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3 Phases of Breaking in Noobs to Wheel Right and Save Trails 3 Phases of Breaking in Noobs to Wheel Right and Save Trails
There are many ways you can help a newbie… Keeping our Jeeping and four-wheeling sports alive means we all have to wheel smart, pay... 3 Phases of Breaking in Noobs to Wheel Right and Save Trails

There are many ways you can help a newbie…

Keeping our Jeeping and four-wheeling sports alive means we all have to wheel smart, pay attention to our line, put on a good show, hold up a positive image and make sure the newbies do the same – among other things.

Breaking in newbies or noobs is something we can all help do – or we will all eventually lose if they don’t “get brought up right.”

Whether you are part of a virtual group or brick-n-mortar 4wheel drive club, there are three (3) phases where every one of us can do our part with the new folks in our sport. Check it out.


This is a no-brainer. You want to wheel in the future, but you don’t want to be bothered with bugging someone else about how to do it right? Just set the example.
Do what you love to do and do it right!

Be that guy or gal that always carries a trash bag and spill kit. Don’t be the drip (vehicle) on the trail. Stay on the trail and obey the rules. Set up your camp with a trash bag and recycling sack. Don’t be a bear in the woods without your shovel. Better yet, be that camp with a trail toilet.

Just ask yourself what things you would want a newbie to learn and DO IT. Show them by your example.
If you want to do more, make suggestions…


You are already setting the example but now you want to take it a step farther.

Mosey over to your wheeling newbie who is having a terrible time picking a good line on an obstacle, so he/she is just spinning tires and throwing dirt everywhere…but making no forward progress. Point out a solution and mention how our image is tainted when we unnecessarily spin tires and tear up a trail.

A little dust and dirt flying is just part of summer wheeling, but we can all make sure we don’t spin tires unnecessarily or make a mess of our trails.

Let’s say you’re setting up camp and your noob is setting up a tent in a breezy area but not staking down his goods. Again, put on your mosey and mention how you’ve seen tents fly across the distant plains when they lacked a few stakes and ropes. Do it nicely. Tell by examples and stories. Don’t try to be bossy, though. Just make suggestions.

A noob might not realize the critical importance of proper anchoring of your sleeping quarters in a place like a windy desert.

Now you want to do more? How about being a mentor?


You always set the example and once in a while you make suggestions to help the new folks in our sport. But you want to take “one” under your wing and “break ‘um in right.” Well,  then, be the mentor.

A mentor is a guide, coach, counselor, adviser, and trainer.

Working together, helping each other, and being a team — that is what makes a newbie want to do it right!

Mentoring is a powerful and personal development tool that can enable a newbie to make leaps and bounds in the right direction for doing things right!
To be a four-wheeling mentor, it helps if you work on your skills to be:
1. A good listener and communicator
2. Honest and genuine, yet not mean or too curt.
3. Approachable and always willing to help (with a smile).
4. Forthright; don’t “bs” or fake it, but give advice on things you know.
5. Willing to enlist others in your group when your skills/knowledge doesn’t solve the newbie’s issue.

I have written before on something you could pass on to any newbie, Basic Training for Life; 12 Tips to being Super Human. 

Teach your newbie simple things like leaving a gate the way you found it; if you make a mess, clean it up; if you borrow it, return it…and so on.

Always set the example and clean up messes — even when it’s not your mess.


No matter in which phase you find yourself, do those things that will make the difference in having a future in four-wheeling and Jeeping. Always set a good example; make suggestions to others when it fits the circumstances; and if you have the time and energy, be a mentor to a noob in your group.

Del Albright Ambassador

Internationally published author; WorldWide ModernJeeper Abassador and 2014 Inductee of the Off Road Motorsports Hall of Fame. Del has been involved in the Jeeping Lifestyle for longer then most of us can count. His educational and mentorship programs have helped developed warfighters in the ongoing battle to keep Public Lands Open to the Public.

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