Putting skills to the test
Normal coaching sessions can often mean two steps forward one day, but with a few months before the next session there is usually also one step back. If you do the maths in our hypothetical example for three sessions spread apart, you will eventually gain three steps before possibly losing another one after that.
Now imagine a boot camp where each day builds on the next, only losing one step at the end- i.e. 2 + 2 + 2 – 1. This kind of improvement is what I saw possible at the Millsaps Training Facility, and then this month here in NZ.
The first two of these Boot Camps were held either side of the Winton Supercross
race, the first with three keen 65 riders Matt, Ryan and Liam.
Three different tracks over three days, beginning with the Gore Southern Series track
, moving to Cromwell
to avoid the incoming rain, then spending the final afternoon at a private track in Gore
. We ate like kings, were accommodated in a classy log house and made some serious progress on safety, confidence and lap times
The Big Boys
The importance of stance
Camp number two was the older riders, from Todd Keown to Nicola Bennie with James, Luke and Ethan also in the mix. It was a squeeze fitting all the bodies, their bikes and gear into my van and the Waimea Racing trailer, but it turned out pretty awesome, especially when our base was the shepherds quarters on the Hazeldale Station. While it was far from 5 star accommodation, we had free riding utopia in our back yard. And we made the most of it.
It started with a late evening ride after our day at the Gore Southern Series track despite the blisters forming from the pounding they got out of one rough rut we were practicing on.Then more of the same on evening two following our day at a Balclutha Southern Series track that was so good we had already clocked up nearly three hours of riding each.
At the Hazeldale Station we hit the hills and rolling jumps until close to 10pm, making the most of the great riding and long daylight hours the summer months have to offer in the south.
This was all preparation for the real test at the venue of the weekends Southern-most Supercross. While still nerve wracking stuff at first, we started on the easier sections and worked out way up to sprint races at the end, showing off their improvements to some impressed parents.
While that was it for the South Island, one boot camp was still to come, held at Nick Franklins compound in Tokoroa. At age 8 and 9 and having been riding around 6 months we were not hitting the ramps, but used the hills there to build up their skills before they joined me at the after schools training near Matamata.
They were fairly stuffed after that big days riding, but Nick himself took them to the Tokoroa MX track for day two before watching Nick attempt to master his double backflips into the foam pit while I had my race team photo shoot.
Building their skills hit completion on the Tokoroa hills that third day, discovering the well hidden hindrances which they overcame enough to see them airborne and looking good in the process.
This really is the way to see big improvements- full coach attention for three days solid. Ask any of the parents, I think they will agree.