Things that suck #5: HPDE coaching

OK, so I’m probably going to get into trouble with this one, but YSAR is nothing if not irreverent.

Most coaches aren’t paid shit

Do you know how much coaches get paid? Sometimes minimum wage, sometimes nothing. Given transportation, room, and board, a weekend of coaching doesn’t balance the books. Which is why many of the coaches are old, retired, white guys with enough time and money that they don’t care they are being taken advantage of. That said, if you wanted an actual racing coach to work with you, you’d have to pay them actual money. When drivers have a choice of spending $1000 on upgrading their car vs spending $1000 on coaching, 99% of them choose the car. It’s no wonder that the most popular car events take place in parking lots. No, I’m not talking about autocross, but car meets.

Most coaches don’t care enough

Why do coaches put themselves in dangerous situations for no money? It’s not because they are angels. It’s because they get to drive free or with a discount. Coaches who spend part of their day on track aren’t fully committed to coaching. They’re thinking about their car, their interests, and their time. Want to know how much they care about you? If they are parking in the shade and you are not, you have your answer.

Most coaches have limited teaching credentials

Most coaches have very little training in how to teach. Teaching skills are earned just like other skills: study, practice, and time. Just because a coach has been driving on track for 10 years doesn’t mean he’s a good teacher. Doing some MSF level 1 and 2 training isn’t very difficult and yet most coaches haven’t even done that. How important is it for a coach to have training? Maybe not much. Many HPDE participants have so little high performance driving experience that they don’t need much more than someone to tell them “in slow, out fast”, “imagine a string connected to the throttle and steering wheel”, and “look through the corner”.

Most coaches have no racing credentials

Would you go to a basketball camp and be coached by some dude whose resume is “I play basketball a few times per year but I’ve never played an actual game”? No. And yet that’s the experience a lot of HPDE coaches have. Most coaches picked up driving rather late in life and have never raced wheel-to-wheel in competition. Do you need a racing driver as your coach? Probably not. If your introduction to basketball is shooting free-throws, you probably don’t need Michael Jordan coaching you. That said, if you had the choice of MJ or me, you would choose MJ.

Guilty as charged

Who me? Yep. I don’t get paid shit. I sometimes drive my car on coaching days. I’ve done a little amateur racing but I’m more of a sim racer than an actual racer. I’ve never even done MSF Level 2 training. And yet when it comes to coaching, I think I’m one of the better ones. Why? I never park in the shade.

Oh yeah, the next video

6 thoughts on “Things that suck #5: HPDE coaching

  1. Most instructors (at least down here) get free sessions at least. So call it $350 for the weekend which, while nothing compared to a private student, beats what the very necessary and under-appreciated corner marshals generally get.


  2. This is correct. With many orgs if you were to get the “Instructors” an actual track license evaluation 80% would fail. They are simply there for the clout and the free track time. There are very few real drivers out there that that have the ability to become a good instructor or coach.


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