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Home Field Advantage

People often talk about the home field advantage in sports. This home field advantage revolves around the familiarity players have with the location of their particular sporting event. Professional baseball, basketball, football and soccer teams play half their games in their own stadium, arena or field. Because they know the playing surface better than the others places where they play less frequently, the players understand its uniqueness and its quirks.

Professional racers have a favorite track near their homes that provides more opportunities for racing while allowing them to enjoy more time at home during the racing season. Golfers at the professional level spend more time playing at a nearby course that gives them an advantage for a tournament held there.

"The home field advantage can work for us or against us depending on how we use it."

In addition to the familiarity of a local environment, the home field advantage can also bestow more tangible benefits to the local players. In baseball, the home team bats last in each inning. In hockey, during timeouts the home team makes their substitutions after the visiting team has changed its lineup. The home field advantage in the National Football League has been documented to give the home team 2-3 more points than their opponents.

Is there a home field advantage associated with motorcycling as well? Yes, there is, if we make use of it. The area around our homes, the roads we ride on most often, has become a very familiar environment for us. We should know which intersections in our local area are the busiest and have the most traffic crashes; road crossings that are the most dangerous for us. Our frequent travels should allow us to identify the curves that represent more probable hazards than most bends in the road. We should appreciate the uniqueness and quirks of potential bad spots along these roadways that we traverse on a regular basis.

On the other side of the coin, could the home field advantage work against us when we are visiting less familiar areas just like it does for other athletes? Again the answer is yes, if we allow it. We need to take a page from our sports colleagues play books and adjust our riding style in these strange surroundings as quickly as we can. Playing a little more conservatively while we acclimate ourselves to these new streets and highways can increase the comfort and fun of our ride.

We can also use the experience of our home field advantage to more readily identify and adapt to the peculiarities of the strange setting in which we are now plying our skills. Many problem areas look very similar regardless of where they are located. Just as the professional fisherman uses what he knows about the waters near his home to increase his catch in distant tournaments, we must learn all we can about our local riding neighborhood and then use that knowledge wherever we ride. In this way the home field advantage can help us enjoy our ride in spite of the conditions we are facing whether on our own playing field or visiting someone else’ territory. The home field advantage is ours to use.

Ride Smart! Ride Safe!