Monday, August 15, 2016

Evolution of Our Practice Format

If you've been a baseball, softball or soccer coach before, you pretty much know the drill (pun intended) when it comes to the format of practice. For most sports, practice is pretty much the same. We're finding at SoMont that cycling at our level isn't that much different than other sports in terms of practice format. The big difference is we're doing it on a bike and we need to think a bit about where we hold our practices.

As we have more and more practices our format becomes a bit more refined each time. Coach and manager roles are starting to crystallize. Team and personal dynamics are beginning to shine thru. Athletes are starting to get it and it is pretty exciting.

While we have 2 different types of practices, skill and trail ride (endurance) they all generally have the same flow.
  • everyone gathers up, light conversation
  • group hits critical mass, practice begins
  • team managers and coaches say a few things 
  • start with safetey checks (water, helmets, etc...) and ABCs of bike maintenance (Air, Brakes, Chain)
  • we start with an educational topic for the athletes, like hydration, and talk briefly about it. We'll continue to talk about it all throughout the practice
  • we jump on the bike and start shredding!
  • for skills based practice, we'll do a number of different purposed-based drills for 30 to 45 minutes. Then we'll transition to a Circuit Loop with lots of coach instruction if not a 1-1 coach-to-athete pairing (when available). For a trail ride practice, we'll ride 8 to 10 miles and start/stop with instruction along the way when appropriate
  • we finish the practice with some administrative items, talk of upcoming events and Q&A
While things are starting to gel, we've also acknowledged we need to do a better job with things like warming up/down & stretching. Our broader week-to-week and season long curriculum is something that's also in development. These are just a few of the things we'll be focusing on in the next few practices.

To give you some insight into how and where we've conducted one of our most successful skills-based practices, below you'll find an embedded Strava record of the activity and some pictures of the practice. What you can't exactly see in the map below is both a skills area and a circuit loop. We're finding that a small hyper-local park like Baederwood Park in Abington is a perfect location for a practice for us!

Check it out. Are you ready to shred with us? Email us at info at somontcycling dot org if you want to learn more about our team!

Coach Dan talking about the importance of hydration

Coach Thuong overseeing a carry-over drill

Collin charging over the obstacle

Ethan from an interesting perspective

Coach John and Coach Thuong talking thru the ATTACK POSITION during a small downhill of the Circuit Loop