Everybody knows what a football coach does, right? Shouting at players from the touchline, sheepskin coat, red face, impending heart attack, retaining the full confidence of the Board then immediately being sacked etc. Tennis coach is pretty easy too. If you’re really successful, it’s your Mum doing mini fist pumps when you win…
Cycling coach. That’s a bit more complicated. If you’re a student of the sport you might see grizzly tracked suited people pacing up and down around a velodrome or guys shouting out the window of a car during the Tour de France. They might be coaches, they might not be. Who knows?
Simply, what I (and many other British Cycling qualified coaches) do is either help groups of riders on a circuit or track to improve their cycling technique, commonly group riding, cornering, attacking, counter attacking etc. and/or provide a program to individual riders that includes technique but majors on how hard, how long and how often you need to ride to achieve your goals. This will vary depending on the time of year and the facilities you have available.
It may include riding on the road and track together with indoor static trainer/rollers work and even, dare I say it, off the bike training on occasion. Equally importantly it will prescribe rest and active recovery – you get fitter when you’re resting, not training. It all depends on what you, the rider, want to get out of your cycling and what spare time you have to dedicate to achieving those goals.
The prescription is pretty detailed stuff – you’ll know every day precisely what you should be doing on and off the bike and when you need to put your feet up. I use a software program called Training Peaks to prescribe training to the riders I coach. It’s a diary system that allows a rider to upload data from their training sessions and events so I can adjust the training as we move along.
A good cycling coach will also be able to advise you on tactics when racing and, to a great or lesser extent, look after your head. To remain motivated and focused whilst training and racing is a really important psychological aspect and, of course, different people respond to different things.
If you want to know more, get in touch.
PS. I’d look awful in a sheepskin coat.
The ramblings of a cycling coach...