When you are competitive or serious about your sport, no matter what it is, you practice. Of course practice includes putting hours in your bike, but it also include honing certain skill and that can be done through drills. Drills take focus, precision and repetition. When you do something over and over again, eventually it becomes muscle memory. We have put together some drills that will help make you stand out from the rest of your competitors.
Front brake is a "touchy" subject. Your front brake is sensitive and it is important to understand its purpose and your limitations. Front break drills performed in a straight line. It is important to start out slow and continuously build speed. You should practice different body positions on the bike to see how your bike and body react. You want to be familiar with your front brake and know what to expect when you are on the track. This drill provides you with so much knowledge and will give you a new level of confidence on the track, when practiced often.
Rear brake is similar to front brake, in that it is performed in a straight line. One big difference is that you use your front brake instead of your rear brake, but you knew that! You want to practice and get familiar with using it and coming to a complete stop at high speed. You should focus on using your rear brake optimally without locking it up. If the rear wheel locks up, the rear end can step out and you'll lose breaking power. Understanding your brakes is a HUGE part in becoming a top rider.
Figure eight is exactly what it sounds like, you are making eights in the dirt with your bike. In these drills it's important to focus on all size eights, big and small, which will continue to grow your confidence on your bike and on the track.The small ones keeps the speed down so you can focus on body movement and technique getting into the corner. You can do these drills with front and rear brakes, as well as trying it with no brakes at all. The more you put yourself in different situations the more room you give yourself to grow as a rider.
What happens if your rear end does step out, are you ready for it? More importantly sometimes it is necessary. When you practice power-slides you become comfortable with an uncomfortable feeling and that's the reason riders do drills, to become better. This is definitely a more advanced technique but, with practice, something you can master. Having skills like this in your back pocket will set you apart from the rest.
It's not uncommon for riders to abuse their clutch, which is why we put this drill in the top five. Riding laps without the clutch will teach you how to carry more momentum and flow around the track. Plus the lifespan of your clutch will thank you!
Drills are an important part of evolving as a rider. The more you practice these drills the more knowledgeable, confident and safer rider you will become.