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Old 09-12-2011, 10:45 AM   #1
mekrew
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Question Best Method of Track Instruction ?

After this weekend of getting some more personalized instruction at the track, I had to ask myself a question...

Is video instruction along with feedback multiple times a day for novice or mid pack racers, the optimal way to get faster and fix or improve on issues?

Being able to see yourself on video and actually seeing what you are doing as opposed to someone telling your or how you "think" you look or the line you are taking. Combining this with continuous video and review you can see if you are really breaking those bad habits or going back to what you are used to.

I am sure most people who are new to the track, or who are trying to get faster get help from the outside get help in one of these ways.

1. Ask someone to follow them, get verbal feedback on what that person saw and working on those issues. Later up to the rider request follow up review

2. Having someone faster than you tow you around the track and trying to keep up to their pace and their lines

3. Get followed with video and review of the video.

right now trackday riders or racers have multiple options as far as schools and instruction, and each offers their own method.

If you could choose a preferred method of instruction what would it be and why? What do you think some of the pros and cons are of the other methods?
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Old 09-12-2011, 11:04 AM   #2
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I like it when the instructor follows me for 2 corners, then takes off after his buddies. Then, after the session, tells me I was "lookin pretty good".

Kidding. I think video and personalized intstruction work best along with good ole fashioned seat time and trying to keep up with the guy that's a bit faster than you.

Last edited by cdill35; 09-12-2011 at 11:07 AM.
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Old 09-12-2011, 11:10 AM   #3
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all of the above have their uses.

following someone around at a relatively slower pace and trying to use their lines is great, especially if you can do this a few times while picking out reference points and developing a little muscle memory (which you'll probably need once the pace picks up).

I think getting a tow at a faster pace helps when you are trying to get accustomed to the "speed" sensations - sometimes getting aclimatized to the speed helps consolidate what you've already learned up to that point and builds a foundation for taking the next step.

but there may come a point where progress slows even though you are doing "exactly the same thing" the faster riders are.

that's where video feedback can prove helpful - you quickly realize that what you think you are doing and what you actually are doing can be two vastly different things, for all aspects of riding.

I also find that post-session debriefing helps a lot - as noted above, perception is almost as important as reality on track, and having someone questioning me about my perceptions and perhaps trying to reshape them somewhat seems to work well for me.
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Old 09-12-2011, 11:19 AM   #4
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I have never been recorded but I imagine it is extremely helpful. The best thing I have experienced is following a rider better than me. I've had a chance to do it both track days towards the end of the day and it really, really helped. Not just for the line but for body position and speed/braking as well. It's like you borrow some of their confidence, I check up on turns sometimes because I'm really not sure what "too hot" is for that corner at my skill level, 2/3 of the time it is way too slow but by the time I'm back at that corner again I get unsure all over. When following someone that is not way beyond my skill level I don't worry about that, I see that they're not dragging their elbow to make the turn and I'm totally confident. Obviously I have to make the leap at some point to have that on my own but for now it is incredibly helpful.

I think the ultimate though would be a system where someone is following you, and can talk to you through a headset. "You're doing it again, get your head lower, no don't put your helmet on your tank over by your left mirror, YOUR OTHER LEFT MIRROR."

Maybe not as good an idea as I thought, might get distracting. LOL
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Old 09-12-2011, 11:28 AM   #5
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Every kind of method has its use at different points in your skill development.
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Old 09-12-2011, 11:31 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peregrine View Post
I think the ultimate though would be a system where someone is following you, and can talk to you through a headset. "You're doing it again, get your head lower, no don't put your helmet on your tank over by your left mirror, YOUR OTHER LEFT MIRROR."
Ive been thinking about trying this out for a while now, and I have the ability to do this.
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Old 09-12-2011, 11:34 AM   #7
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I think bike-to-bike comm would be a major distraction. A potentially dangerous one.
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Old 09-12-2011, 11:34 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by po-po 5.0 View Post
I think bike-to-bike comm would be a major distraction. A potentially dangerous one.
only if used improperly....
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Old 09-12-2011, 12:14 PM   #9
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Doug Pollen uses the helmet to helmet communication on his courses.

To me, the best feedback comes from someone taking video of you. There are no lies or misunderstandings there. Per instance this weekend, on the straightaway prior to the bus stop, I thought I was using the full track, when I saw my video, I noticed I wasn't even using half the track. That helped push a little more there. Likewise, in your head, you may thing you have Casey Stoner's lean angle, then you see the video and notice how big of a wuss you are
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Old 09-12-2011, 12:33 PM   #10
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while I have been riding for 47 years, I am new to sport biking and track days...I have had exactly two track days... and the two were VERY different...
the first track day was a whirlwind for me.. everything was new to me...the class size was way too large.... too many students and not enough instructors... the instructors were great guys but there is simply no way one instructor can take care of more than 15 students.. so I got no personal instruction that day.. but I did get to ride the track and get the feel of the new bike...when i signed up I paid for a video session....being old an out of shape, by the time they got around to take the video I was exhausted... it was really hot in those leathers... 107 degrees and I had had it...I was considering telling them to forget it and load up and going home.. I should have... but I went out anyway... the instructor following me with the vido camera did a good job... but I sucked... I was so tired I did not know where I was on the track or what I was doing.. I was just riding looking for the X's
I really thought I was doing a good job of it...when we finished, the instructor told me I did a good job considering it was my first track day...
when the video came in a week later, I realized he was just being nice....
it looked like my was glued to my seat... my hands were taped to the bars and a rod was strapped to my back...but at least I got to see what I looked like...and I learned a lot from the video...
My second day at the track was a whole different experience... I was with Fastline and they handled things entirely different... there were only 4 students per instructor.. the class time was more personalized.. they had time to answer questions...it was great..
my instructor was Terry and I think he did great job...I did not have to go look for him.. at the end of every session.. he came to me and gave me feed back on that round... during the session he would follow me for awhile and then when he noticed anything I was doing wrong... line, braking, acceleration... he would pass me up, tap the rear of his bike telling me to follow him and he would go thru the area I was having difficulty with... he would point at the section of the track he wanted me to notice and go thru what I needed to do to correct my actions... then would motion for me to pass and we would go thru the same section again.. after the round in the pit or in the class he would talk over the situation with me...
so I guess I would say that each of the points you mentioned are a part of the total.. and I do not know if there is a best one.. but combining them would be the way to go...
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Old 09-12-2011, 01:29 PM   #11
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I'm speaking mostly to a novice level trackday rider, even though this thread was asking about novice/mid pack racers.

