Recently I was more or less forced into the position of being a lapping day instructor. I understand this is often how it happens.
Organizer: We need more instructors. Grab a newbie and go.
Me: Dude, I am so not qualified to be an instructor.
Organizer: Man, I’ve been following you in that Jag. You’re fast as hell, you’ll do fine.
Me: Ummmm….ok, but I’m not promising anything.
Ok, so I don’t know when knowing your way around your home track and the ability to string together a few hot laps became the benchmark for becoming an instructor, but in this particular case, they had more absolute newbies than they had anticipated so a warm body who was able to keep it on the island was going to be enough.
This of course leads me to the question of whether I want to continue to pursue the sideline of being an instructor. I still love being instructed, soaking up knowledge from other, more experienced drivers. Noting the differences in instruction style between different pros fascinates me. Just this week, I spent a day lapping with instructors and was reminded at how much I appreciate the experienced teacher who can give me a few tips to improve my lines, while I despise the “steering wheel grabber”.
Not long ago, I learned that long time Canadian racer Ross Bentley has put his years of racing and coaching experience into a Manifesto for HPDE instructors, both old and new. Best of all, Ross has shared this knowledge for free in the form of a 40 page e-book that covers everything from why people become an instructor (my situation is not that odd) to coaching methods, psychology and what to do in the event that it all goes wrong on track.
I have only just started reading it, and already have found it to be an enlightening read. Everyone who has any experience instructing should read it, as should those who are just getting started. You can download your own copy here.