During the winter many of us put our coaching on hold for a couple of months. It’s good to take some time to recharge your batteries, but you don’t need to wait until the lighter days to get motivated and try something new.
Use this time to be planning for the season ahead, up-skilling as a coach and delivering different types of sessions to keep riders engaged. The coach education team has shared a few ideas to help you get motivated again after your well-earned rest.
Reading up and watching footage of riding
Cycling books and online videos are a great way to learn more about the sport and key insight can be taken from these resources, where it can have direct application. For example, when watching a video you could:
- Watch how riders perform specific techniques and tactics.
- Look for crux moments in races, thinking about why riders have been successful or not.
- Identify the demands of races, whether there are plenty of sprints, prolonged periods of just rolling along or what skills are required to ride technical sections.
- Check out the Ridesmart and Racesmart video series to build your knowledge and use as visual aids for riders.
Using this knowledge, you could plan for a series of sessions to help riders develop the skills or specific components of fitness you have just observed. This may help to engage the imagination of young riders by relating coaching activities to scenarios performed by their heroes. If you’re a Level 3 coach, you could prescribe specific training sessions that relate directly to the scenarios you have observed.
Doing this type of planning in winter will save time when you’re busy delivering sessions later in the year and make your coaching relate more closely to cycle sport.
Indoor coaching sessions
Being a successful bike rider is not just about being able to ride a bike. It’s also important for riders to develop skills such as maintaining their bike, being able to feed themselves or developing a better understanding of the sport. You could facilitate indoor sessions, helping riders to learn these off-the-bike skills. Involve other club members in this process or bring an expert in if you don’t have the skills or qualifications to deliver the session yourself.
Getting involved in other cycling disciplines
Lots of riders have a preference for a particular cycling discipline, however the focus of our coaching should always be to do what is best for the riders we coach. That means helping to develop well-rounded bike riders who have the ability to ride in a variety of environments.
For example, riders who have only ridden on the track may be great riding in close proximity to others, but struggle to move around on the bike when exposed to off-road riding - or visa-versa.
You could consider doing a discipline-specific coaching award this year. For example, if you’re a track coach, you could also consider doing the Level 2 Mountain Bike or Cyclo-cross award and deliver sessions in these environments. Winter is a great time to take on this kind of challenge and you may be surprised how well riders respond to this new environment.