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Tue, 11 Dec 2012

Practice good skills - 21:57
I seem to be sticking to riding related stuff again, big surprise. I have been reading a rather awesome book Ben L loaned to me. Teaching Mountain Bike Skills by Lee McCormack. It really is an excellent book, helps back up a lot of the things I recall learning when I did my first level PMBI qualification. However it also has some great new tips and ideas. All of this again gets me thinking of ways people can and can not improve their bike handling skills.

Talking with Ben about it there are a few interesting things to think about. Practice is awesome, however practicing bad skills is not (Lee points this out quote a bit). Many people get to a certain level of ability to ride stuff and then simply stop trying assuming they are good enough. However we can all get better (ask professional downhillers, they will be the first to admit this).

When I used to ski a lot I tended to always try to have at least 1 week of lessons every year up at the snow as it all helps. The weird thing is now I do not go out of my way to get mountain bike skills training myself, I think I really should look into this. Another point Ben makes well is sessioning things helps you improve, if you practice getting better and better on something a lot there should be a benefit. Do not simply go for a long mountain bike ride, instead head out and repeat sections of Pork Barrel or Double Dissolution, try different lines, corners, speeds, and everything. Also maybe time yourself doing stuff.

The next point is pump tracks also help a lot, if you have one near you make use of it, head out and spend half an hour riding around it. You have a concentrated set of repeatable corners and bumps and things to do and you can hone your skills a lot doing this. When I was at a conference in Ballarat early this year I visited a friend of a friend's place for a bbq and they have a pump track. We had a great time playing on that. There are some fantastic pump tracks in public places in Canberra too (Gungahlin and Queanbeyan both come to mind).

Learning good skills means trying to repeat things that are faster and smoother, and it also helps following good riders when they are working on smooth and fast. The other thing is to simply have fun on the bike, the more fun you have the more you want to be out there. Though better skills defintiely increase the fun. I really need to read the rest of Lee McCormack's books now too.

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