The Value of Training
There are around 50 automobile schools, from drag racing to rally, open-wheeled cars, terrorist attack defensive driving and oval stock cars—the list goes on and on. Motorcycle riders are just beginning to enjoy the same sort of market, but now you too can be selective.
A Brief History of Schools
The Superbike School was very lonely in 1980 when it started. It was the only technique-oriented high-performance riding school. That was a double-edged sword. On the upside we were the only one. On the downside, people didn’t understand the benefits of training. It was uncharted territory.
I won’t labor you through the entire history lesson, but suffice it to say there are now many schools in the 21st century. Just in the USA alone there are 70 schools that offer rider training, including Reggie Pridmore’s CLASS, Jason Pridmore’s STAR school, the Yamaha Champions School, the Wood family’s Penguin School, Ed Bargy, Corner Speed, Mike Sullivan, and so many others.
Not only that, but there are enough track day providers to make you dizzy. Access to the controlled environment of track riding is at an all-time high.
Learn It Yourself?
Even now, some riders believe they can learn it all on their own with enough saddle time, and some can. However “some” is a very small number. Unless you are one of that select few, save yourself a lot of time and money, go to a school and get trained.
I’m realistic about my own riding talent. It simply was not my destiny to be world champion. In the 70’s, when I was racing Superbikes, on a good day, I got into the top five. The point? Neither my riding coaches nor I are famous race guys. At this point in my life I’m kind of glad I wasn’t a top runner, I think it would have gone to my head.
As our Australian school director, Steve Brouggy, likes to say: “Would you rather have golf lessons from Tiger Woods or Tiger Woods’ coach?” My destiny was to train riders and the dozens of championships won by riders I’ve coached has already gone to my head.
Choosing a School
Schools that have formal structure are much more educational than those that don’t. Most schools have followed our lead and adopted some structure. Chalk talk, ride, chalk talk, ride. Most have on-track instruction, some have adopted hand signals for immediate feedback, many are using video, and a few have defined individual exercises for students. The quality of training has improved with competition between the schools. All of this is to your benefit, you now have choices.
Think for Yourself
Riders do become attached to different schools and are sometimes fierce in their loyalty. “I went to so and so’s school and it wasn’t any good, yours is the best.” Every school owner hears this about some competitors’ program.
The fact is, if the school has been around a while and has expanded to any degree, they’ve done a good job with enough riders to stay in business. Student’s expectations are often quite high, as they should be – as yours should be.
If you really want to know about a particular school, survey half a dozen different riders who have gone and listen to what they have to say. Don’t just listen to the yip yap of one outspoken guy on some forum. Realize that the schools that have been around for a while have had thousands of students. You’ll soon find out that the good reports will outweigh the bad ones, for almost any school out there.
Go to School
Which school you choose largely depends on your goal. Most schools claim to, and strive toward having their own unique character and functions. Of course I hope you can make it to mine.
Here’s the deal: I don’t know everything there is to know about riding and no one can claim they do because our understanding of the sport is still evolving. At the Superbike School we are certain that what we do works and we back that up with a genuine guarantee of improvement.
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