Practice to Make Perfect – SW Regional School of Racing Session 1
As one of the club coaches for the One and All Youth Academy I enjoyed being able to take three of our Development Squad riders to Taunton on Sunday to join Youth A/B riders from all over the South West for the first circuit Regional School of Racing (RSR) of the 2012 season.
Riders attending RSR session are nominated either by club coaches as a reward for performing consistently well in club sessions or are invited direct by BC Talent Team Coach Ric Jamieson. The sessions are not selection or talent id events but are all about each rider developing their own skills and techniques as well as learning to take responsibility for all aspects involved with their bike riding in terms of organisation, preparation and execution.
The focus of the morning session was on bunch riding skills with a variety of skills sessions involving s riding 2/3/4/5 abreast on a tight crit circuit linked together by holding each other’s shoulders. Skills like this not only test bike handling ability but also work on building confidence of riding in close quarters as well as testing the core strength of the rider who must ride for many laps with one hand off the bars.
Once these skills had been mastered drills moved on to manoeuvring through the middle of a bunch, bottle passing in pairs and circumnavigating the bunch in 2s and 3s. All of these activities continued to build the riders confidence in riding and manoeuvring in a bunch. This is crucial when riding in National events where bunches of 40+ riders are not uncommon!
After a well earned lunch break the circuit was reduced in size with the focus moving on to cornering technique, with some tricky angles for riders to get their heads (and bikes) around. This session really highlighted the skills of the riders as it wasn’t always the biggest and strongest who faired best. This was a lesson well learnt, highlighting how important it is to focus on core bike handling skills and techniques, not just ‘smashing it’ on a club run every week.
The on-bike session wrapped up with some races on the smaller circuit in order to put all the technical skills from the day into practice. The Kieran, Devil (Eliminator) and Team Sprint races really highlighted the improvements the riders had made from the start of the day with some hotly contested heats and finals.
At all RSR events, following the on-bike skills sessions and feedback to riders there is always an off-bike workshop. The workshop for this session was on bike cleaning with the riders split into 3 groups and taken through how, when and how often they should be cleaning their bikes. The riders then had the chance to show off what they had learnt by tackling the cleaning of one of their teammate’s bikes.
Over the course of the 2012 season One and All Development Squad Riders will continue to attend these sessions as a crucial part of their development as bike riders. Any weaknesses identified will then be taken back into club training sessions and worked on in order to continue the rider’s development and give them the best opportunity to fulfil their potential.
It is a real pleasure to be involved in these sessions as not only do I see our club riders in action so I can assess their current skill levels but I also get to the opportunity to improve my own coaching skills and pick up on new ideas and activities to use in club training sessions.
Well done to all involved – some great improvements made!