“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.” Steve Jobs
Sometimes the best way to approach a problem is to work it backwards. This is relative in many complex mathematical equations and it applies on finding your angles and approach to barrels on different size patterns as well.
When I lay the triangles over top of each other and line up the point on the center of second barrel, it really highlights how much steeper the angle to third can be based on pattern dimensions. These are scale drawing so the angle is very accurate. The orange line represents your perfect path to the third barrel on both patterns. Straight as an arrow from your departure point (point A) to your arrival point (point B).If you are used to small patterns and venture out on a big pattern and finish the 2nd barrel turn with the same angle to 3rd barrel you always do, you are going to over finish the turn and end up on the wrong side of the 3rd barrel and will need to make a huge correction to get yourself moved over to the correct side of the barrel. If you are used to a standard pattern and finish the 2nd barrel turn with the same angle to 3rd you always do, you are going to end up in no mans land and have to get back closer to the barrel. Either way this costs time on the clock two-fold. Firstly, anytime you make a line correction you are adding length to the line. Secondly, making lateral adjustments to a line costs the momentum.
The easiest way to get your angle to the third barrel and your straight line is to work the line backwards. Start at point B facing the 2nd Barrel. Walk to the second barrel where you are going to finish your 2nd barrel turn (Point A). Make a conscious effort to keep your line straight and walk engaged and purposefully from point B to point A. I recommend putting a physical object at point A and point B (something so simple as a pop can work, cones are great too!) so you really have something to focus on. When you have completed this task, walk into no mans land and really assess your line. Is it straight? If it is not, you may need another physical barrier to help straighten out your line. Putting 2 ropes down quite narrow (1 1/2 feet apart) and walking down the center of them is a great way to make yourself stay straight. Just like all aids we use, make sure to use it as an aid. Practice, take the aid away and test yourself out. Aids can quickly becoming crutches when not used in moderation. If your line is straight, great. Now do the pattern the correct way, following the straight line path you made. Play with different patterns and angles often so you don’t get on auto pilot and are making the correct line for the pattern you are racing on, versus what you have practiced a million times at home.
This same concept applies to the first barrel as well. If you start at the barrel where you are going to start your 1st turn and face the alley way or gate, it is much easier to see the path you need to take.
We are very excited to be bringing our workshop program to the main stream where we put these principals into practice and help you by utilizing video overlay technology and Intervaltiming.com reports to help you with your runs. Our workshops come with a very unique “time on the clock” guarantee. If we can’t get you time the clock, we will happily refund your fees.
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Our next article will be released in late February and is titled “Conformation vs Posture” stay tuned!