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 details his final few weeks as a scholar.
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 Bradfor
"The final few weeks of my scholarship have been action packed with Talent Team camps and the last part of my British Cycling Level 3 MTB coaching course to complete.
Based at Thornbridge in Derbyshire, the first day with the MTB talent team was spent skills coaching with a few timed hills climbs thrown in. After a leisurely warm up to the woods, the riders were put through their paces with a timed technical ascent, which proved to be tricky in places due to the wet muddy conditions.
Following a short break, we then proceeded to challenge the riders to overcome bigger and bigger drop offs, which they managed before we moved onto a very steep run off which was almost totally vertical and encouraged the riders to try different approaches. There was one last run through the woods and we headed back to base. After lunch we worked on some more skills in the skills park.
The next thing on my agenda was the last part of my MTB Level 3 course, which involved learning how to apply what we had learned in the core module to a mountain bike rider/environment. We talked about how to go about training specific aspects of an individual’s fitness and how to assess them through different tests and measure the demands placed on the rider from different MTB events.
In groups we had to come up with tests in order to measure certain aspects of a rider’s fitness, while we also looked at what a Level 3 coaching session should look like. This part of the course was fun and we got a real mix of riders all at different levels of ability; our coaching session seemed to go well and I was pleased with it. We were then back in the class room for a while and finally went through the requirements to complete the rest of the course, something I’m just starting to work my way through. Overall the course was very informative and has really helped to improve my coaching.
Overall, I have really enjoyed myself on the scholarship; it has inspired me to coach other disciplines and has changed my attitude and approach to cycling in general. I've learned a lot during the camps/courses and they have influenced me in the way I coach and definitely helped me to develop.
I feel I've become a much better coach through the scholarship and I would like to thank all the British Cycling staff involved in giving me this opportunity. I would encourage others to apply for this unique experience if and when the oppportunity arises.
News and updates from the Coaching Team at British Cycling can also be found via our Twitter account