How to use your Gears - Get the most out of your Go-Ride Gear coaching sessions
In this months CPD article we are looking at how to utilise the Go-Ride Gears Activity workbooks during coaching sessions.
The Go-Ride Gears activity workbooks are a series of coaching resources designed to assist British Cycling coaches when developing their coaching activities. Each book contains activities planed that relate to a specific cycling technique, presented in a user friendly format. The skill level progresses throughout the Gear range, from basic cycling techniques in Gear 1 and 2, to advanced discipline-specific techniques in Gear 7. Each of the books is set out in a standard format, so coaches of any level are able to communicate the essentials of each cycling technique and to provide ideas for coaching session activities
All coaches attending a British Cycling Coaching and Education course are provided with a Go-Ride Gear Activity workbook, which contains technique activity plans that correspond to that level of coaching award. Go-Ride Gear workbook 1 & 2 is included in the Level 1 Coaching Award resource pack and covers basic and selected intermediate techniques. Gear 3 & 4 covers intermediate cycling techniques and forms part of the Level 2 coaching award resources. Gears 5, 6 and 7 cover advanced, discipline-specific techniques, with Gears 5 and 6 included in the Level 2 discipline-specific awards and Gear 7 covering the Level 3 techniques.
Gear workbooks 1-4 cover common cycling techniques - that is, techniques which are fundamental to most cycling disciplines. What this means to a Level 1 and Level 2 coach is that the skills and techniques covered in Gears 1-4 are fundamental to all branches of the sport, and as such relate to most cycling disciplines and events. Gear 1-4 activities break these fundamental components of cycling techniques down into bite-sized activities to promote the ease of learning for the riders and ease of delivery for the coaches. It is the intention of the Gears 1-4 workbooks to develop riders with a well rounded skill base that they can progress into which ever discipline they choose.
Although Gears 1-4 take riders to an intermediate skill level, it is likely that riders within your sessions want to relate these skills and techniques developed in coaching session into the competitive side of the sport. If you consider that tactics are the use of a technique or series of techniques to progress a strategy, then the importance of technical excellence to your riders' development is apparent. However, this also highlights the importance of relating these new found skills to actual cycling events, so not only are your riders becoming more technically proficient, they are also gaining an insight and understanding to competitive cycling disciplines. Installing good technical practice to your riders should not only help them become better bike riders, it should also enhance their performance when racing.
Therefore, when planning your sessions, you need to rebuild the bite-sized Gear activities into the form of a cycling event. Consider coaching in other sports, would a tennis coach show a player how to serve, or a football coach teaching players how to take free kicks, without explaining the broader context of the games? Try to select your activities so that they relate to an aspect of a specific cycling discipline. For instance, if you want to coach your riders to be able to follow a wheel and change from the front to the back of a line, link this to the team pursuit. If you are doing a balance an co-ordination session using a bottle pass, relate this to a feed-zone in a road or mountain bike race. Limbo's can become low branches in an mountain bike race, mounting and dismounting could be a bike change in a cyclo-cross or road race - It's simply about using your imagination to engage your riders' imagination. By relating the activities to specific cycling disciplines, your riders not only begin to understand those specific events, such as the rules and associated tactics, but also it allows them to identify with the events they see the cycling stars competing in on the television, and hopefully inspire them to pursue the sport further
When planning you next Gear coaching session, think about not only about the techniques you want to coach, but also about how those techniques relate to the demands of specific cycling events. Using the example above, if the intention was to coach riders to be able to follow a wheel and change from the front to the back of a line, this can be delivered in the context of the team pursuit, an event which most rider should be able to identify with, following the Great Britain team's success last summer! Using appropriate activities from Gears 1-4, such as follow the leader (following a wheel activity) and behead the snake (changing from the front to back of a line) a team pursuit related session can be delivered, culminating in a mini-team pursuit competition. Therefore, riders come away understanding more about the event itself, as well as being better able to perform the associated basic techniques.
In summary, the Gear workbook activities are an excellent mechanism by which to get our riders to learn the basics of cycling techniques, however, used correctly we can educate our riders about the sport of cycling as a whole. Think of your coaching sessions as providing mini-event taster sessions, for your riders to experience a range of cycling events. Putting your Gear 1-4 activities into the context of specific cycling events not only enhances rider motivation, it helps them to learn more about the sport. Whether this helps them to make a more informed decision for choosing a competitive disciple to progress into, or simply helps them understand the event they may be viewing on the television, it all helps to promote cycling.
The Go-Ride Gear activity books are provided as part of the resource pack to all candidates attending a British Cycling Coaching and Education course. For more information on the Coaching and Education programme, please contact a member of the Coaching and Education team on 0161 274 2060 .