How are you supposed to get better if you don’t know what you are doing wrong?
I got an interesting question the other day from a facebook “fan” and I think my answer upset him so much that he deleted the whole thread! The truth hurts! His question went something like this: Hey, thanks for the cornering post (about braking before corners) that was really helpful. I have a question for you, I feel better when I corner to my left than to my right. Cornering to the left feels fine but cornering to the right feels like I am doing something wrong. Can you help me corner better to the right?
My reply: First, don’t feel that you are weird because you feel better cornering to one side than the other, most if not all mountain bikers feel that way. From your question it sounds like that you don’t actually know how to corner (if you did you would know what you are doing wrong). So your first step is to learn how to corner properly! Then you will be able to figure out what you are doing wrong to the right.
Well, I guess he didn’t like that answer as the post was gone the next morning when I went to see if he had written back! As I said the truth hurts and that shows one of the many distinctions between a coach and an instructor. Instructors usually teach short lessons (1-4 hours) and have huge incentive to make you like them (a second lesson, tips) while coaching is a longer term approach and a coach has to walk a fine line between telling the truth and not hurting your self-esteem, or in the case above, his ego. While I don’t want to hurt a students self-esteem I am not going to lie to someone to boost their self-esteem. Lying as a coach just leads to students being over confident leading to failure and/or injury.
As you know I and our coaches are passionate about helping you ride better. We do our best to give the best free advice on the good ole interweb and the best coaching available in person. Honesty can be painful to some and obviously that was painful to him, which is too bad. I wasn’t insulting him, just pointing out a fact, he doesn’t know how to corner (just like I have no idea how to do his job).
Our students say that one of the best things about our camp is when something goes wrong they now know why it went wrong and how to fix that mistake so it doesn’t happen again. Much of what we coach can be found in this blog and our mini-course so if you haven’t been to one of our skills progressions yet, read through this blog. While nothing in print form can hold a candle to good coaching there is a lot of great information here if you study it (versus just reading it) and practice it! Remember, knowledge is worthless without action! The goal isn’t to “know” something, the goal is to be able to “do” something, consistently, even in the most adverse conditions.