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Instructor Requirements


MYRX

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What are the requirements to become an instructor? Is only the Instructor Clinic required, or is there additional requirements. I noted that the Instructor Clinic will be offered in March at Rd. Atl. Are there other early year options as well? Thanks.

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What are the requirements to become an instructor?

 

A certain level of insanity to sit in the right seat of a car you can only control at speed with audible communication.... A good stress test is to sit in the right seat of any of the fast C5 Mafia guys (sorry ParkWSO, this rules you out... ).

 

Seriously, I would say a certain amount of track experience. You are at least at HPDE4 level. Email Julie Pantas to inquire more before you sign up for the Instructor Clinic. After passing the clinic, you'll need to submit your paperwork to National for review. Good luck.

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A certain level of insanity to sit in the right seat of a car you can only control at speed with audible communication.... A good stress test is to sit in the right seat of any of the fast C5 Mafia guys

Jake wanted out of my car after our first HPDE1 session.

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Thanks, I will Email Julie. I have instructed some in the SCCA, also run TTS in NASA SE. I think I met you Z06 Cool at Rd. Atl this past weekend.

 

I am going to become much more active in 2012 and need to work some to play more. "Give back" so to speak. I just really never explored what was required to become an instructor.

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In MA the level 2 clinic it purely optional. Basically you sign up for level 1, pass and you're good to go. You have to email your regional folks and get "OK'd" to attend. Basically if you're running in TT you'll be ok to go to the instructor's clinic.

 

Once you do that you get to earn your keep I did the clinic at VIR in February this year. I've really enjoyed instructing and get a kick out of helping people get better at this stuff and have a good time.

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When I took my Instructor Clinic this past February the requirements were a DE3 driver and level I then you're good to go. It was recommended that you have a few weekends instructing before taking level II, but not required to instruct.

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What are the requirements to become an instructor?

 

A certain level of insanity to sit in the right seat of a car you can only control at speed with audible communication.... .

very true. You never know what kind of assignment you will get, could be a fully prepped C6 Z06...or a 71 240Z...But once you get used to it, and learn to communicate well, you realize how much control you can have just using your voice. It is a lot of fun, when your student has the lightbulb on moment, it is rewarding. I enjoy it a lot more than I thought I would, but it is not for everyone. There have been quite a few that take the clinic, instruct a weekend or two, and realize it ain't for them.

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The light bulb moment mentioned above is a great feeling. Another great perk of instructing is how much YOU learn from the right seat. You will see mistakes coming 10sec before the student realizes he's screwed up. I never had a student that I didn't learn something from. Laps in the right seat give your brain/butt connection time to process inputs without being tied up trying to drive. It's seat time without burning up your own car/tires/brakes.

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drivinhardz06
Another great perk of instructing is how much YOU learn from the right seat. It's seat time without burning up your own car/tires/brakes.

 

you're frame of reference is based on your memory, so you're exactly right, your brain is snapping images the whole time you are riding

 

the biggest advantage of instructing is getting a better look at the track, bumps, little seams, sand or debris in this area, more banking here than you think, etc. not as good as walking, but the pace is slower so you get to really peek at the track surface much better

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yep, from the right seat you really learn a lot. Or from the left seat..I did a check ride in March and had the car was right hand drive...now that was weird.

 

I think I missed instructing over the summer and fall as much as I missed driving...

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yep, from the right seat you really learn a lot. Or from the left seat

Students are so far off the hammer line/curb that on right handers you're actually riding the line you drive.

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I will say that if your only motivation to instruct is free seat time to not do it, it's not worth it for that alone. You've gotta love doing it to a.) be good at it (there are other things though ) and b.) make it worth the blood, sweat, and tears.

 

If you want a free ride there are other paths to consider (volunteering, directing a series, etc) but those also require passion for the job along these same lines as well.

 

- KB, did the instructor thing and liked it but quickly found that while he was a good coach, he was not a good instructor. Found another way to help out instead and is loving it

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Wow, check ride in a RHD car....now THAT'd be the perfect vantage point for the observations Mark was talking about!

it really was, you gain a whole new perspective sitting on the left and not having a wheel in your hands! we hit 180 on the back straight...then I realized the speedo was in KmH

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Not sure where I found this years ago but it definitely still applies:

So you want to be an Instructor...

