Since I've been sharing my personal experiences and principles I have developed when it comes to sport riding, I feel this is as good a time as any to side-step a bit and share the following.
As a learning rider, we are very fortunate to live in such times when information is literally at the tip of our fingers, made ready by seasoned and willing practitioners of the same interest(s) that we are trying to master. But much like everything that has two sides, the information age is a double-edged sword with a broader and sharper blade.
There are a lot of ways to teach and a lot of ways to learn that information is surely never lacking, but can commonly be misguided. As a practitioner of sport riding, it's not enough to just soak in information – you have to also screen them out as best as you can to weed out what is unnecessary or misinforming. In some ways, to better learn you have to be an even better teacher to yourself than those teaching you. What works for one may not work for another, and what's been working this entire time may not be a testament to skill, but perhaps to luck.
This is basically where I am trying to get at: You can't just be an open mouth ready to be fed. Keep your eyes and ears open, and learn on your own as much as you are willing to be taught. A lot of people have devoted a lot of their time thinking about this sport, and a lot of people have devoted their time living this sport. There are those that do both, thinking about what they are doing, critically analyzing every moment they are on top of their bikes either in the mountain roads or the race track. All can be generous wells of knowledge, and all equally able to disseminate ill-advices. Perhaps it's in the message itself, or their inability to convey it properly, leaving you with more questions than answers by the time the lessons stop.
By any means, I'm not saying that you should let things go in one ear and out the other, but instead be very discriminate of what you want to adopt, and what you can do without.
YOU should have YOUR best interests at heart more than anybody else, and therefore as a learner, YOU must be your foremost teacher. Because at the end of the day, even if you meet the most sound and intelligent teachers of this sport, you can't bring them home with you, or have them with you in every ride that you do for the rest of your life. It always comes down to you. The duty to constantly learn and to constantly be taught will always fall on you.
So hopefully this was helpful to some, but if you didn't think so, then that's just as well. Because then you're becoming that which I hope you would be when learning – discerning.
And discerning students makes for the best teachers.