Platinum Profile - Chris

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Club - Sutton Cycling Club

Q: What level are you currently at on the Cycling Award for Young Volunteers Programme?

A: Gold

Q: What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

A: Seeing the people that I help to coach progress in their riding, while enjoying it at the say time.

Q: How do you think being a volunteer has helped you?

A: It has helped me to learn about people skills such as organising and teaching a group of people.

Q: Is there anything you would change about your volunteering experience?

A: No.

Q: Where would you like your volunteering to take you in the future?

A: I’d like to help the club stage its own race, perhaps a Go-Ride Race Mountain Bike Event

Chris's blogs...

Blog 1: 19/08/2012

Assisting Lead Coach

I helped to organise and lead two group rides, by riding either at the back or in the middle to assist slower riders.

In order to do this I used a range of skills, but mainly communication, observation and control. I think it helped the coaches having an extra helper, as it means that the work can be divided up more. Everyone seemed to enjoy the rides, but I think I could improve on my positioning within the group.

There were a few challenges that I had to overcome, in particular the group had to be kept together around hazards such as road crossings, to combat this we all stopped and moved through as a group. To improve this session for next time I would take more notice of the group around me.

Blog 2: 08/09/2012

Demonstrating Skills

I demonstrated and then coached an Italian Pursuit. The rider’s skills improved massively throughout the session; however they were easily bored, so the session could have done with more variety.

I think that having two people to demonstrate and coach helped as one could keep the riders’ attention whilst the other demonstrated – which is hard to do effectively manage on your own. The skills I used during this session included: Communication, explanation and behaviour management.


The main challenge was keeping the attention of the riders; having two coaches helped with this. I also learnt that not everyone wants to be coached when it involves effort. To help overcome this next time I’d mix in some more exercises to make the session more interesting.

Blog 3: 09/09/2012

Assisting the lead coach

During this coaching session I acted as the pace setter; making sure the pace was not too fast for the slower riders.

The skills I used included: Observation, communication and awareness. The group stayed together mostly, however despite riding similarly on the flats, I learnt that people can ride at very different speeds when climbing.

One aspect of this session that was challenging was that an angry car driver, who was frustrated by beings tuck behind the cyclists, stopped but we dealt with it and moved on. Next time that I deliver this session I’d organise for there to be a faster and a slower group, and have the faster group wait at each main junction.

Blog 4: 15/09/2012

Managing a skill zone

During this session I managed an Italian Pursuit skills zone, giving the riders coaching tips based on their performance. Throughout the session the younger riders were very enthusiastic, but the older riders were bored.

One challenging aspect I learnt was that the younger riders will copy the older riders; if one older rider’s stops, then the younger riders followed. Therefore the main challenge was keeping the older riders motivated so that they didn’t stop. A way to do this would be to add some extra challenges for the older more experienced riders.

Blog 5: 27/10/2012

Managing a skill zone

During the session I managed a ‘sprint with fast dismount’ section in an activity rotation session. There wasn’t too much misbehaving or refusal and the session ran fairly smoothly. However some groups took much longer than others due to their size.

I learnt that coaching doesn’t work well when you have riders standing about in the cold! I also felt cold! Some groups were also much larger than others (ranging from 7 to 26) so it was harder to keep the smaller groups entertained and the larger groups moving. Next time that I deliver this activity I will make the groups more even in size, and keep people moving, to ensure they stay warm and remain occupied.