Keep the stoke going in February
A successful team ride ends with getting everyone back, stoked and in one piece! The League just wrapped up a great weekend of Intro to Coaching classes focusing on leading team rides. This is a new curriculum that will soon be required for anyone riding with League teams. More dates will be added on both sides of the state–watch for them and get signed up!
One thing the new Intro to Coaching class teaches is standardized vocabulary to use for team activities. Doing this will make sure that all across Washington state, anyone who rides with League team will know the same terms and understand what responsibility comes with each. Here’s a sneak preview:
Coach: Any adult who has been registered with the League and is participating in team rides. There are various license levels for coaches, I, II and III, depending on how much training they’ve been through. Each license level has corresponding approved activities.
Ride Leader: Person in charge of the team activity for the day.
Group Leader: Person in charge of subgroup in assistance to Ride Leader. There may be several Group Leaders on a team ride if the ride breaks up into multiple groups.
Point role: Level II or III Coaches. Point chooses when and where to stop, controls pacing, manages gaps between students and communicates navigation information to Float and Sweep positions.
Float role (optional): Level I, II or III Coaches. Manages the gaps between students, communicates relevant assessment info to Point, relays information as needed, engages students between front and back of ride
Sweep role: Level II or III Coaches. Communicate any relevant assessment to the Point (using Float Role, optional), supports the emotional safety of the back half of the group, often first responder to emergencies and mechanicals.
Roster and Emergency Action Plan reminder
Remember to have a Roster/EAP for each team ride so you are prepared. It’s a good idea to track team attendance, ride distance and hours of all your coaches and students. This will also make it a lot easier to track field hours for everyone. Here’s a sample team log that you can use.
Keep it fun with bike games that build skills
Along with team rides, it’s fun to mix up your practices by including some bike games to help your students build bike handling skills. One example is the Slow Race. This game helps students build control over their speed at slow speeds, and can come in handy in a race environment if riders stack up behind a difficult feature.
Slow Race: Pick a start line and a finish line. Line the students up on the start line and stand at the finish line, facing the students. The last one to the finish is the winner.
– GO when the coach says GO.
– If you put a foot down, you’re out and you must get out of the way of other riders.
– Try to ride in a straight line — doing loops or riding diagonally is cheating.
– No track standing! Try to keep moving forward slowly.
– Pointers: Stand up, ratchet your pedals, feather/drag your rear brake, choose a harder gear
Parting thought on communication
One more thing, a note about communication. You’ve probably noticed that different ways of communicating work for different audiences. I tend to use text when communicating with students, email for coaches and parents (unless it’s last minute) and I use a team Facebook page to get details out to everyone. Be sure and find out what works best for your team and make sure your lines of communication are open. Minimizing confusion will help maximize your fun!
Coach Kristi Berg has been racing bicycles in various disciplines since 1994: Road (Cat 2), Cyclocross (Elite), BMX (expert in 20″) and MTB (professional downhill, crosscountry, and dual slalom). She enjoys coaching and sharing all she has learned through riding and racing, and is committed to giving back to her cycling community. Kristi is a Level 2 USAC Cycling Coach and owner of Berg’s Coaching Services. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.