Monica Eden is one of two recruits on to British Cycling's annual Coach Scholarship programme, which provides a wide variety of coach development opportunities across all of cycling's key disciplines.
The past couple of months have seen Monica join up with the young elite riders of British Cycling's Talent Development programmes through her work at both Talent camps and competitive meets.
December has been another action packed month on the Coaching Scholarship Pragramme with myself and fellow scholar Justin Knox attending British Cycling's Development World Cup.
This event is held twice a year and involves riders from the Talent Team, Olympic Development and Acadamy Programmes competing in sprint and endurance events. This month’s event saw us heading to Newport for four days of high quality racing.
Name: Monica Eden
Since first riding competitively at the age of 15, I have been part of British Cycling's Talent Team and gained numerous top 10 places nationally in a range of events including a bronze at the National Junior Women's Road Race.
Currently I help out with coaching with Eastland's Velo Cycling Club and I am hoping the scholarship programme will provide me with the skills to reach my potential as a coach in order to help more people enjoy the benefits of cycle sport.
Riders from all programmes compete against each other, although all riders have to adhere to the youngest rider’s gear restrictions. This gives riders an opportunity to race against more experienced colleagues and learn from their attitude and racing skills.
Over the course of the event I was given the opportunity to help with race proceedings as well as provide support to the Talent Team riders. I was impressed to find that the event is not based on results and times but aims to improve the experience and focus of riders.
Often as a coach it is easy to get caught up in times but I learnt that sometimes it is good to step back and look at the overall picture and not just the time on your stopwatch. This is an attitude that I will definately take forward and use within my own coaching.
The racing was impressive and it was a fantastic opportunity to view the step by step progress through the British Cycling programmes.
This month I also attended a Talent Team camp which saw us using Lea Quarry for a MTB skills session and was followed by a day of racing at the National Trophy Cyclo-Cross event in Bradford.
This was the first time I have been up to Lea Quarry after hearing many rave reviews. The area is a great coaching venue and we covered a range of skills from descending, gap jumps, pumping and some trials work.
During the session, Justin and myself had the opportunity to work with riders on different skills and try out some different techniques and ideas. This experience of working with the best young riders in the country gives you as a coach the opportunity to see the skill level that riders at our own clubs can achieve.
I have taken away the coaching techniques and skills I have learnt with the Talent Team on their MTB sessions and adapted them for use in club sessions. One of the sessions I ran this month was a MTB session with riders from my club, Eastland's Velo at Clayton Vale.
When attending my Level 2 Mountain Bike Coaching Award I realised that I myself had never been shown how to perform all the basic skills with flat pedals on. Therefore it is my aim to teach our club riders how to complete these skills and then go away and practice them.
Our club riders spend a lot of time on Manchester Velodrome but I am keen to improve their overall bike handling skills. The session went well and all riders went home happy and covered in mud!
One of the hardest things to conquer personally with MTB coaching is the static demonstrations. The technique for these demonstrations is shown well on the course but practice is definately the key to a successful demo and I feel I still need improve. I plan to run more of these sessions for our riders so hopefully I will see some good improvements in the riders.
I am looking forward to more Talent Team camps in January as well as club coaching on the road, track and MTB. The scholarship programme is proving an invaluable opportunity to learn from other coaches and programmes and continually improve my own coaching.
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