Contributed by Joel Woodward
Here are a few check lists and reminders for keeping practice moving smoothly and safely.
Early in the season, late in the day: The first practices of the season are instrumental in laying a foundation and forms the first impressions for the coaches and athletes. Take time to get to know everyone and settle into some norms. A little extra time now pays off in the long haul.
Note of caution: Long demanding practices in the early season are not recommended for inexperienced riders or riders with little training this season. The practice may be overwhelming and fatigue them to a point of risking a crash.
Items to consider in those first few practices:
- Establish procedures
- Set behavioral expectations of riders and coaches
- Determine fitness levels
- Early season training levels of the riders will likely vary widely. Accommodating all the riders will keep everyone safe and off to a good start.
Equipment preparation is important. Don’t forget:
- Extra water and food
- First aid kit that matches your level of training
- A communication device suitable to practice area
- Emergency contact and medical information for volunteers and student athletes
- Tubes, tire levers, quick link multi-tool, quick links for various chain sizes, and pump
- Map of riding area ( if unfamiliar with the area)
The student’s list includes:
- A functioning bike, checked by a mechanic
- Undamaged and properly fitted helmet
- Clothing appropriate for the ride
- Two water bottles or a hydration pack
- Snacks to sustain the athlete through the entire practice
- Blinking red light if commuting to or from practice
- Medications to be self-administered. Ride leaders also will check to ensure athletes have appropriate medications.
- Head Coaches brief Ride Leaders and General Volunteers
- Pre-ride team meeting to go over the plan for the day
- Ride Leaders check in with student-athletes
- Ride Leaders and a General Volunteer lead the ride or activity
And oh yeah, have fun!
Have some fun out there.