Keep your eyes up! I'm sure you've heard this a thousand times by now if you have any experience on the track. Whether from a coach or another track day goer, we are constantly being told to keep our eyes up.
When on the track you should be scanning your eyes. Looking out ahead of you and scanning your eyes back, drawing the race-line you want to take. All the while, looking for your markers we talked about in our post about reference points.
Looking Ahead Slows Everything Down
Have you ever looked directly at the ground in front of you when you're riding a bicycle or driving on the highway? Even if you do this at 15 MPH, it seems like you're moving at the speed of light.
Keeping your eyes up and looking ahead allows you to process things much easier. Everything will come at you slower, which gives you time to plan ahead and stay relaxed.
Keeping Your Eyes Up Makes You Adjustable
If you know your reference points, then you should already have a grasp on being adjustable on the track. This is especially helpful while racing. By keeping your eyes up during a race, you should be looking past the racer in front of you.
By doing this, you're allowing yourself to be adjustable. Whether you're making a pass or if that racer crashes and you need to get out of the way, you should always be looking where you want to go to be adjustable.
This same concept should be applied to your every day driving. If a car pulls out in front of you or there's gravel in your lane up in the canyons. You need to be able to plan ahead.
Avoid Target Fixation
Target fixation is an evil thing. Many times if a driver runs off course or crashes, this is due to target fixation. They didn't keep their eyes moving and looking where they wanted to go. Instead, they focused on a mistake or another part of the track, and guess what? That's where they ended up. Keep your eyes up and moving to avoid these mistakes.
Over Slowing For A Corner
If you find yourself entering a corner too slow, odds are that you aren't looking far enough ahead. One of the most important places to keep your eyes up is at corner entry. You need to look for your braking marker, look for your apex, then look for your exit point. All of this needs to be smooth. Keep your eyes up and moving through the corner. The further ahead you can look through the corner on entry, the more speed you can carry through the corner.
How To Start Scanning Your Eyes
Though this all might seem easy and fundamental, it isn't. Being able to scan your eyes accurately on the race track is a skill and takes practice. One of the easiest ways to practice this is in everyday life. If you're walking down the sidewalk, start practicing by looking ahead and using your peripherals to notice the cracks on the ground. Each time you come to a crack, count it in your head. Try your hardest not to have a death stare or catch yourself focusing on one single object. Scan ahead and scan back, scan ahead and back. Do this over and over and at different distances. Sooner or later, this practice will become muscle memory and you'll be able to apply this technique on the race track.