 

When you are a Driving Instructor you realize that it is a combination of many jobs: shrink, drill sargeant, and cheerleader. If you are a good instructor you quickly realize that the act of instructing will teach you more than the student. Here's a list of things that every seasoned instructor knows:

 

Death by starvation is more likely than crashing.

Anyone who thinks that they are instructing for the free track time or for money are sadly disappointed by the amount of time and effort you expend for the payback. The real payback is seeing the student's lightbulb go off when they finally “get it” and are ready to checkride into the next level.

 

You can learn a lot from the passenger seat.

As the years go by when you instruct you will see cars and drivers do things that you never thought were possible! You might try a few yourself and realize that although that line isn't necessarily considered “safe” it is definitely faster! As an instructor you'll find details of the track you never knew were there simply because as your student becomes better you'll have more time to study the track itself.

 

Kid gloves can come in handy.

When instructing some people, especially wildly successful professionals who may not be doing well in this new endeavor, the instructor has to walk a fine line. We can't just blurt out that the car doesn't care that they are wealthy and/or a huge success in their chosen field. Those students sometimes have a difficult time adjusting to the fact that their success doesn't translate to make them a better driver. Tact becomes a critical part of the Instructor's toolbag.

 

Irrational fear is harder to overcome than his or her lack of skill.

We see it often, a person wants to drive fast but their apprehensions get in the way. They brake early, lift on the straights, shift mid-corner. This is when the instructor becomes a cheerleader/shrink and has to motivate them to push thru their fears.

 

Every student needs a custom approach.

You cannot use the same cookie cutter routine for every student, some will get it faster, some will seem like they get it until they spin and then lose all sense of driving. The first thing any instructor has to do is determine what approach to use and start the process of learning.

 

Recognize the car vs. the student

You'll feel the car do some insane moves and it is your job as the instructor to determine if it is the car or the student. If it is the car you might also want to bring it down pit lane to make sure it is normal for the car or if something is falling off of it!

 

Every session should involve a pre-session pee.

You surely don't want to ruin the nice leather interior of that student's Lambo – and definitely will not want to cut short the talk after the session to explain details. Add the fact that it is HOT out and you need to be drinking lots of water and you can see the recipe for disaster.

 

Don't BS a student.

Students may not know much about apexes, track-outs, etc but they can usually spot BS when they hear it. Also, they are not interested in all of the Time Trials awards you have won or that you were in the 1984 ALMS race, they want you to help them drive better, faster, and smoother.

 

Deodorant is a staple.

Especially in the South! You will get in a car without air conditioning and ride with the windows down while the engine is being pushed beyond it's normal operating range. If you are lucky enough to get a student who bought a used race car that has been stripped then add 1000* to those temps.

 

As an instructor you'll find every weekend has comedy, frustration, irritation and elation all wrapped in every student. But the best part are the emails years from now when they say “Thanks! Remember when you told me to...”.

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My hardest hits have been in the instructor seat. Be prepared. The joy of instructing a talented student (not ZO6cool - mr bolt on performance) is great. The challenge of struggling student has its rewards (again ZO6cool comes to mind). One day they will be on track with you...

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Thanks you all, for the sound advice and for taking the time to comment. This is something I have thought about doing for over a year now. I intend to sign up for the Instructor Clinic offered at Rd. Atl in March, (unless an earlier clinic will be offered in Feb at CMP). I do look forward to helping others become better skilled. I realize this activity will be demanding, often challenging, but at the end of the day, I think very rewarding.

 

What do I need to do in preparation for the clinic? Are there any special materials that I need?

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Got by just fine with the much much cheaper NADY - 5% worse but ~25% the cost vs Chatterbox. Did use a Chatterbox as a student, didn't notice much difference besides the instructor always going "be really careful with my ($$$$) headset!" If they've beefed up and made the Chatterbox headsets more robust in recent years, then it might make sense to go with the nicer stuff if it will last vs getting a new NADY setup every couple years when they crap out.

 

Maybe that's the plus of having a semi-quiet and not super super fast car and instructing in similar. I guess if you drive one of those ground-pounder V8s and get to instruct them you may need a badass communicator (and there are nicer/better than Chatterbox btw) just to be able to talk back & forth.

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A set of Chatterbox communicators. Worth their weight in gold.

 

This! Ron at Discovery can hook you up.

 

I've been known to show up with a broke car or no car and stay the weekend just to instruct.

I love it!

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