Hi everyone and welcome to my new blog for 2016,
I am going to try my best to bring you all one article per week on top of contributing to the Inside Dirt digital magazine again this year and all of our other coaching and team commitments!
So let’s get straight into this first blog’s title being;
“SELF SABOTAGE OVER THE PRESEASON”
- Disclaimer: Please take note of the sarcasm in this article and the fact it is all in good fun. This article should be educational to everyone reading but give you a smile at the same time.
How often do you hear this statement… “I feel really good on the bike, this has been my best preseason ever.. I’m ready to win”
Whether it is on ESPN for Supercross or at the local track, I hear it all the time! I also see the same riders making these sentiments almost always end up with the same results year after year, or end up injured and on the MIA list half of the year. They never seem to progress past a certain point.
To put this article into context I’m going to base it right here in Australia, with an example of a local rider racing state championships at either a senior or junior level. I’m also going nickname this example rider “Johnny Instagram” because let’s be honest here, what’s our sport without Instagram likes?!
So what exactly has made little Johnny Instgrams preseason so much better than the previous years? Well he got hooked up by manufacturer XYZ from dealership ABC and is also repping some fresh gear. His new bikes went straight to whatever Suspension company gave him the biggest instagram discount and he’s pretty sure it’s the right valving and spring rates for him, but who cares there’s no time or budget for testing because it’s time for.. you’ve guessed it folks.. MOTOS!!!
Johnny Instagram is going to spend the next four months over preseason smashing his body, bike, motor and basically all equipment into the ground and likely spend half of his yearly budget riding three times per week at the local tracks to prepare for the racing season!
But Johnny has forgotten one thing.. his local races are short, his fitness was pretty good last year and the reason he got beat and quit racing half way through last season was because of the not so obvious secret he’s failed to realize. Johnny has not once worked on any of his riding weaknesses! Be it his corner technique, starts, gear and line selection.. the list go’s on. Johnny got fast enough to make it to A,B or C grade and now he’s decided that bike time is the only thing to make him faster!
Forget what his parents have to say, can they scrub like him? Pfft no.. A riding coach? Why would he pay someone else for years of wisdom and mentorship to be passed down? Dude’s got like 5k in Instagram followers he’s too cool to be schooled to the game.
Ok ok.. I’m going to quit with the sarcasm now and hit you all with some facts. I see so many riders who have great talent, drive and ambition to be the best they can be. Unfortunately they are literally wasting their time and either their own or parent’s money! And here is why..
Riding by yourself at the practice track three times per week is good for one thing! Reinforcing bad habits and the same mistakes you’ve always made!
If you played a team sport, your off season would consist of coaching drills and boot camps leading into the game season. The guess work is taken away from you as a player. The team knows you can play, they hired you! It’s now the coach’s job to improve your game in all aspects and make you better!
So…if we take this comparison into Motocross, you are a privateer looking to get better results next season. The race season is now over and it’s time to formulate a game plan as to why you struggled at race events and where you need to improve. Let’s say it’s rutted corners that were your weakness.. is throwing down scrubs all day over the Instagram booters at your local track going to help you in any way come race time? Likely not! In the same sense if consistency was your weakness at the races and you spend 20 minute motos at the track three times per week “pretty sure I was doing consistent laps” with no stopwatch data to back that up, are you really seeing any progress? Nope! I could go on with examples.. but how does a rider fix this?
The bottom line is everyone needs a mentor, training partner, coach, mechanic.. whatever you wish to call it. Essentially it’s the same thing. Someone who spends time at the practice and race track with you and can help with your training program because they can see what you are doing on the track. Most fast juniors have this in the form of a parent, however sometimes Dad is too busy chucking t bars at little Johnny Instagram to be objective about the race that just unfolded to be able to analyse why his junior got passed on the last corner.
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It’s very difficult to view your riding objectively from your first person viewpoint of a race. It takes a second pair of eyes viewing your racing off the track and seeing what the other riders are doing better than you. Without being able to identify your weaknesses it is very difficult to formulate a plan to improve on your performance!
Many of the top pro’s no longer have riding coaches, but they do however, have a mechanic who is with them everyday doing moto’s and who knows their riding inside out, along with fast training partners and a team manager who’s sole purpose is to make them winning machines. Mentors come under different titles, but their goal is the same. To help make you the best rider you can be.
The most common answer I get as a riding coach from riders is this; “man I can’t afford a coach, I need all my money for racing”. I understand and believe me I’ve been there myself, as a privateer money is tight. But WASTING your money is even worse. Let’s say you ride three times per week. That’s $50 per day in track fees, plus fuel, food and bike maintenance. Let’s round that up to $400 per week for absolutely NO RETURN on your investment because you are simply reinforcing bad habits and making little to no progress.
It’s not about quantity but rather quality.
As an alternative I would recommend you ride twice a week and save the additional $100 per week and add that to a coaching, mechanic, suspension testing, fitness trainer etc fund. Now you are actively seeking out professional people who will make your time at the track MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!
My advice to all aspiring riders, seniors and juniors along with their families is this. Invest in your program wisely. Seek out quality technicians, coaches and mentors. Does it cost money? Yes.. but it actually costs less than wasting money week in and out with additional bike maintenance, injuries from poor riding technique and simply burning fuel at your local track. Find people who can identify why you are struggling and introduce a plan for you to fix it! Wasting time, money and talent is no excuse when the people are out there who can make a positive difference to your riding and all aspects of your life!
Thanks for reading everyone,