Pilot: Level 2 Mountain Bike Coaching Award

Pilot: Level 2 Mountain Bike Coaching Award

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Pilot: Level 2 Mountain Bike Coaching Award

Course Launch | Posted July 22 2010

After a year in the making, British Cycling's Level 2 Mountain Bike Coaching Award is now live and launched following a pilot course in Whinlatter.

In July a select group of existing British Cycling coaches, renowned mountain bikers and members of the workgroup who created the course itself were present over two days of intensive activities designed to refine technical documents and perfect delivery before the first public presentation.

The public launch of the Level 2 Award happens next month at Cannock Chase, and is already sold out - along with the second-running of the course. What the pilot allowed was a sneak preview of what British Cycling's intermediate coaching award would offer and the chance for the first certified Level 2 coaches to be passed through the system.

In British Cycling's tiered coaching system, anyone who wants to participate in any Level 2 discipline specific course must already have their Level 2 Certificate in Coaching Cycling qualification or the older Club Coach or Activity Coach Qualifications. Where this - and all other British Cycling Level 2 courses - pick up, is at the point of specialisation, with all elements pertinent to mountain biking, but missing in other disciplines, covered.

Taking the technical essentials of mountain biking - from the equipment used, to separating the different sub-genres within mountain bike racing - forms the start of the course and gives the uninitiated a chance to familiarise with what mountain biking is. All elements of this initial half-day classroom session are comprehensively covered within the accompanying handbook.


With the formalities dealt with, the first afternoon of the two-day course is spent teaching the coaching candidates how to utilise the mountain bike environment to best suit their riders and their coaching objectives, as well as introducing the core mountain biking techniques. These techniques, which consist of the ready position, weight shift, trackstand, front and rear wheel lift - elements which the British Cycling resource considers the techniques which underpin all aspects of mountain biking performance across all disciplines.

Time is then spent showing the coaches how each of these techniques can be demonstrated using a range of methods, including ride-through demonstrations, off the bike demos and static (on the bike) demos.

This module is supported by another, where coaches are shown how to sequence their delivery of technical mountain bike sessions.

However, learning the importance of each of these techniques is a small part of the Award and day two focuses on how best to coach these techniques - as opposed to only having the ability to only demonstrate or instruct mountain biking.

Learning the importance of core techniques is only one aspect of the Award - obviously candidates need to be able to know how best to coach these techniques effectively. Therefore day two of the course provides an opportunity for candidate coaches to put all that they learned on day one into practise by delivering a short coaching session on an allocated technique. Candidate coaches prepare their sessions as homework following day 1 and deliver them in small groups divided between course tutors - in this case the tutors being Craig Scott and Charlie Evans. Following each session delivery, course tutors facilitated a feedback session within their group. Candidates found this to be a useful and formative process -gaining ideas from each other's deliveries.

Also included in day two was a session on how to plan progressive MTB coaching sessions, which involves being able to assess a group's current ability to and recognise which areas they need to develop, as well as an overview of the MTB competition structure for MTB, covering the disciplines of four-cross, cross-country and downhill.

Following final evaluations, we talked with British Cycling's Coaching and Education Officer; Charlie Evans who was already anticipating the launch-proper of the Level 2 Award, and the effect it should have on Britain's mountain bike coaching landscape:

"It's great to see the course at this stage - finally out there after all those months of development. We have had great input into the course, which is demonstrated by the quality of the course resources, but I was excited - and also a little anxious - to see how the course delivery would be received.

"Everyone has seemed to enjoy the course and given us some great feedback- that was the aim of the pilot, and the purpose of inviting the candidates that we did - to iron out any creases within the programme. We have taken on board a few points for refinement ahead of the public delivery which is great and I'm pleased (and relieved) to say that the pilot course has been a success!