You hear lots of people wanting to do off-track drills and practice figure of 8s. You get 2 cones, place them a certain distance apart and start doing figure of 8s. Sweet!
Doing figure of 8s without understanding what you are doing must be better than not doing anything, right?
Maybe and maybe not
Sure it is “bike time”, you bet it is some exercise, however to steal a phrase from one of our previous coaches – Muscle Memory doesn’t differentiate between good and bad body position. Your body is learning what to do regardless of if you have a (good) plan.
You are training your body how to move and react – so if you don’t do it right, it is harder to break that habit later on, and can cause issues with your riding if not corrected.
Figure of 8s are about transitions, throttle control, body position, and repetition / consistency.
So whats “good” versus “not good” look like?
Here are a few examples
Smooth throttle control vs chopping throttle / whisky throttle
Body leading the bike in transitions vs body staying in line with bike
Having your head low on the bike to avoid excessive head travel vs head bobbing up and down
Getting to full lean angle quickly vs changing body position throughout turn