Joel Woodward

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.

Pre-ride communication

  • 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.