How to practice for your race
As with anything, the best way to learn something is to practice. Get time on the sticks and fly as many packs as you can. Simulators are great, but they are limited in how things work in the real world and can give you a false sense of confidence. So fly you must! But, flying over treas and around goal posts are all well and good, but does it really help for your racing wants / needs? If you are flying with purpose and setting goals it can. This blog is designed to help you set those goals and sharpen your skills.
A quote that was given to me to think about was this via Manny Acera
"Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect." - Vince Lombardi
Above all, you must be comfortable with your flying skills. Taking that time to flip around trees, and fly around goal posts can go a long way toward making you feel more confident and in control before you try hitting small gates or getting close to flags. So, even though it might not help in the long run with finite controls in racing, it can help develop your basic flying understanding and comfort which will, make you a better pilot.
The different sanctioning bodies like, IDRA, MultiGP, and others tend to release their track layouts long before the races ever take place. Have you watched any of them to see if there are similar techniques that span the different tracks? If so, then those are the techniques you had better learn and practice. Simply setting up an analogue (make-shift) of the real thing can be very effective in training. You don't need full flags or gates, anything that you can see and that you can vary the height of can work to serve as a gate. A flag can be a tree, post, or just a pool noodle on a vertical stick. Whatever you can see through your FPV clearly should be good enough to train. But HOW you set those things up will be according to the track layout challenges. Here's an example.
This was taken from a MutliGP site of a race has already taken place. If you notice I've put some letters to define some maneuvers that seem to repeat over and over in the track. Simply put, there are basically two moves for this track. (A) going through a gate, and (B) flying around a flag. There are a couple of different ways in which this is done, but the concept is pretty straight forward. This means your practice would be relatively easy in setting up.
One or two gates that are offset to force you to turn plus a couple of poles for you to fly like a slalom would be about all you would need. In many cases, this is actually sufficient overall. The ability to fly through an elevated gate could be as simple as flying very close to the top of one of your gates, or setting up another horizontal obstacle to force you to fly through an elevated gate.
Taking a little time, money, and effort to make simple PVC gates is encouraged. Again, thick enough to see (I'd recommend 1" or bigger PVC and pool noodles for easier visual acquirement in your FPV) and cheap enough to repair if needed. But you don't need to spend hundreds on flags and gates.
Okay, so this is what you're here for. These are some videos taken from different pilots practicing for races. Take note of how things are set up and any details you can pick up visually on how to set up your own training area.
@ArkNabbit was kind enough to give me a few thoughts the drills he runs his competitive pilots in San Diego through. Below is a combination of some of his favorite drills and a couple of mine!
"You can fly as many packs as you want but if you are practicing bad habits, you'll stagnate and never get better." - Ark
So, if you're wondering what some of these moves are that can be set up, here are some simple illustrations to break it down.