Held on Feb. 2nd, at the 2 Mile Thunderhill West Course and Clubhouse, 26 Driving Coaches were put through a rigorous day of classroom, theory, practice and on-track evaluations, as a part of the new Motorsport Safety Foundation (MSF) effort to standardize HPDE activities with a focus on safety.
An approved MSF safety standard training organization, HOD opened the registration to other Club Instructors, as well as those newer Coaches/Instructors who needed formal training to the round out their early experiences. HOD coaches as well as some from other HPDE groups attended. And virtually all the participants saw the value in the program.
Newer coaches learned advanced techniques and got a lot of practice. More experienced coaches were able brush up their skills while sharing with one another, as there were many years of coaching experience represented in the program.
With Teri Barrett and Mike Gerhard of the HOD Leadership team initiating the event, Tupper Hull, the Head Coach for the CA HOD Region contributed many, many hours in developing and fine-tuning a very thorough presentation that included the best of the existing HOD Coach training, with the extra value of content and standards from the MSF.
Classroom topics included instructions standards like the terminology to be used in the car, hand signals that can assist some drivers who prefer visual learning, and the skill to ascertain how their student prefers to learn. With a video example of in-car coaching used as a sample to critique, each participant could see “do’s” and “not to do’s” from a real-world coaching situation.
The final element of the training was an entire afternoon with coach candidates moving from car to car driven by HOD senior coach mentors. The mentors drove emulating one of the MSF categories of driver – creating a “diagnose the driver” scenario. Once the participant determined what kind of driver he or she had, then they were tested on their ability to coach to address the weaknesses while reinforcing the positives. They were also quizzed after getting out of their car, to see if they had diagnosed the driver (who was role-playing behind the wheel), what type of driver they were. With mentor-drivers putting in almost 3 straight hours of drive time while “in character,” and coach/participants moving from car to car, with trackside debriefs throughout the program – everyone got a robust workout.
In the end, the group did exceptionally well. Tupper states, “This group of coaches, whether veterans or rookies, arrived with an open mind, ambitious to learn, and clearly committed to the effort.” The results were very positive, with a mention here and there of areas for improvement by some participants, but a virtual unanimous opinion that the group should move forward to coach.”
HOD Founder David Ray states, “MSF has taken on a noble cause, and one that will take patience for success. As HOD's top priority is safety, I believe strongly in their effort – one that could significantly enhance the future of the sport of HPDE. Thanks to our leadership team, our Coach/Mentors, and all of the participants that made this program a success."
David Ray, HOD Owner
PO Box 454
Copperopolis, CA 95228