Rule one is to ride with your own comfort level and limts.

I felt that being pulled around by someone faster is probably the first step in getting better/smoother/faster. You'll start to realize "hey, they entered that corner at that spot, at that time, at that speed...I'll try mimmic that and see that me and my bike can do it as well"

important note: this person has to be willing to hang back with you, so a pre-session discussion must take place. They must just BEARILY tow you along, and they must be able to safely look around and check on you many times during each lap....at no time should you feel like they are walking away from you...then they're doing it wrong.

I'll name Tim (bubby) as a good dedicated person for doing this with. It's pretty fun.
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Old 09-12-2011, 01:47 PM   #12
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Whether with Tom at LSTD or with Alonzo, Brandon, Tony, etc at Fastline, here are the items helped me more than anything.

1. They all asked what I wanted to accomplish (we aren't all looking for racing careers).
2. They all followed me early on and gave advice through asking questions, etc. after a session.
3. They passed me and had me follow them at some point in key areas to show me what to do versus what I thought I was doing.
4. They showed me some video footage and made comments to point out differences in my perception versus reality.

None of them offered magic bullets, but each time I picked something up that helped. In the end, I hope they all contribute to me being a smoother, safer rider.
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Old 09-12-2011, 02:00 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdill35 View Post
I like it when the instructor follows me for 2 corners, then takes off after his buddies. Then, after the session, tells me I was "lookin pretty good".

Kidding. I think video and personalized intstruction work best along with good ole fashioned seat time and trying to keep up with the guy that's a bit faster than you.
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Old 09-12-2011, 02:12 PM   #14
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Greg - good to see you asking these questions, I do too.

I have been to the race school twice with Alanzo, Brandon and Tony.
Each time I have picked up some great tips and pointers that have
increased my skills, confidence and speed.

I also watched Scott (Tankmonkey) really improve his skills and speed by
taking instruction and frankly, working very hard at improving (seat time
and focus). He has improved a lot in the last year.

That got me thinking if he can do it so can I. Like others have said
there is no silver bullet. I think determination coupled with
track time and proper instruction will work.
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Old 09-12-2011, 02:24 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matemike View Post

I'll name Tim (bubby) as a good dedicated person for doing this with. It's pretty fun.
Yep. Bubby towed me around for almost a full session at TWS (Texas World Speedway) since it was my first time there and it got me comfortable FAST. Too bad he doesn't ride or instruct anymore.

Sadly that is the ONLY time in 4 trackdays an instructor has said or done a single thing to try and help me.
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Old 09-12-2011, 04:54 PM   #16
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I find the smaller groups help a LOT too. I've done some days with large groups and was lucky if the instructor even saw me out there past the first couple sessions when we were following them/round robin, even if I was wearing a shirt. Smaller group sizes like at the last couple days I've done were very helpful and I probably got the most out of those days so far.

Switch videoed me for a few laps and when I saw myself it was a bit of a surprise. Nothing really bad, but definitely showed me that where I THOUGHT I was was different from where I really am. It gave me the knowledge that I needed to go out and work on some specific things the next session.

One of my biggest issues is that I don't know what speeds I can get away with.
For example, I was at TWS (Texas World Speedway) and found that going into turn one at 110 was a little nerve wracking at first but not so bad after doing it a few times, but I know that the fast guys go in there at 150+. If there was someone in front of me going in at 110, 115, 120.. etc it would probably make me confident picking up more speed into that turn.
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Old 09-12-2011, 06:11 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fil View Post
One of my biggest issues is that I don't know what speeds I can get away with.

For example, I was at TWS (Texas World Speedway) and found that going into turn one at 110 was a little nerve wracking at first but not so bad after doing it a few times, but I know that the fast guys go in there at 150+. If there was someone in front of me going in at 110, 115, 120.. etc it would probably make me confident picking up more speed into that turn.
This is me. We should make sure not to accidentally try following each other any time soon. haha
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Old 09-12-2011, 06:18 PM   #18
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What Tojo said.
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Old 09-12-2011, 06:23 PM   #19
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I am a firm believer in video. Video does not lie.

Feedback from instructors on said video.

Oh, and seat time, seat time, seat time.
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Old 09-12-2011, 06:47 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tojo92 View Post
Whether with Tom at LSTD or with Alonzo, Brandon, Tony, etc at Fastline, here are the items helped me more than anything.

1. They all asked what I wanted to accomplish (we aren't all looking for racing careers).
2. They all followed me early on and gave advice through asking questions, etc. after a session.
3. They passed me and had me follow them at some point in key areas to show me what to do versus what I thought I was doing.
4. They showed me some video footage and made comments to point out differences in my perception versus reality.

None of them offered magic bullets, but each time I picked something up that helped. In the end, I hope they all contribute to me being a smoother, safer rider.
very good post.
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