How to Coach Your Drifting Sports Team to Success
When you go to a drifting competition, the drivers on your sports team need all the help they can get to develop a winning attitude and stay true to form.
How do you manage your team amidst the wild roar of engines punctuated as exhaust pipes strain under extreme pressure?
How do you get them to stay calm and in control when smoke and dust swells up like a giant tidal wave as cars drift dangerously close to the gasping crowd?
How do you mentor your best drivers to become as legendary as Keiichi Tsuchiya?
Here are three simple strategies to help your drivers stay on track (no pun intended) to win more often at drifting sporting events.
1. Create a space safe from sensory overload at the event.
As a race car coach, you’re leading a team that needs to work toward a common goal. They may have the skills, the nerves, and the training to perform under pressure—but they also need a space where they can regroup after a race.
One way to provide this for them is to research tents for sporting events and then choose the best one for your team. Since you must stay on the grounds for the whole day, your drivers will need to have a little privacy from the fans and some distance from the commotion—a place where they can sit and talk to each other, stretch out after a grueling race, or get something nutritious to eat from a cooler.
2. Remember, success begins before the big event.
Your drivers will need to put in endless hours of practice to perform well at the drifting event. Hard work will take them far in improving their driving techniques — but they will also need the right environment to hone their craft. This will make all the difference.
The right environment is both physical and psychological.
Physically, your drivers will need several hours a day for months on end. So they will need to train in high-performance cars and at the best facilities.
Psychologically, your drivers will need time to talk to you about their wants, needs, and goals with you and their colleagues. They will also need time to get oriented to the training schedule and time to tinker with their gear, their equipment, and the setup of their car. Micromanaging them when they come in for racing practice will be counterproductive.
3. Time your positive and negative feedback.
Wins build confidence and losses diminish it. But since so many things can go wrong at a drifting event, it’s easy for your top drivers to feel that they just don’t have what it takes to be winners.
They may feel like failures when they lose control of their car, or they may feel cursed by bad luck if their vehicle doesn’t hold together long enough to finish the event.
As the team coach, your job is to break their fixation with an all-or-nothing approach toward victory and defeat.
After a race, talk about how well things went and avoid analyzing what the driver should have done. Feedback is essential, but you have to give it at the right time and in the right place. Encourage them at the event. Later, when it’s back to training for the next big meet, you can give them feedback on their weak points.
Drifting sporting events present unique challenges for a coach. The whole scene is one of mayhem. Fans scream, engines roar, dust rises in columns, and the acrid smell of burning rubber frequently punches the air. But by following these three tips, you will build a better relationship with your drivers and help them grow individually and as a team.
In summary, motivation becomes a lot easier when you create a safe space for drivers at the event, when you give them the best physical and psychological environment to practice their drifting skills, and when you dole out feedback based on their receptivity to respond to it.