Gary, how long did it take you to learn heel and toe downshifting. I perform this technique the nonconventional way; I have a problem swiveling my heel around to the gas pedal. I put my heel on the brake and blip the throttle with my toes or middle of my foot. I wear a size 12 or 13 shoe. Can you give me some advice on learning this technique?
I don't recall how long it took. This was something I was able to do before I went to racing school.
I also originally learned to heel-toe the way you described, but quickly changed it as I learned to threshold brake. If you are using the brake to press the brake, you are modulating brake pressure with the big muscles in your thigh and hip. While these muscles are great for brute strength, they are not very good at finesse, so you do not have precise control of the brake pressure. In addition, changes in brake pressure require you to move your entire leg up and down, which isn't very efficient.
That's why it's "correct" to use the ball of your foot on the brake. The muscles in your ankle are very good at fine motor control, so they give you the precision you need to modulate the brake pressure as required to get the most out of the tires. Also, you are only moving the mass of your foot when modulating, as opposed to the mass of your entire leg, so changes to brake pressure can be made much quicker.
Blipping the throttle requires no precision whatsoever, so just throw your heel at the throttle to raise the revs.