Published: 6 May 2014
Caitlin Tromans is a dedicated Level 1 Cycling Coach from East Bradford CC Go-Ride Club. She also secured a position on British Cycling's National Youth Forum. Here, Caitlin tells us about her experiences as a young coach and how rewarding it is to contribute to the next generation of riders.
How did you get involved in cycling?
I’m 17 years old and have been cycling since I was 6 years old. The first day I entered cycling was when my dad pushed me up the hill on our street.
What made you get involved in coaching?
I have raced since the age of 7. I’ve been British Schools Cycling Association regional champion several times and a national champion.
I began volunteering aged 13, because I wanted to share my knowledge with less experienced riders. Aged 16, I decided to focus on supporting the coaches at East Bradford CC, a British Cycling Go-Ride club. My Level 1 Certificate in Coaching Cycling enabled me to do so.
I first got into coaching when I was invited to the Go-Ride conference, as part of British Cycling’s Cycling Award for Young Volunteers. As a young volunteer, my eyes were opened to a whole new side to cycling - the side that showed the many people who give up their time to help cycling’s future.
I’ve looked up to many coaches, but Jim Littlefair was the first person who got me into road biking. Every week, I got faster with the help from this fantastic coach. He inspired me to do well in my racing, but also to coach children and inspire them like he did for me. Jim is no longer coaching, but he still inspires me to do my best every day.
Who do you coach?
Currently I coach younger children. I recently volunteered at a school event, run by East Bradford CC, where I worked with children with special needs, which was really rewarding and has inspired me to want to do more with this type of group.
What cycling qualifications do you have?
I’ve achieved a platinum young volunteer award, as I have helped out at many events over the last few years. In February/April I completed my Level 1 Certificate in Coaching Cycling to enable me to coach people with little or no experience within cycling.
What do you like about coaching?
The most satisfying part of being a coach has to be seeing the little smiles on the kid’s faces when they are having fun, whilst they are learning and improving their skills.
It is a fantastic feeling when the young riders look up to you as a role model and want to follow in your footsteps. Also, when you’re joining in the session that you created, the young riders become more motivated, as they see you doing the skills and they want to do it better than you.
There has been a few times where the kids have forced me into racing with them - when another coach has been supervising, of course! They always like to remind you that they beat you in that race!
What are the main challenges you face as a coach?
The main challenges I face as a coach is my age, as I have to be supervised by an older coach. As I am in my last year of college, I’m also having to concentrate a lot more on my course work, as my results are important to get into university to help me pursue a coaching career.
What challenges have you faced as a coach?
It can be challenging being a female coach in a predominately male environment; however, there are advantages too.
You earn lots of respect from the females, especially the younger ones, and the level of engagement from them is high.
I have met and coached many young females, aged from 3 to 10+, and they look up to you no matter what. The girls like to listen and learn new skills and interact more. This gives them the confidence to be able to complete the skills effectively and ask me questions if they have any. The parents are grateful too, commenting on what their children are learning.
What advice would you give to others considering coaching?
If you’re considering becoming a coach but are worried about being the only female or not being accepted by the riders, don’t worry.Becoming a coach was one of the best decisions I have ever made! Now I have the confidence to speak in front of a group and I’m able to share my knowledge and experience and see those who I coach shine.
It’s hard to describe the amazing feeling after a session when the riders come up to you and ask if you can coach them again. Coaching has opened so many doors for me that can help with my future. If you are considering becoming a coach, then I strongly recommend you to enrol on a course.
There are many people at British Cycling, such as Development Officer Kelly Burdett, who have supported me all the way from the start and they are happy to help you too.
Cycling may be a male dominated sport, but without female coaches, females won’t strive. The more female coaches we have, hopefully female riders will increase. Being a coach isn’t just about helping the future of the sport; it’s also about helping you for your future in the world and cycling.