Top 5 Things I Learned last yearFeb 14, 2023
If you are not much of a reader, here's the corresponding video link https://youtu.be/lhLhjIC9O4E
1 RPM anxiety is real. It is something that you have to get over if you want to advance. There is something built into our brains that starts to get really nervous when the RPM's start cranking. We inherently know that it could go really bad if our clutch control is not good. As a result, our pointer finger doesn't want to release the clutch quickly and what's worse is we have a hard time even winding up the throttle to begin with.
Zaps need a quick burst of throttle to generate that lift when you jump and pop the clutch. With splats, you really need to crank it up beforehand. There is no way around it when it comes to that maneuver.
So for me, I had to learn to scale it all back to just 1 aspect - just winding up the throttle. Not even going anywhere. Just twist it in neutral to the throttle stop. The 1st time I did this, I thought the bike was going to explode. It shook so badly that dirt tumbled off and even one of my lever adjusters rattled out. LOL I started to do this more and learned to listen and feel where the throttle was as it related to the throttle stop. What percent of throttle was I using and needing? I began dissipating that energy into hillsides through Rev, Squat, Go maneuvers and that really helped. I'm still not there, but I am learning to get comfortable when the RPM's are beginning to crank up. It really is a head trip and this year, I made big progress. I've learned that at events, you want to hit it hard 1st time. Don't be shy about the throttle. Better to have too much than not enough in most instances especially when you are going uphill.
2 Micro drills create muscle memory. Then your mind is freed up so you can focus on next thing. I have realized that how I learn things, my skill acquisitions is really about breaking the technique down into the smallest of movements. Our extremities cannot handle multiple inputs. Cognitive overload is real. When we have more to concentrate on at once, our brain gets foggy, and it never goes right. Add a bit of fear as we wind up the throttle or get a high wheelie and you NEED to have built in automatic responses that allow you to do what you need to do. I spend a lot of time drilling certain maneuvers to build up my automatic processes so that I do Not have to think about it. It is just automtic.
3 How I learn is how I teach, The Progression Method. Basically what I described in parts 2 and 3, I put into a video on my website that you can view. I have realized that how I learn things, my skill acquisition, is really helpful to others who like to learn that way as well. Over the last 3 decades, I have picked up a multitude of sports and activities. I love trying new things and trying to get good at them. I like to master and teach. That's just the way that I am wired. As a result, I have really honed in on my own method to get good at activities. That is what I offer the trials community (not my awesome pro level riding skills) but rather, A WAY TO LEARN THINGS. That is what I am good at, learning and talking about trials skills.
The Progression Method - TPM
- Pull out the Micro Skill - Find a safe way to practice it
- Use 'Cue Words' to assist with the learning - Rev, pop, slip, jump, stay back etc
- Get more reps. Practicing form & technique, video review, Celebrate your success - emotions cement memories.
- Advance the reps into real world scenario or drill so you build a muscle memory.
- Add Circuit Training, 3 skills done in sequence to drill in memory recall of what you just learned.
4 Suspension set up makes a difference. After getting on Ron's bike at the TTD event, I noticed right away that I liked how his bike felt as I turned and hopped. It was a little firmer, yet slower and also more responsive. I searched everywhere and most everyone I talked to said to just leave the suspension alone. I tried to make adjustments myself but got the bike into a mess. That started a whole lot of conversations with Ron and eventually the purchase of a heavier spring that was more in line with my rider weight and sag settings. I found that learning skills was easier and certain maneuvers felt like I had gained an instant 20% increase in skill.
5 Friends make this more than a sport - The Trials Inc group as well as most all the trials riders I have met, are kind and giving. The whole culture seems to be oriented towards helping and giving back. Even though it is competitive, there is a greater sense that this is about skill mastery and competing against the terrain. I have started helping at events by taking photos and offering video and media services. My recent outing with NextGen moto trials really made me want to give back and help the younger generation of kids develop.
1 more for a bonus - Trials keeps me sane. Work stress and life itself can just build up on you. When I ride the bike, I have to have a mono focus. It is uni-tasking at its finest. Everything else just seems to melt away. I need to keep riding to stay mentally healthy and available for those around me.
There are other skills I learned this year like stuff to static zap, but what amazes me is not the skills themselves, but the whole sport and how it humbles and uplifts you at the same time.