Coach Kristi’s Corner: November 2, 2016

 
kristi-berg


 
Coach Kristi Berg has been racing bicycles in various disciplines since 1994. Read about Coach Kristi Berg here.

Now is a great time to plan ahead for your 2017 race season. The process of recruiting students onto the team, getting them registered and making sure their bikes are ready to go can be accomplished effectively with a couple of off-the-bike meetings before the end of 2016. Then you’ll be ready to hit the trails together in January.

Step #1: Informational meeting

Get your team started with an informational meeting. This meeting isn’t just for students, it’s also for parents, volunteers, and anyone else who might want to engage with your program. Getting everyone together provides an opportunity to build excitement, share information and answer any questions.

Ideally, you’ll hold this informational meeting in a large space where you can all easily interact and hear one another. Ideas for location include a local restaurant’s banquet room, a public library or office with a conference room. This can be a great opportunity for local businesses to support your team by offering a space, so don’t be afraid to ask!

Topics you can cover:

  • History and mission of Washington Student Cycling League
  • Why you enjoy coaching
  • How much fun it is to ride and race your mountain bike
  • Season plans, including practice days and times
  • Need for volunteers, assistant coaches and ride leaders
  • Information for how to register students online
  • Expectations for participation and conduct
  • And encourage lots of questions!

Step #2: Register your team with the League

After you build excitement with your informational meeting, it’s time to focus on getting students registered for the team. No matter the age of the student, the parent must be the one to register the student online. And remember, students cannot participate in any organized team practice or event until they are officially registered. Hopefully this will help motivate everyone to complete the registration process. Then you’re ready to hold your first official team meeting/practice!

 

Step #3: First official team meeting/first practice

It’s a good idea to hold the first official team meeting indoors and have students bring their bikes with them. This gives everyone an opportunity to get to know each other and interact before heading out on the trails. It’s also a great opportunity go through each bike with the student to ensure the bike is working properly and the student has a proper fit on the bike. We want all our riders to be safe and comfortable on their bikes so they will have the maximum amount of fun!

If you have ride leaders or assistant coaches who are comfortable with working on bikes, you can create a couple of workstations, and have students rotate through with their bikes. If you are affiliated with a local bike shop, this is a great way to get them involved.

Things to check:

  • Proper air in tires
  • Brakes are working properly
  • Chain is lubed and in good condition
  • Cranks are tight
  • Quick releases are tight and properly installed
  • Shifting/ drivetrain are working correctly

Now you’re off to a great start and ready to ride together! Look for information about on-bike practices in the next newsletter.

 


ABOUT KRISTI BERG

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 bergscoaching@gmail.com.