Q: “How long do I tell my driver (6-year-old son) to keep his eyes on his entry point/turn-in spot before he picks up his apex? He finds his entry/turn-in spot off the exit of the previous corner really well, but then I feel he’s looking to his apex too soon and he drifts off his turn-in point, making his entry a half a kart more shallow then it needs to be.”
A: Tricky question! How long? 1.563 seconds. I’m joking! There is no way of saying exactly how long, but I do get your question, and I think you’re really trying get your son to focus enough on the turn-in point that he doesn’t turn in or crab into the corner because he’s looking at the apex.
The good news is that he’s looking ahead, so we don’t want to stop him from doing that. Here’s what I’d do… I’d ask him to come back in after a practice session and tell you how close his kart is to the edge of the track at the turn-in points (or pick just one or two key corners to do this in). He may not really be aware of how he’s turning in early. Sure, you can tell him afterwards, but tha’s not the same as him knowing in the moment. So, instead of sending him out to practice and focus on turning the fastest lap time, get him to focus on his own awareness of how close he is to the edge of the track when he turns in. I believe that with some time he will learn to use his peripheral vision to check on how close he is to the turn-in point while looking ahead to the apex as he enters corners.
Prior to a practice session, try saying something like, “Hey, here’s all I want you to do this coming session: Just go out and turn quick laps, but the main thing I want you to focus on is how close your kart is to the edge of the track as you turn into Turn 1 (or whatever). That’s it. And when you come in, I’m going to ask you about it, so be aware of it. Obviously, you know that you should be as close to the edge of the track as you can, so just check to see how close you really are. You don’t want to stare at the turn-in point, but just be aware of it. That’s all. And remember, have fun!”
Here’s a “stupid question/comment” — this kid sounds awesome, already — but I feel we’re trying to “back-him-up,” where he is already ahead of the game.
As I reflect on Ross’ white-board talks, and his magnetic car-in -the-corner on that white board, what does it even mean to “get to the apex?” He’s only getting to the apex at the angle/attitude that he is, because he’s probably focusing on the apex too much already. Now, how and where his car is supposed to be positioned when he gets there, which is what Dad, or anyone outside the car sees, is something he doesn’t see yet. If he’s getting to the apex early, isn’t he having problems on exit? Oops, I just got what Ross is saying — “back it up” to get ahead. To get a good exit, where/how do you want to be at apex? To get a good apex, what does the car look like at entrance? (Glad to make you look good, Ross — Have Fun!) I’ll bet coach and son already figured this out, as I prove that you can coach yourself if you can figure out your own learning style, ha-ha.