Scottish Cycling recently outlined its performance development programmes for 2017/2018, including Endurance, Sprint and Mountain Biking. Following a number of enquiries and messages regarding the BMX programme, Scottish Cycling would like to outline the current position for the discipline.
Scottish Cycling currently has four and a half staff members in the performance programme who have key funding targets directly related to the number of riders gaining selection for British Cycling programmes, plus achieving success at Commonwealth Games as well as World Championships and the Olympics.
BMX is not a Commonwealth sport so does not attract government funding in the way that Track, MTB XC and Road do. However Scottish Cycling does understand that BMX is an exciting discipline in its own right, is a great way into the sport and offers tremendous benefits – not forgetting that it features in the Olympics and is also the discipline which got Olympians such as Sir Chris Hoy started in the sport. Therefore we continue to strive to increase resources to be able to provide much more support.
It is no secret that government funding for performance sport has reduced and this has had a significant impact on all of Scottish Cycling’s performance programmes. Following a successful Glasgow 2014 Scottish Cycling was hopeful of increased funding to include work at youth level across all disciplines. Unfortunately this was not to be and the financial landscape has meant that programmes havebeen heavily reliant upon volunteers in our sport to develop youth bike riders across all disciplines, including BMX. Scottish Cycling has worked with the BMX community to put support in place over the past two years, and will continue to do so.
However, keeping the momentum to drive these initiatives, which we understand are incredibly under resourced, has been a struggle and a lot more needs to be done. Scottish Cycling has attempted to organise a number of BMX specific coaching courses, but unfortunately they have fallen short in terms of sign up; the Scottish Cycling team will continue to work on this as without more coaches it is difficult to develop larger groups and increase the talent pool.
For the past three years, Scottish Cycling has supported teams to compete at the Inter Regional Championships in every discipline, including BMX in Manchester, and the feedback from this has always been very positive. This will happen again this year and in the build-up we are working with volunteers to promote training sessions to raise the level and hopefully increase the number of riders (particularly girls) meeting the criteria, therefore increasing the team size and opportunities.
The Performance team does understand that this is not a huge amount of support for the discipline but hope the BMX community will understand the challenges that Scottish Cycling faces in terms of resources and funding targets – despite the ambition to be in a position to do more.
On a positive note, in terms of funding, Scottish Cycling now has additional resources through the HSBC Go-Ride programme which will include BMX delivery as well as the other disciplines. Budgets and details are currently being worked through, but this is an exciting opportunity and one that can start to make a significant difference.
In the near future Scottish Cycling will be looking to explore opportunities with a view to regular pathway activity being promoted. The HSBC Go-Ride resource will provide a great opportunity to grow the talent pool and initiate the development of a performance programme – and Scottish Cycling welcome the chance to meet key volunteers and coaches to explore how this can be achieved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.