Crucial Tips for Motocross Parents
by Tim Laskis, PhD
I have fond memories as an adolescent spending countless hours on the road traveling to motocross races all over the Southeast U.S.. This was a time that I will always remember because I was doing something I loved and I was spending time with my dad. He worked a tremendous amount of hours during the week, however, the weekend was our time to bond. Now, as a parent of a six year old and nine month old, I have already introduced them to the motocross lifestyle and hope to create a lifetime of memories with them. As a motocross parent, you know how great it is to be involved in this sport. You too are creating memories that will last a life time. I have five tips that are important for you to remember as you raise your child around riding and racing.
1. Make Sure They Are Doing It For the Right Reasons
It is easy as parents to live through our children when it comes to motocross. We get excited because now we have an excuse to spend time at the track like we used to. However, make sure your young rider is doing it for the right reasons. Too many times kids get into sports because their parents have an interest in it. At first they are intrigued and excited to do something different, however, as time goes by they never really fall in love with the sport you enjoy so much. As a result, they feel conflicted. They may continue to ride/race because it makes you happy. They see it in your eyes how much you love it and they do not want to let you down. But, if you look closely you can see the intensity and excitement is gone for them.
Suggestion: Periodically check in with him/her to see if they still love riding/racing. Let them know that they can stop at any time and that it will not impact you. Tell them you will support them in any sport they choose whether it is motocross or something else. I'm sure you will have your fingers crossed behind your back wishing they never stop riding, however, it is important for them to follow their own path.
|Saying harsh words, screaming or slapping them with the pit board may make you feel better, but it will humiliate your child. And, they may never forget or forgive you.|
2. Make School A Priority
If they love riding, use it as leverage for them to complete their school work. Too many times kids/adolescents will lose sight of what is important. Doing well in school should be their main priority. If they bring home poor grades, remove the privilege of riding. This will help to reinforce the importance of getting a good education. Very few people ever reach the level of Ryan Dungey, Ken Roczen or Eli Tomac. And, if they are one of the unlucky ones who never "make it", what will they do then without a factory contract or a diploma?
3. Keep Yourself in Check
You spent thousands of dollars on a new bike, trailer, riding gear and equipment. Also, your investment in time is great. However, the perceived effort and/or poor results are driving you nuts. How should you respond if they ride poorly at events? There are a lot of stories circulating about current and past racers whose parents flipped out on them for not performing well. Managing your frustration as a parent when you know they can ride better can be difficult. However, it is best to keep your emotions in check.
Suggestion: Take three deep belly breaths and walk away for several minutes when you are upset. Think before you respond and don't react negatively. Saying harsh words, screaming or slapping them with the pit board may make you feel better, but it will humiliate your child. And, they may never forget or forgive you.
4. Keep It Fun
Riding/racing should be as fun after four years as it was on the first day. If it isn't, check to see what is going on. Are they bored riding the same old tracks? Does your child need a break? Are you over training them? Asking them questions will keep you informed. Burnout is common and it does not necessarily mean they are finished with riding. It may mean that minor changes need to be made in location, amount of riding or type of training they are doing.
Suggestion: If your child reports that they are bored going to the Corn Cob raceway, take them to a new track or maybe go riding in the woods for a change. Have them go somewhere new and possibly engage in a new area of riding. This often is enough to reignite the fire. Sometimes, they just need a break from riding. Maybe they need a month or two off to fall in love with it again. Or, maybe reduce the intensity of their training program. Talk with your child and they will tell you.
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5. Explore Training Options
It seems like the kids today are faster in all the classes than they were when I was racing back in the 80's and 90's. Part of it is the introduction of the four strokes and the other part is that many kids are going to full or part-time training facilities. I work at one of these facilities and I am amazed at the speed of C class racers. Going to a training facility is not for everyone. It can be expensive and time consuming. However, it is a great option today that I never had back in the day.
Another option is to go to weekend training camps. Many full time training facilities offer mini boot camps which can be a great way to gain new skills in a short period of time at a fraction of the cost. Maybe even go to a few different training facility boot camps to see which you enjoy best. There is also an endless supply of YouTube videos on riding technique. I bought Gary Bailey, Marty Smith and Broc Glover VHS training tapes way back when. However, kids today have use of the internet to find many free videos on demand. Another great current resource is Gary Semics. Go to GarySemics.com for an awesome collection of videos on demand.
I hope this post was helpful. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or need help. Best of luck!
That's it for now, until next time, good luck with your training and remember, if you have a question, log on to the Virtual Trainer Expert Forum and have your question answered by a panel of experts. In addition, be sure and check out the Racer X Virtual Trainer archive section. Your complete one-stop information zone for motocross fitness.