practicing looking ahead

Hi Folks!

 

Do you have any advice how to get used to looking ahead as fast as possible? This kinda always has been my biggest problem I'm aware of... I just recently crashed because of this in a really smooth, big turn with a really fast outside line with lovely berm.... A few times I hit it really fast and went smooth thru the whole turn while beeing hard on the gas, but there were times where I doesn't felt 100% comfortable maybe, wasn't looking far enough, or started looking more towards the front of the bike while planting the bike ontop of the berm, went over the bars and landed somewhere 20 feet away from my bike...

 

It feels like I got a tendency of shifting my cautioness more towards the front of the bike when I get uncomfortable or worried about my line choice or something, instead of looking ahead, or looking not far enough ahead causes to loose a bit control and results in things like this... hard to tell whats cause and whats effect...

 

How would you train for looking ahead? do laps at a slower pace, focsing on nothing but looking ahead? or are there some kind of tricks to achieve faster results? I thought about applying some kind of flashy sticker onto my front fender, that hopefully reminds me of looking further down the track if it should appear within the corner of my eyes or something like this...

By your thread topic, you already know what you need to do - practice. All the tips you see take a while to become a natural part of your skill set. Its not like you can take all the tips available and just do them. It takes practice - with practice comes instinct and reflex - it just becomes part of your riding. Your over the biggest hurdle, you've identified something you need to improve. Now you need to make a conscious effort to make it part of riding. Before you know it, it will be something you do instinctively. There's no magic switch, you need confidence to know that once you've identified what you need to do, you will do it, then you'll quit focusing on what your doing NOW and be working on what you need to do NEXT, then before you know it you'll be setting up for the next thing while you executing your current task.

As old fart said, its all about confidence. Looking down or directly whats in front of you, is a sign that you're just not comfortable in whatever situation you currently ride in. You probably ride a bit too slow right now and as a consequence, you aren't being forced to look ahead. When you go quicker, things happen SO much faster and if you don't look ahead, you will crash because the next obstacle will be in your face before you can even think about it. 

 

How do you practice looking ahead? Its very simple... put some little markers on the track on the exit of the corners and highlight the "main" line. Our tracks are littered with rocks from people using this technique, each line has its own exit rock at the end and its hilarious to be out there every weekend and magically there are rocks there in the right line! Its because there is so much training going on at our tracks, the instructors use that trick and it works well. I look at the rocks and I find it helps because you have something to look AT that IS further ahead then your front wheel. All ya gotta do is connect the dots. 

 

I think most riders have a problem looking ahead, even pro's. Its not something you'll pick up magically, it does take a long time and you've gotta force yourself. If you don't, you will always find yourself falling into your old style of riding and wind up never growing as a rider and going the same speed. 

I agree it takes practice. Just practice it in everything you do. When your training focus further ahead as your doing whatever it is you do. When driving keep looking forward, when walking look forward, whatever it is in your everyday routine, look forward. As long as your used to looking forward in everyday life it will be easier to transfer over to riding.

Oh, looking forward is part of my everydays routine, I'm actually spending quite some time each day looking forward.... to the next riding session ;-) jk

 

Well... thanks guys. I just wanted to know whats your opinion on the subject. I think I basically understood how to effectively learn new stuff (would have been handy back in the days when I went to school, wouldn't it?) but I guess there are always some tipps and tricks for certain things that might increase effectiveness of training even more.... I'm an "old" man (25) ... haha, I want to train as effective as possible and maybe learn from ohers experience... I mean, I guess every good rider would agree that they spend quite some time figuring certain things out. If they knew back then what they know now, they would likely ride at another level now...

yep. hind site is 20/20. Your already working on it, so it sounds like you know the instances where your not looking ahead, which is key getting past it. For me it's not that I forget to look ahead, it's that I get fixated. Most of the time everything is good, your looking ahead, then you see that one rut coming from a mile away. Get fixated on the middle of the rut, chances are your going to stand the bike up and blow through it. Same with berms, jumps, everything. When do you feel like your riding best? When your open to everything in front of you, and acting automatically. Focus too much on any one thing and you won't have the relaxation or the innate reflexes that are a large part of riding. Efficiency is everything on a dirt bike, including the function of your cognitive faculties.

 

Never tried the rock thing. I would think you would be better off slowing down and working your way back up to speed with the proper technique and confidence. A large part of it is having confidence in your feel for the bike and reflexes. It's hard to maintain focus ahead if your not sure what your bike is doing under neath you. Practice standing, learn how to save when you wash your front wheel.

