I have found that when trying to master a physical skill, reading a book or getting a complete coaching lesson doesn’t bring as much improvement and success as one would think. It gives me the ability to sound really smart but doesn’t make me good at it.
For me, mixing lots of practice with little, properly timed tips seems to work best. Not all tips are equally important. The student needs to pick out the ones that resonate best with them.
I would like to pass on some of the tips or skills that have worked best for me. When a ride or race is going poorly, I can usually help correct the situation by telling myself to get back to basics and concentrate on the tips that I have learned.
These tips are not necessarily in the order that one would learn them.
When riding fast, controlling where you look is perhaps the most crucial thing of all!
You must look fairly far ahead and just remember what is just in front of your tire. The faster you are going, the farther ahead you look. If you concentrate on what is just in front of your tire, you will be reacting to everything in a panic. If you look further ahead, you will be proactive and pick much, much better lines.
Only look at exactly where you want to go, NOT, NOT, NOT at what you want to miss.
Exactly how far to look ahead will just take practice. There is such a thing as too far. I find that it is good to keep the look ahead distance pretty consistent, with that distance lengthening with more speed.
When a ride is going poorly and I am just reacting to things, I can usually correct it to a great degree by switching to looking ahead to race distance and then getting after it.
This lesson is most helpful on reasonably fast trails.