What Coach's Think: Insight to Driver Development
Daily Slideshow: These tips apply to track days, supercar hot lapping programs and general instruction in race cars.
Coaches are there to help and should have a wealth of experience to draw from. Track days and racing are fun, but there’s a serious side to the sport that you don’t want to come in contact with. It’s called the wall. Most racers have done it at one point and we’re hoping you don’t have to do it too. Listening to your coach about where to brake isn’t a suggestion. It comes from hours of driving the car on the limit knowing full well that is where you need to brake.
Leave Your Ego Home
Showing any kind of ego or bravado before you get in the car is immediately going to wave a red flag. This can be as subtle as a friend making a joke about how fast you’re both going to go before you get into a car. Paying attention and asking questions will get you much farther than boasting about the 5th supercar you just took delivery of in Palm Beach. Remember folks, hubris comes before the fall.
image courtesy of flickr.com
Many times during a coaching session the student will hit a “personal saturation limit” where they can no longer take in any information and their driving begins to deteriorate. It’s important to take a break at this point and have a conversation about what’s going on in the car. If you don’t get it, make the coach explain it in another way or try asking them to provide a visual aid. This can often be the missing link that gets the light bulb turned on. But if you spend time and still don’t get it…
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Driving is not an easy sport. According to Martin Brundle—a famous racing driver in his own right—only 6 people were paid to compete in Formula 1 in 2018 and even those guys don’t win all the time. Everyone struggles with something in this sport. Beating yourself up or being overly critical will do nothing but suck the fun right out of the drive. Keep practicing and have fun!
The best track sessions occur when the student is truly there to learn and the coach is truly there to teach. Some guys get into “right seating” hoping to score some free track time which is the wrong attitude. Avoid these guys like the plague! A good coach is there to figure out how the student learns, identify their weaknesses and then come up with strategies to strengthen and teach them how to get better. This, of course, requires the student to be open to criticism and to abandon his or her own preconceived principles on the subject. If you work together you will get better, faster! Stay safe and have fun. See you at the track.
For help with your maintenance and repair projects, please visit our How-to section in the forum.