Edited by Die_trying

yep. hind site is 20/20. Your already working on it, so it sounds like you know the instances where your not looking ahead, which is key getting past it. For me it's not that I forget to look ahead, it's that I get fixated. Get fixated on the middle of the rut, chances are your going to stand the bike up and blow through it. Same with berms, jumps, everything. When do you feel like your riding best? When your open to everything in front of you, and acting automatically. Focus too much on any one thing and you won't have the relaxation or the innate reflexes that are a large part of riding. Efficiency is everything on a dirt bike, including the function of your cognitive faculties.

Never tried the rock thing. I would think you would be better off slowing down and working your way back up to speed with the proper technique and confidence. A large part of it is having confidence in your feel for the bike and reflexes. It's hard to maintain focus ahead if your not sure what your bike is doing under neath you. Practice standing.

Agreed! You go where you you look. If you focus on an obstacle in the track, a rock maybe, you are more likely to hit it. Same with ruts, if the rut has a squiggle coming out, and you look at it, it's likely it will mess you up.

Plus, looking too close will remove any time you have to react to an issue. By the time you see it, your on it.

The rock trick is actually used by two different professional trainers who frequent Milestone. The whole idea is to have something to look at through the corner and then once you approach it, you look at the next rock further down the track and "connect the rocks". We use to use the same trick with roadracing, except we used cones on the edges of the track as something to look at when you go through the corner. Its a great trick and if you get a chance to try it, I'd try it because you'll find it actually does work, it gives you something else to focus on besides looking down at the fender. 

Ride in the Bush....

Where and how far to look ahead while practicing or racing is a subject of major importance.  The basic law here is to look at the next most important object that’s coming up as early as possible.  This maybe the beginning of a rut, the entrance of a corner, a big bump on a straight, the take off of a jump, est.  You see, as you’re riding a motocross track your vision is covering the ground just before you go over it.  You have to focus your vision on certain things of major importance; like mentioned earlier.  But what can happen to the untrained rider is that they focus their vision on these things too late and too long.  This causes them to ride too close in front of their front fender, which makes them ride the track every ten or twenty feet instead of blending the sections together more smoothly and with better lines.  I think this practice method of being aware how far you're looking ahead is one that even the best riders should be aware of and practice. 

 

When you train yourself to be comfortable at looking a little further ahead it allows you to have more time to react to things and therefore go faster and you will go faster but it doesn’t seem like you are. Vision, depth perception and peripheral vision are all very important.  These are things that improve with more and more riding. How fast the brain can process all this information and react to it is a talent that is at the top of the importance list. So open it up and see the entire track out in front of you.  Ride with your eyes up toward the top of your goggles. 

 

One thing I quickly notice at my motocross schools is what riders are looking ahead and which riders are not. This is because when I signal one rider at a time to come off the practice drill I can see right away if they have tunnel vision or if they are using their peripheral vision as well. I've had riders that notice my arm motion to wave them off the drill when I'm 40 yards away. I've had other riders not able to notice me after several attempts of arm waving even when I'm standing right beside the track. Don’t get stuck in tunnel vision, look ahead and use your peripheral vision as well. 

 

 

I admit, I always had trouble seeing the pit board when racing. I am not sure if it was tunnel vision or I was just focused on a different part of the track. But look at the MEC, they wrote to Dungey every lap about the Joker Lane, and he still missed it. (Not too crazy about that part of the race, but it's an example).

What I think is the best example of needing to look forward, is when your going through a rutted part of a track. If you look at the ruts, it always seems like you cross rut, if you look past the section, it seems you can go through it without a problem. Anyone else notice?

Just a thought that came to my mind... would probably watching go pro vids of the track I ride help? if I try to focus on looking to where I should look while riding, so I start generating some kind of habit? Thats at least something that I can do while off the bike, at home...

I think it may be counter productive. While it's nice to memorize the track, that really doesn't help looking ahead. Your trying to brake your focus on what's going on right in front of you. So in your head, you'll be thinking your looking ahead because you think you know what's ahead - but your not "looking" ahead. Your want to look ahead all the time, and not just ahead but be aware of what's going on around you, your trying to break your tunnel vision, as Gary described above. Your trying to pick up that the run you hit last time has been pushed out before you get to it, your trying to notice the guy in front of you will slow you down if you take your normal line. The track changes lap to lap - you don't want to simply memorize your lines. A good rider will have multiple lines through any given section - you'll have your preferred lines, but you must be ready to adjust before you're into something too deep to adjust.

Edited by oldfrt613

Yeah, I'm getting headache from it anyways... haha

 

I understand that line choice thing, however I'm a bit limited with line choice I guess, because of riding a 125 (at the moment) ... sometimes I just need that outside line to maintain or built up speed... I'm also riding hardpack most of the time. Things don't change that fast on a hardpack track...

 

However, I can already see little improvements after dedicating 2 motos per session to looking ahead... (I'm typically riding 3 times a week) ...I'm also watching my laptimes via gopro, that might get interesting...

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now