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.
One variant of informal lead-follow has been useful for to me as a developing driver is following people in similar vehicles who are better than I am. Its always interesting to see first-hand how much faster a corner could be taken, for example, even if I then have to continue to work on the techniques to make it happen.
In motorcycle world THIS is the primary instruct method for on track activities. World for them can work for us with four wheels
Wait — don’t we already know the line from track-maps and video study? I kind of have to “learn the line” with those tools first. Then following “those who know the way,” I can get better.