Cornhole for Drivers


I regularly do a gift certificate raffle for my novice driving students as an incentive to come to class after their track sessions later in the day. At one of our recent track weekends I gave the group the option of the regular raffle drawing which would guarantee that one of the 23 of them would get a discount on a future event or taking a cornhole toss. Everyone that sank a toss would get a discount coupon.


The context was thinking about relying on process to provide a higher probability of achieving a desirable outcome rather than focusing on the outcome/result itself.


When we began the day I said that we were going to learn how to be better faster drivers by looking at how to be better cornhole players. I don't think that cornhole is related to driving in any direct way but just like any other sport it takes practice and focus to do well. On a practical level for me, tossing bean bags would get my class involved in a way that they wouldn't expect and make a strong impression on them about trusting in process. I was fortunate to find a fun blog post by Morgan Fielder who describes herself as an "Evangelist for sustainable investing. Mom to two gorgeous girls. Wife of a Rebel. Doctor of Physio. Former sailor. Founder of cravetheplanet.com." on how to be better at cornhole that I could use.


As Morgan wrote in her post on Medium, 7 Steps To Throw Better Bags in Cornhole, Backed By Science, "In a game of accuracy and precision like cornhole your entire ecosystem is challenged. Strength, endurance, neuro-muscular fatigue, motor control, confidence, and mental focus are all required to work together." I think it's fair to say that striving to do just about any sport better is going to challenge your entire ecosystem. Within this her seven steps to throw better bags in cornhole are parts of the process that the player or driver can control to increase their chances of favorable outcomes. Specifically Morgan listed the seven steps as:


1. Stop Standing All the Time

2. Stop Holding your Breath!

3. Stop Being Inconsistent Biomechanically

4. Stop Avoiding Rituals

5. Stop Thinking

6. Stop Throwing at your Opponents Pace

7. Stop Drinking too Much


All of these are applicable to a track day or racing event experience. Rather than standing, one should try to conserve energy by sitting and finding shade if they don't have a trailer. If a driver is holding their breath like when braking from high speed then they will be tensing up making it much harder to be consistent with their inputs. If a driver is inconsistent biomechanically with their steering or pedal inputs then their lap times will be inconsistent too. To stop avoiding rituals means to adopt a regular repeatable way of preparing to drive. To stop thinking means to let things go rather than get hung up on looking at lap times while in the car driving. To stop throwing at an opponents pace translates as not trying to worry about anyone's pace except your own when driving. And, when Morgan advises to stop drinking too much it means drinking beer while playing. Drinking alcohol during a track event or race is out of the question, but the advice is valid for the night before or the night after an event.


All in all, there is a lot of process here to follow. To these steps Morgan adds that deliberate practice is necessary. Working on how a driver comes off the brakes for example as opposed to trying to set a better lap time during a practice session. She also adds that building a positive mindset through recalling times when one has experienced success along with following the process in her seven steps is a key to being more likely to find the favorable outcome one would like.


Of course following the process and having a positive mindset doesn't mean that a driver is going to win or keep improving their lap times. Why? Well there are many things that a driver can't control. At the top of the list would be the other drivers on track who could do things like spin off or drop oil on the track. These are things that a driver can prepare to deal with, but should not be concerned about to the point of being distracted - easier said than done.


Morgan offers one more step to being a better cornhole player and it too applies to driving. Her advice? Have fun, it's cornhole!