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  #1  
Old 10-07-2011, 08:59 AM
leiniesred leiniesred is offline
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Default I'd like to lead, but I'm a terrible spotter. Let's share spotting tips.

Guess what? I'm not a good spotter either. I spotted someone once and we rolled it...bad. I have learned some stuff since then. I swear.

Let's share some tips on spotting:

First of all, as the trail leader, you do NOT have to be the defacto spotter.
Make it clear that you will happily spot only if the driver asks for it. Some people don't need a spotter or they would prefer to have someone they already know and trust do the spotting.

Here's a tip:

SMILE! Ben from Slee taught me this trick when he came across me on the verge of rolling my 4runner off a cliff. With great patience and skill got me back up on the road with zero drama. SMILE. As long as you are smiling, the driver gets the idea that everything is going well. It is a huge confidence builder for a driver facing jangling nerves.

What are some other spotter tips that can help you be a great trail leader?
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Old 10-07-2011, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by leiniesred View Post
SMILE. As long as you are smiling, the driver gets the idea that everything is going well.
And even if it's not, the last thing he sees before he goes over the 1,000 foot cliff is a smile

Just kidding, that is good advice. Being calm and confident helps the driver relax.

There are also lots of folks who don't have a ride or would agree to ride along with you and be the the spotter. That way you can focus on driving, giving radio guidance and keeping the group moving. Having a 2 person team really reduces the burgen. The other person can also help with mechanical issues or be first aid trained, etc.
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Old 10-07-2011, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by leiniesred View Post
Guess what? I'm not a good spotter either.
You can spot me anytime.

Patience, great attitude and positive reinforcement works everytime. I have seen many a driver drive better at the end of the day than at the begining simply because the spotter instills confidence in them.

Have fun!
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Old 10-07-2011, 10:26 AM
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Greg has a good trick he uses. He points his fingers at his eyes and then at the driver to make sure they are looking at him. To spot through a tricky spot, the person should be watching you 100%

Make clear hand movements. Keep moving your hand (left or right) in motion till you want the person to stop turning. I had asome one spot me who pointed left, then put his hand down and I stopped and he got mad. What I am talking about is the way Robbie taught many of us.

In some situations, it's a good thing to walk up to the driver and let him know what to expect before you start. It's always a good idea to talk about whats about to happen as your spotting "your left wheel is going to drop"

I like the smiling item. Need to keep the driver at ease.

Many times others will jump in and give advice. Need one spotter and need to ask the others to kindly be quiet

If you are unfamiliar with the vehicle, sometimes it makes better sense to turn it over to someone who is. A 40 and an 80 will be spotted differently in some spots.
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Old 10-07-2011, 10:37 AM
leiniesred leiniesred is offline
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Default left = your left or my left?

Tip: say "driver" and "passenger" instead of "left" and "right."

Don't tell the driver "turn left." because the driver will turn to HIS or HER left instead of your left!


"Steer DRIVER" and "Steer passenger" helps a lot...Until you get a right hand drive diesel out of Canada! Then EVERYONE is confused, eh?
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Old 10-07-2011, 11:27 AM
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Here is a video of some great spotting by Dan "Convert". It comes at about 3 minutes into the video.

He is an excellent spotter, imo.

What I like is Dan's hand signals are direct and easy to follow.

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Old 10-07-2011, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris Sandstorm 4rnr View Post
Here is a video of some great spotting by Dan "Convert". It comes at about 3 minutes into the video.

He is an excellent spotter, imo.

What I like is Dan's hand signals are direct and easy to follow.
I agree!! must have learned from Jack..

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Old 10-07-2011, 11:49 AM
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I agree!! must have learned from Jack..

Great minds think alike, I was thinking the same thing....

I bet Tree Root is in the same boat..

He is also like Dan, probably wouldn't tell he knew what he was doing but a person could learn a lot from watching him..
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Old 10-07-2011, 12:31 PM
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Spotting often becomes a problem when the person doing the spotting is trying to operate the spotted vehicle by some voodoo type of hand control. Spotting is just that, being the eyes for the driver as they have lost track (sight) of the obstacle. Communications needs to happen first especially on dangerous or very technical obstacles. Not only does the driver need to understand the spotter but the spotter needs to know AND RESPECT what the driver needs! This is a HUGE pet peeve of mine as a driver! I can see lines and I pick where I will drive. I will select my spotter out of earned respect. If I get into trouble and have to realign to a different line then I do rely on my trusted spotter to help me understand what needs to be done rather than steer my vehicle with his signals. If the driver is clueless or inexperienced you can see it in their eyes and body language and then you might have to guild them play by play but that situation again is often caused by body language of the spotter causing the driver to loose confidence in there own abilities. Frustration is a another HUGE factor! If the driver is nervous or frustrated they almost always start looking for their right foot to end the problem. As a spotter (especially on a guided run) you must de escalate the frustration! Again, communication needs to happen. Put both hands up open face and firmly say STOP! Talk to the driver, listen and/or explain and then proceed. As mentioned body language of the spotter as seen by the driver is uber important but so the spotters ability to be in tune with what the drivers body language is telling!!!! Multiple spotters are always a tension maker! If you are watching and can clearly see what needs to happen that the active spotter does not see, communicate with the spotter and DO NOT TRY TO UNDERMINE the communication link between the active spotter and the driver!!!! That last point is very hard to do when progress is halted and everyone becomes an expert.
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Old 10-07-2011, 02:32 PM
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Spotter tips:

1. Ask "Do you want a spot?" Sometimes the answer is no because the driver has a good skill level and wants to find their own line. Sometimes the answer is no because they have their own spotter.

2. Stand where the driver can see you. Let other people take photos.

3. Don't be afraid to halt the driver and make him back up a few feet to get a better line.

4. Handheld CB can be your friend.

5. When a driver gets through an obstacle cleanly, make sure to tell them they did a good job. But don't lie. If they didn't follow direction or didn't understand your hand signals, make sure to let them know what those signals mean.

6. Take control like a boss. Be authoritative.

7. Be completely silent if someone else is spotting...

8. ...unless they are about to drive someone into a rollover situation. If this is the case, halt the driver and take over (if you know what you are doing).

9. Remember there are some obstacles that can be driven through without significant pucker, but if you STOP in the middle you can get extremely tippy or worse. This is a good time to walk up to the vehicle and explain this concept to the driver. "You need to drive through this obstacle."
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