There is often something of a chess match going on between coach and student, but my recent session with this little rider was on a whole new level. Make the wrong move and our lesson could be over. The only way to win was to be one step ahead, using a bunch of different games.
It looked like the session was over before we had even begun. After a great warm up on the Maddix Park mini track, the simple suggestion of getting started with Broxy seemed to strike fear through her. She had been excited for the session but the apprehension of not knowing what I was going to ask her to do was too much.
A casual conversation helping her show her love of bikes with no mention of coaching built a foundation, to the point where we could talk about the recent “endo” that would have helped with her fear issues. This transitioned to talk of the riding style that would help her avoid a repeat.
Feeling enough trust to get on her bike for me, we played our first game of many. Like the “In the river, out the river” game we play at Honda kids camps, this one had the goal of knees forward, knees back.
It is something she can practice in the middle of town without annoying the neighbours, and nothing could be more worth the effort. The goal is to do it really fast both on the stand and the track as you can’t ease into this position. With dad holding a finger at the front of her radiator shroud for her knees to hit when sitting, and another on the back of her fuel tank so that her lower leg is vertical when standing, eventually it could become second nature.
Go Home Stay Home
After some practice in the pits she was now ready for the track, which started a new game. I soon realized that she would stop to see dad every lap, unless I was there with him. He was home base and I needed to beat here there.
Unfortunately her knees were still not far enough forward so I had her dad hold her bike while she got her knees right back, and then run along with her until up to speed. Games are fitness for dads also!
I appealed to the stubborn side of her nature in not letting her knees come forward, then again in keeping her chin up through the difficult sections. The deal was “For every photo I get of you with your chin down, you do five push ups. If I don’t get any of you then I do fifty push ups.”
So I hid behind gorse bushes, popped up from hiding places behind berms. And when she had warning about my whereabouts, her chin was extra high. But despite all my efforts my spy efforts failed and the punishment was mine.
Finally, I had her try to pass me using some inside lines. This was one place where I won because she wasn’t keen on doing those lines, whereas I could pass her using those insides. Something to work on in the future? You bet!