needed, finding some skills coming together early on day two that we have been working on for some time like hard turning and whips. With the inside leg working properly in turns, and getting his body to line up with track before landing a whip, he turned in some really good times on the stop watch.
Vincent may be on a bike as old as I am, but he is learning to do things on it that would put many a modern bike to shame. His main challenge was to lean further into the turns, something made a little harder with a grabby front brake. Then he really made a dent in his ability to lean aboard his RM125 by going five seconds a lap faster.
No, we didn’t teach them anything truly ground-breaking, but progress is what this thing called coaching is all about. Actually doing the things that we know in our head, helped along by my ability to see a new way around the obstacles that are holding them back. The fact that it helps me figure out why the basic techniques work so well are just an added bonus.