If you are one of those riders who feel they struggle somewhat more cornering in one direction compared to the other, you may be pleased to know that you are still perfectly normal.
Well, from a riding perspective, anyway.
Being stronger going in one direction compared to the other is incredibly common, and in my time doing track days and helping others in their own efforts, I have had A LOT of riders comment on this fact.
It’s nothing to be ashamed of or worried about. You’ll probably find to some degree almost every rider suffers from it.
What’s important though is that you begin to learn WHY this could be the case. Leaving it in the recesses of your mind and just putting it down to ‘one of those things’ isn’t going to help you.
On an absolute basic level you’re more confident going one way than the other., but what I want to try and do here is get your mind open to thinking more about why that could be, to hopefully eradicate the issues altogether.
The first and less common reason why you may fear one side more than the other is because of a previous incident you may have experienced when cornering in one direction in particular.
The subconscious mind takes care of a lot of things you simply do not hold in your conscious mind. How often do you consciously think about blinking? Breathing? Or even more complex tasks like walking?
The truth is so much of your day to day life is taken care of without the need to consciously think about it.
Ever had a traumatic experience that scared you? And upon hearing or seeing something that reminds you of it you instantly feel scared or emotional? While the thoughts couldn’t have been further from your mind initially, those thoughts and feeling were still buried away somewhere in that head of yours.
If you’ve had an incident on one particular corner type, there’s a good chance that your mind could be trying to protect you by holding you back going in that direction because of your previous bad experience.
The next time you’re on track, pay close attention to how you’re feeling during a corner on your poorer side. Try to take note of whether it’s something outside of physical technique that is holding you back.
More commonly, the issue of one side being worse than the other comes from poor technique on that side. If this is the case, normally you won’t be aware that you’re even doing things differently.
It’s important to be aware of what it is you’re doing ‘wrong’ compared to your stronger side, and you need to pay particular attention to what’s going on.
This was something that I struggled with earlier on in my track day life. For me personally I was weaker when going around left hand corners.
At the time I simply couldn’t put my finger on why I wasn’t as confident going left. All I knew was that I just didn’t feel as comfortable and it was as if it took more effort to get the bike turned.
It wasn’t that I was afraid of leaning the bike to the left, only that I wasn’t as comfortable and struggled with steering the bike.
During a chat with a friend about it (who used to coach for a riding school) I told him that through left handers it felt like I was really struggling to get the bike turned and I just didn’t feel as comfortable hanging off.
Within seconds he declared that I was more than likely riding much stiffer on the bars than I was for right handers.
“Pay attention to your body position and how you’re hanging on”, he said.
At the time I couldn’t recall how I was doing anything differently, but with those words I ventured out with my ‘Receptive Hat’ on to see what I could find.
Lo and behold, I discovered that I wasn’t getting into the correct body position for left handers, meaning that I wasn’t supporting myself correctly with my lower body, meaning I was riding stiff on the bars making it both very difficult to turn, and very uncomfortable mid corner.
A massive eye opener for me. And while I didn’t immediately become as good in left handers, it was an important first step to finding some sort of parity between rights and lefts.
That’s why it’s important to get to the bottom of why you aren’t as confident going one way.
Simply going around and around in an attempt to beat your weaker side into submission won’t necessarily help if something is fundamentally wrong that you aren’t aware of.
And if you are finding one direction easier than the other then you more than likely are doing something wrong if your issue isn’t a mental one.
You’ve got to really concentrate on what you’re doing and what you’re feeling if you ever hope to rectify the issue.
Had I not had that impromptu chat with my friend, it probably would have taken me a lot longer to realise I was riding stiffer going left.
But just being open and receptive to such things gave me the answer.
Like I said, it may take you a while before you feel as comfortable going one way as you do the other, so if you feel a slight difference then don’t be too hard on yourself.
However, if you feel there’s a sizeable disparity between rights and lefts then you’ve got an issue that needs to be looked at.
Next time out, take some time to really focus on what you’re doing differently between lefts and rights.
Focus on things like vision, lower body position and lock on, whether your upper body is crossing up going one way, and how stiff you are on the bars.
Once you have the cause, with practice you’ll be slamming the bike on your knee with as much vigor going one way as you do the other.
Photo by Brian Snelson
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