Q: “On your podcasts I’ve heard you mention coaching a student and giving them instruction in the car. What about lead-follow, where the student follows you as you drive the line? I think I learned way more from my driving instructor when I tried to follow the line he was showing me. What are your thoughts?”
A: Lead-follow is a great learning technique, as long as it’s not overdone. I’ve always used it when I can. The only downside to it is that at some point the driver needs to understand why they’re driving the line that they’re driving, and not just follow someone else. There are some drivers who are very good if they’re copying what others have shown them, but they struggle on their own. That’s why I say it can be overdone.
If all you do is follow another driver, have you really understood why you’re doing what you’re doing, or simply copying what they’re doing. Sometimes copying someone leads to that Aha! moment where you understand why you’re doing what you’re doing. But sometimes it only leads to knowing how to copy.
Why is the understanding why so important? So you can apply the principles to other corners, and other tracks, when you don’t have someone to follow. Use lead-follow for a while, but don’t get overly reliant on it.