Published: 21 August 2013
Report: Robin Fox, Solihull CC Coach
Six years ago, Solihull Cycling Club had a handful of youth members. It now boasts a double world junior track sprint champion in Dannielle Khan. Here, we find out how the club achieved such incredible progression.
When Solihull Cycling Club first embarked on its Go-Ride journey around six years ago, club membership stood at around 180, youth membership was a grand total of two, there was one club coach and no facilities to speak of. If we fast forward to today, club membership has increased to over 500, youth membership now stands at around 100, there are a total of 15 coaches and the club has use of a fantastic facility. The club also has multiple national youth and junior champions, as well as a double world champion...So what has made the difference?
There are a number of contributing factors, however the catalyst is without doubt the British Cycling Go-Ride programme. The Clubmark Accreditation process meant that there had to be small, but significant, changes in the way the club was organised – from a new constitution, to the appointment of trained club welfare officers.
These changes could not have happened, however, without the highly motivated volunteer base of officials, who - whilst keeping the traditional activities of the club alive and well - have been able to move forward and keep up with the demands of a modern sports club. The club recognised the need for a system to ensure volunteer qualifications, such as first aid certificates, are kept up to date, and the importance of investing in more coaching courses, as well as ensuring effective communication both within and outside of the club, working closely with the local media.
The Go-Ride programme not only provided the catalyst for these important changes, but also provides the bench-mark against which quality of the coaching can be measured. From the six year old on a two wheel bike for the first time, to the fifteen year old preparing for the National Track Championships aiming to win gold, the Go-Ride programme provides the required support to enable them to develop and achieve their aim. Go-Ride covers a broad spectrum of activities and skills, and provides the development opportunities to become either a happy and skilled bike rider participating in the local cyclo-cross league or to help them on their journey to National or world champion.
Go-Ride Clubmark Accreditation provides opportunities for both the club and the rider. From the club’s perspective, it opens doors for other funding streams to assist in the support of the coaching team and other vital club activities. Whilst from a rider perspective, Go-Ride opens the door for the older youth riders to become part of the Regional School of Racing initiative, where they get access to a coaching program delivered by British Cycling Talent Development coaches. This level of coaching, combined with the quality coaching delivered by the club coaches, is what has enabled the club to produce nationally competitive riders in Cyclo-Cross, Mountain Bike Cross-Country, Track and Road. To top it all, we now boast a double World Junior track sprint champion in Dannielle Khan.
One of the most important elements of a Go-Ride club is that there is a structure in place, so that even when the best riders move onto the Olympic Talent Programme, there is still a local support network and a structure in place that allows the riders to thrive and continue their development. It is reassuring for the British Cycling coaches to know the local club is there to support their rider.
Without the Go-Ride programme, Solihull Cycling Club wouldn’t look anything like it does today. It has allowed the club to make a difference to the local community and have a positive impact on the aspirations and achievement of many bike riders.