Motor School with Quinn Redeker: Brain Racing

Motor School Quinn Redeker Brain Racing
Does your left hand know what your right hand is doing? In this Motor School, we discuss how to hop up your internal processor with neuro training exercises. This one is the Tennis Ball Drill.

Over the years, I’ve done plenty of things to stay ahead of the next guy during motorcycle competitions. Mondays and Wednesdays were my heavy days when I’d do four to five credit-card lifts to purchase titanium bolts, special suspension coatings, and maybe a dash of custom motor work. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I’d bulk up with some online shopping for protein supplements, rehydration drinks, and energy bars. If some guy with a cool haircut made performance promises and all I had to do was eat it, drink it, or bolt it on, then I was all in. Money well spent, right?

You know how this story goes. Over time I learned the uncomfortable truth that no amount of “stuff” was going to get me to the finish line ahead of the next guy unless it was matched with equal parts time and effort. Bottom line: No matter how trick your high-speed, sweat-wicking racer briefs are, they simply won’t do any of the work for you. Not even the ones with Grip Strips to stop them from riding up.

Alas, the inconvenient truth: If we want to see performance gains, we can’t cheat when it comes to climbing the mountain. In my case, the mountain was a combination of seat time on the bike, fitness training off the bike, and an academic journey to learn new and better ways to do things I’d already spent years doing. The climb was rarely joyous, but the view got better as the oxygen diminished, and I grew to appreciate all the hard-fought little battles that helped me improve as a result.

But I’m not here to give you the “hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard” spiel because you probably know all that. Nope, today I’m bringing you some next-gen stuff that yields gifts that money just can’t buy. I call it Brain Racing, and it means improving your reaction time, hand-eye coordination, peripheral vision, and more. Known in pro sports circles as neuro training, it’s about stimulating your brain’s neural networks through games and drills to improve your performance and safety on the bike.

Motor School Quinn Redeker Brain Racing
Watch your perception-reaction time get faster after just a few rounds of the Ball Drop Drill. Jaco’s not available? Grab a friend.

But before we strap in, this is the part of the story where you can take the blue pill and stop reading, or you can take the red pill and take the ride with me. What’s it going to be, Neo? Do you want to see how deep the rabbit hole goes?

Since you’re still with me, you first need to understand that our reaction times are based on a few key factors: 

Perception: When we perceive something, we know, with high confidence, what we are seeing, hearing, and/or feeling. Perception can be negatively impacted by fatigue, lack of sleep, age, drugs, alcohol, and poor eyesight and/or hearing.

Processing: We need to process whatever we just saw, heard, or felt to know what to do with it. This means we must understand the information clearly. If we are not clear in our assessment of the stimuli, processing will be delayed and reaction times will suffer. More complex information takes longer to process.

Response: Once we perceive and process the information, we need good motor function to respond. This is where fitness and coordination work for us, and lack of physical conditioning or underlying motor problems work against us.

Make sense? Ready to order a 3-pack of Super Reflexes? Nice try, but you can’t call the 800 number on your screen or just wait for the Amazon delivery. No, we can’t just flip a switch, drink the magic elixir, and expect to see results. We need to invest some sweat equity in the form of coordination and reaction drills. So yes, I’m giving you work to do, but allow me to tidy up my hair and make you some outlandish promises: These drills will improve your coordination, processing, and reaction time. Remember, we don’t just want to grow older, we want to grow better. 

Motor School Quinn Redeker Brain Racing
The Crazy Cat Drill is staple in pro sports and promises quicker perception, processing, and response in high-intensity situations.

Tennis Ball Drill: Grab a tennis ball, stand 6 feet from a wall or garage door, and start by throwing underhand and catching overhand using the same hand. Simple. After a few minutes, do the same thing but catch in the opposite hand. Next, wick it up by closing your distance to 3 feet from the wall and using two balls, alternating between hands for both throw and catch. Watch your coordination blast off.

Ball Drop Drill: This exercise requires your riding buddy Jaco, but all we need are those two tennis balls you just threw over the fence. With Jaco holding a ball in each hand and his arms outstretched at chest height, you stand opposite, as if a mirrored reflection, and mimic his hand position and posture so that both your hands are touching each other’s at the knuckles. At some point, Jaco will drop one or both balls without warning, requiring you to snatch them from thin air as they fall. The lower you go, the harder it gets.

Crazy Cat Drill: Stand facing a wall from one foot away and hand Jaco a laser pointer. When he says “go,” Jaco will shoot little laser spots on the wall, and you must touch them as quickly as possible. The laser only hits for a millisecond, so you need to pay attention, tap where it hits, and get set for the next one. Once you get the hang of it, Jaco can ramp it up with more spots spaced farther apart.

From the comfort of your Lazy Boy, these might seem a bit silly. I get it, you became an adult and put away childish things. But these drills work. It’s no coincidence that pro athletes who live and die based on their ability to see, react, and respond in high-intensity situations practice these very drills. I’ll make you a bet: If you do these drills every day for one week and don’t have better focus, dexterity, and reaction time on the bike when Day 8 rolls around, I’ll buy you some racing stickers for your motorcycle. Placed correctly, those alone should be good for five to seven extra horsepower.

Quinn wears Lee Parks Design gloves exclusively. Find Quinn at Police Motor Training.

See all Motor School with Quinn Redeker articles here.

The post Motor School with Quinn Redeker: Brain Racing appeared first on Rider Magazine.


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