Apr 30, 2008, By Keith Code, © Keith Code, 2008, all rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in any form without express written permission from the author. If you want to share, link to this article.
All Riders Have ADDD
Attention Disorientation and Distribution Disorder
Yes, I just made that up but, really, there has been a lot of buzz for years about so-called ADD and ADHD. Youíll hear, ďAt school, my son or daughter canít focus and has a hard time learning lessons. Their attention wanders. They become nervous and impulsive.Ē Well, I have a school and my students (usually the parents) have the same problems with something they really are interested in, improving their cornering skills. Both have run into a learning barrier.
Watching a student hack through a corner with speed, lean angle, steering and throttle errors could easily be described as un-focused hyperactivityĒ. They donít want it to be like that or feel like that. As a coach, I have to look for the reason or both I, and my students, fail to improve the riding.
What you experience or what I see in these situations is poor communication. The rider knows what he wants to say to his bike but doesnít have a clear communication to it. This looks like bad cell reception; riders appear to be shouting commands at the bike that it canít understand. The control inputs, our communications with the bike, step on one another. WHA (turn) AAAT-T- (look up road) T-T-T (back on the gas) D-D-D-DID (going wide) YOU S-S-S- (ah oh, too late) SAY?ÖIf you can hear me, Iíll call you later!
If you think of a barrier as something that stops communication it will take you back to a very, very basic point on riding. You only have so much attention to spend on anything at any given moment in time. AD, Attention Disorientation is a far better definition for the kid or the rider.
Once we start to multi-task by adding different forces like braking, accelerating and steering and approaching their limits, or what we perceive to be their limits, we start bumping into confidence problems, we become distracted, we see a little hysteria building and it snowballs. When that happens to me, and it can, do I have an ADHD attack?
Riders run out of attention to spend on receiving data from the riding environment, something sucks it up. They lose touch and canít process the information and accurately direct the bike. This is the barrier: being able to maintain communication, which is an exchange of information, which should then result in clear, distinct and well timed control inputs.
It isnít an attention deficit in general it is a very specific attention disorientation. The rider doesnít understand what the game isówhat to focus on. The kid got lost in school and the teacher wasnít bright enough to catch it and fix him or her. They are sent to the school Psych for drugs. I donít have stock in the drug companies so I have to fix the riderís problem.
In motorcycling, take hard braking as an example. Worrying about the front contact patch and when it will begin to fail takes an enormous amount of attention and swings it away from your goal: getting the turn entry speed right. That isnít an overall attention deficit, just misplaced attention and riders tend to generalize that but in the end it results in a lack of confidence while braking.
Without the important data like how fast you are decelerating and calculating an accurate solution that respond to it and then coordinating that with the appropriate control inputs, along with good timing and at the correct intensity; it all becomes guess work which leads straight to uncertainty, the opposite of confidence. The result is that we blow our turn entry speed; usually slower in than we should have gone or wish we could go.
The action of braking can become a bit dim and vague and riders fear it and want control over it at the same time. Similarly, when kids canít control the words on the page of their schoolbooks they fear them and reject them and become distracted just like the rest of us.
Just as drugs which tranquilize children will never be the correct solution to study problems, this braking scenario wonít resolve until we discover what technical step or piece of experience was missed in his or hers understanding of the braking sequence. Something was missed or misunderstood. This can often be simple. The rider thinks they should downshift before using the brake. Silly idea.
Get rid of what you want the least at the entry to a turn (excess speed) with the control that is very craftily designed for that purpose, the brakes, and downshift a little later. OK, it may go another step. The rider doesnít know how to smoothly change their gears. Fine. We fix that.
AD, Attention Disorientation, affects riders at all levels including professionals. Weíve handled more pro riders than anyone else in the world, trust me on this one, they have the same problems.
Once I realized weíre peeling an onion in layers and that everyone isnít suffering from some generalized disability I developed four different approaches, four coaching styles, to help the rider through their precise deficiency. No drugs.
Understanding the words that are spoken in a conversation or in a book is vital to interest. Understanding the desired result from your control inputs is vital. This is how you know if the bike is or is not cooperating with you. Both points are communication with something, a book, a bike, cooking, golf; it makes no difference what it is. Good coaching, not drugs, is the answer.
I hope we get a chance to get your riding attention oriented and focused this season. Take a look at our schedule and sign up now, Iíd love to see your big grin at the end of the day! http://www.superbikeschool.com/schedule/
PS: On the ADD and ADHD thing, take a look at this: