The Lowdown on Motocross Practice Drills

dirt bike drills


#1 Drills are awesome because they teach you the correct technique first and eliminate bad habits.

#2 Balance drills will teach you how to balance the bike and it’s controls.

#3 Full circle locks will also provide you with greater balance and control over your bike.

#4 Standing up drills are great for strengthening your back and legs and also helps with balance.

#5 Braking drill are super essential as they will teach you how important that front brake is to improving your racing times and keeping the bike under control.

#6 Clutch drills will help a rider to reduce their reliance on the clutch to cover up riding mistakes.

#7 Cornering drills are essential to teaching you how to handle the various types of corners at speed without falling off.

#8 Power sliding drills are handy to learn when you need to pull one out to get you out of trouble.

#9 Whoop drills will teach you how to hit those pesky whoops like a pro.

#10 Holeshot drills will teach you how to launch off the line at optimum speed.


Show me a professional motocross rider and I will show you a rider that runs a precise set of motocross practice drills daily!

They have also practiced them so regularly that they can do them blind-folded.

Whether you are riding motocross or enduro, drills are an essential part of being a pro circuit dirt bike rider.

 Motocross practice drills are the key to lifting your game to a professional level.

Check out any sport and you will find that drills are an essential part of training during the off season.

Whether it be football, swimming or ice hockey, they all practice drills on a daily basis.

 Daily motocross drilling is the secret sauce that will get you to an elite level.

But you don’t have to be an aspiring pro athlete to practice drills.

Drills are also great for the beginner and amateur rider!

 If you want to be more confident with your riding skills then drills are a great way to go.

If for example, you have low self-confidence with cornering a bike quickly, practicing cornering drills will train your brain to do it properly.

in a short while you will do it so well that you will be eating turns for breakfast. 

Getting the Basics Right First.

The foundation of drilling is to really understand your bikes limits and know each of the bikes’ controls intimately.

Once you fully understand the capabilities of each bike control then that’s when greatness will begin to happen.

For instance, do you know how to use your front brake properly?

Do you know how to use the clutch to its maximum efficiency?

Motocross practice drills will teach you the limits and characteristics of each dirt bike control so you will be able to use them to maximum advantage.

Drills are especially great for riders that want to improve their skills on a motocross track.

Motocross tracks contain very specific challenges that need a specific skill set. Especially if you want to learn how to get around a track really fast.

Drills will shave seconds off your time and will eliminate any bad riding habits that you have may picked up along the way.

In the end it’s up to you to come up with a set of drills that suits your type of riding.

Saying this though, it always helps to use existing drills that are out there and tailoring them to your needs.

In this blog I will be describing each one of my personal drills and will let you know why I think they are important.

 Before you start drilling, you need to get your technique right first. There is no point in starting drills if you are a beginner and don’t know the right techniques.

 Drilling without the right technique means that you will be reinforcing bad riding habits, which you really don’t want.

To get your riding techniques right first such as jumping, turning and braking, I highly recommend that you get yourself a coach or join a dirt bike training camp.

These training schools are run by pro dirt bike riders and you will learn how to ride the right way first.

 After you have learned the right techniques, then you can start your own drill schedule that you can put together with the help of the school or coach.

 My Set of Motocross Practice Drills>>

My drills are broken up into 4 main areas. Balance, braking, clutch and technical.

#1 Balance Drills.

Drill 1. Slow Riding Around a Motocross Track.

This drill involves riding around a motocross track as slowly as possible.

I mean, so slowly that the bike is trying to stall in 1st.

This drill sounds a bit strange but the idea here is to practice using the clutch, brakes and throttle smoothly at the same time without stalling or falling off.

This drill will teach you how to balance the bikes controls and how to balance yourself.  It’s a lot harder than it looks so give it a try.

 For more balance drill ideas, check out Daniel Sedlak’s super effective balance drills from Sedlak Riding School. 

Drill 2. Full Lock Circles.

This drill is when you ride your bike in circles with the steering at full lock.

Once again, sounds easy but it is a lot harder than it looks.

This drill will give you even greater balance and control over your bike.

Start with some flat ground for this drill and when you have nailed that, move onto bumpier terrain.

Drill 3. Figure 8.

Riding your bike in a figure 8 will also help you gain a greater sense of balance and control over your bike.

 You can vary this drill quite a bit by using no brakes, standing up, big 8s, little 8s, fast and slow.

 Check out this video from the Sedlak brothers from Sedlak Offroad School to demonstrate the figure 8.

Drill 4. Standing Up.

This drill involves staying standing the entire way around a track.

This is another drill that’s great for improving your balance.  It will also improve the strength in your legs and back.

#2 Braking Drills.

