What to Expect From Coaching
One of the primary purposes of coaching and rider training is: To
elevate the rider’s acceptance of previously unknown sensations and gain
control over them.
That’s a big statement but it pencils out. Take this idea: once a
rider is willing to exceed himself he is reaching for a whole new plateau
of riding. Getting to the point where he is willing to makes some
commitment is often problematic. Improvement actually begins once the rider
can pass those limits. Those limits have, or seem to have, barriers or
else we would all be as good as we’d like to be.
Each barrier a rider encounters is based on the unknown. What will it
or should it feel like to go into that corner 2 mph faster than ever
before and still maintain some reliable feeling of being in control?
It is easy to go into agreement with barriers. Most of them are the
result of a rider’s survival instincts, his responses to the unknown or
to danger. What riders tend to fall into is a habit of accepting the
barriers. They have happened often enough that they become “the way it
is”. These tend to stack-up on a person when they continue to happen.
When you break it down you see that it is more the anticipation of some
imagined bad result that keeps us away from moving forward into that
uncharted territory of new sensations. When we flinch (withdraw from any
undertaking, from fear of pain or danger) we waver from our purpose.
I can’t go that fast, I don’t trust the tires, I’m afraid of the
lean angle, acceleration, braking forces, quick flicking the bike,
etc., etc. Each of them has its own kind of stress and we feel the pressure
from them. We even sometimes unknowingly assume they are real and agree
with these barriers even when we see someone else go faster, cleaner,
quicker, smoother, on better lines, passing where we can’t and so on.
This puts us in a weird situation. It can be done by someone but the
personal barriers prevent us from rolling the throttle on a few tenths of
a second earlier, braking later, entering the corner faster and all the
If Only I Could…
While any person can visualize what he might do, should do or could do
in a situation, the process of visualization itself is quirky and
unreliable--it doesn’t work for everyone and it doesn’t work all the
time. Aside from the many factors involved we still must deal with the
Survival Responses that slam our good intentions into the dust.
Look at it like this, things really would work out if your ability to
orchestrate all the elements was up to the task, so there is hope. You
may be able to visualize yourself going over turn #1 at Laguna Seca at
150+mph but if your speed at present is 90mph it would be too big a gap
to bridge. Your ability to organize and orchestrate it must be flawless
or the right wrist will take command and go the wrong way, back to 90
Not everyone is cut out to ride fast. Not everyone can. Certainly one
of the parts would be the ability to let go of certain sensations in
favor of others that may be more important. Worrying about or resisting
extreme lean angle alone can take all of your attention, so can traction,
so can speed, so can your line, so can that strange weightless
sensation you get in turn #1 at Laguna as you hit the crest or the rises and
dips at Virginia International Raceway (VIR). Are they distracting? They
certainly can be.
Someone might seek the benefits of visualization to handle the reasons
why they are having problems reconfiguring actions on the bike that
they already know how to do. You already know how to roll on the throttle,
pull on the brake, change gears. Piecing together those known movements
into a new configuration is the goal.
Bringing the bike up and rolling on the throttle more aggressively than
usual is an example of this. As soon as a higher exit speed is demanded
by you the senses can go into overload when you attempt to reach out
for indications of how it is going. Essentially you are reaching out into
unknown territory with your senses. Things seem to accelerate, it’s
hard to tell what is important and what is not. A couple of mph and
another 1/10 G acceleration makes a world of difference.
There is no trick that will get you to do it. Having a solid grounding
on what is supposed to happen and sneaking up on it without becoming
hysterical about it is more likely to succeed.
So called visualization is loosely describes as the person’s ability
to form mental images of some action or actions that they did or intend
Visualization can be a “solution” to different things:
1) An attempt to reduce or prevent something from happening.
2) The intent to add a flow between two or more known actions towards a
positive (usually that means faster/smoother) result.
3) To achieve a breakthrough of a barrier you’ve observed in order to
progress towards a known or an imagined goal, usually at higher speeds
and most often with a better sense of confidence and control over it.
Numbers 1 & 2 seem real to most riders; number 3 is quirky. The hope in
number 3 is that you’ll overwhelm the negative aspects by the
visualization and it will somehow magically work out, the same as saying that
practice makes perfect but it doesn’t always. When the same barriers
are hitting you time after time, practice is actually the wrong
The athlete who does the best with what he has often wins on the
consistency factor alone. In other words, visualizing what you already are
doing is real information, you did it at 90 mph, you are dreaming the 150
mph pass through the corner. The limit of your current assets are 90
mph, fine, now you know.
In other words, start off with a solid idea of what you are doing and
some notion of what you may be able to do. Get real. As soon as you
identify a proper step, that will solve a problem area, you have given
yourself a real direction towards improvement.
Coaching Out The Flinches
More often than not the flinch can be overcome once it is identified
correctly. No one likes to waver, to give up or feel confused about
something they wanted to do but it’s easy to bite off more than you can
chew. Having a pro coach look at what you are doing and lead you to
success keeps down the indigestion.
This is why spot-on coaching is so very valuable. You can elevate your
acceptance of that next level of rider confidence, speed and skill; cut
down on the stress and increase your ability to get what you want out
of riding. You can exceed your current ideas of what you can do. Come
out to the track and take a school and I’ll show you what I mean. Sign
up now. www.superbikeschool.com