Justin Knox is one of two recruits to British Cycling's annual Coach Scholarship programme, which provides a wide variety of coach development opportunities across all of cycling's key disciplines.
Here, the keen Mountain Bike rider explains how he has spent the past couple of months working alongside GB's BMX and Mountain Bike Talent Teams, honing his skills of observation and delivery.
Name: Justin Knox
Keen Mountain Biker Justin Knox currently coaches for Matlock Cycling Club at Thornbridge Outdoor centre in Derbyshire while studying hard in his final year of a Sports Coaching/Development degree.
His main passion is mountain biking through the Peak District and endurance racing, although he has a particular dislike for 29ers and people who buy full suspension bikes to just ride them down disused railway tracks!
We had a busy time in the run up to Christmas what with the Track Camps in Newport, the mountain bike camp at Lea Quarry and the racing at Bradford.
"With the Christmas break over, the Scholarship is starting to kick into gear again and my first camp this year was the second day of the track camp, where we focused on team sprints and madison.
I’m much better at holding the riders now after having plenty of practice at Newport, which although simple enough, was something that I’d never done before and am now completely comfortable with. All the riders had three attempts at the team pursuit although they had very little recovery time between them, and this was noticeable by the third attempt.
After a short break, the riders were then given coaching points on how to push off when changing riders in Madison, something again that I watched with great interest to try and learn for myself. Going to these track sessions has inspired me and I am keen to get on the track myself and have also applied to do British Cycling’s Level 2 Track Coaching Award so that I can coach at some of my club sessions at the National Cycling Centre.
My next camp was spent with Jeremy Hayes, the BMX Talent Team coach, and Monica, who is with me on the Scholarship. The session started with manuals which is a BMXer’s bread and butter and had been identified as an area most of the team needed to work on. We had them going up and down a concrete area pulling manuals when they wanted and it could be seen that a fair bit of improvement had been made since I’d last seen them.
All the riders hit the track and we practised some gates. I’m finding it really easy now to identify bad form and technique from a gated start. Jez filmed all the riders during their gates in order to give them some video feedback later in the evening.
As all the riders had different techniques they needed to work on, Jez and Monica went off with other riders why I was left with one talent team rider to help him work on his gates. Jez gave him a few coaching points and we started practising the gates at a slow speed and slowly increased it, with me giving him feedback after each gate. The rider really improved and his gates were great after the session. I like the BMX track and find it a comfortable environment to coach in, very similar in its focus on technique to mountain biking.
I also received the good news this month that I had passed my Level 3 Core course. The next month should be another busy one on the scholarship with an MTB camp and my Level 3 MTB discipline specific course, which I am very excited about doing."
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