Drill 5. Front Brake.

Probably the most important drill of all is learning how to use your front brake properly!

In fact, proper use of the front brake can literally win races.

Anyone can slam on the rear brake to slow down, but the front brake works so much better!

Why? because it slows down the bike way faster without sliding (which is bad for racing).

When riding, you should be using the front brake 80% of the time to slow the bike down and only balancing the bike with the rear brake.

To drill the front brake, ride in a straight line in 1st or 2nd gear and stop the bike only with the front brake.

Repeat this process but gradually put more pressure on the front brake  on each drill until the back end of the bike wants to lift up.

You don’t have to speed up at all, just maintain the same speed on every drill and test that front brake to its very limits.

 This drill will teach you the very limits of your front brake and you will teach you exactly how to apply it with full confidence at high speeds.

Drill 6. Rear Brake.

To drill your rear brake, Ride around a motocross track using only your rear brake to stop.

 This drill will teach you how to use the rear brake without sliding the back wheel and will also give you a greater appreciation for the front brake

#3 Clutch Drills.

Drill 7. Clutch.

I find that riders rely on their clutch too heavily to get around a track and use it to cover for mistakes in their riding.

Leaning on your clutch too much will burn it out and so this drill involves riding around a track without any clutch at all (except to change gears).

 This drill will wean you off your reliance of the clutch and will teach you how to get through areas of the track using other techniques and controls other than the clutch.

#4  Technical Drills.

Drill 8. Cornering.

Turning is a super important drill to practice!

There are all sorts of corners on a motocross track and enduro trails. Each corner needs a different technique to get around properly.

 The trick is to drill one type of corner at a time. If you try to drill them all at once, you will be giving your brain way too much to learn too soon and you won’t end up remembering anything.

a. Berm Drills. Berms come in all shapes and sizes but the principles for negotiating them successfully are the same. Learning to hit berms at high speeds is essential for motocross racing but not so essential for trail riding.

b. Flat Turn Drills. These are super important for all types of dirt bike riding as flat turns are everywhere. Drilling flat turns are essential.

To learn more about turning the right way, have a read of my blog post that will show you how to corner quickly in all sorts of turns.

Also, here is a quick video of Matt Walker from the MotoX Compound, showing us how to take corners.

Drill 9. Power-sliding.

Power slides are really important if you are on a really tight line and have to hit a hairpin corner.

Power sliding around a corner will let you keep your tight line and if done properly, will be just as fast as taking a wider line.

 To drill power slides, I would place out a cone or a barrel and power slide around it and then accelerate out of it as fast as possible.

This is an easy drill to master and it’s really handy to have for the track and trail. Power sliding also looks great!

Drill 10. Launching off the Start Line.

Learning how to get a fast start off the line for me was really important because I found that a bad start put me further to the back of the field in a race.

And it made it harder to work through the traffic to get out front.

This drill isn’t super important to know if you are a recreational rider, but launching a bike off the start line at breakneck speed sure is a lot of fun!

And you can use it to blast ahead like a pro when you are riding with friends on trails.

It also makes for really impressive photos when the bike is screaming at maximum revs and the rear wheel is leaving a large roost tail behind you.

Next time you are watching a motocross race, watch the start carefully.

A dirt bike can go from 0 to top track speed in like 1 second flat.

This is because the rider has implemented the throttle, weight and clutch all in a perfect balance to achieve maximum launching power and speed.

To learn more about launching your dirt bike off the start line, have a read of my blog that details how to learn how to ‘holeshot’ in detail.

To get great at launching, I would allow 30 minutes just to practice my starts.

I would keep repeating it over and over again until after about 3 months I had it down perfectly and could lead the field in a racing start.

Drill 11. Whoops.

Whoops used to be the bain of my riding and I feared them a lot.

If I hit them too hard they would kick me over the handlebars. If I hit them too slow, I would lose all my speed and momentum.

The only way I conquered my fear was to drill them every day until they became easy.

If you are going to be riding on a motocross track then drilling whoops is essential.

Having a coach is also a great way to increase your whoop riding abilities.


Practice these drills and you will be amazed at how much more balance and control you will gain over your bike.

consider getting yourself a coach or joining a riding school.

When putting together a drilling program for yourself, use a mix of drills for balance, braking, clutch and technical drills.

Do you have a set of drills in place that have advanced your riding skills? Let me know in the comments box below. Also don’t forget to share this article with your friends if you liked it.

Happy riding!

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2 years ago

What about oval drills? You can do it using the same two circle of figure 8. Or there is no advantages compared to figure 8?

2 years ago
Reply to  Mattia

Oval drills are great too. I prefer figure 8 drills because they get the rider used to changing their balance as the bike swings the other way.

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