What is a Minnesota League coach?

Skilled and dedicated Minnesota League coaches are the most important aspect of Minnesota League high school mountain bike teams. A Minnesota League coach puts the safety and overall well-being of their student-athletes as the first priority. Minnesota League coaches are role models and teachers who are open to learning the best practices of youth mountain bike coaching and actively work to hone their leadership skills.

  • No experience is necessary to become an Minnesota League coach.
  • We offer comprehensive training at our Leaders’ Summit event in April.
  • NICA coach’s manuals provide detailed coaching instructions. (These are provided if you attend a Leaders’ Summit.)
  • Tools are available to help coaches succeed.
  • A MN League Coach is licensed through NICA annually.
  • A licensed coach is covered by comprehensive liability insurance provided by the League for the duration of the season, insured by NICA.

The NICA Coaches Licensing Program was introduced to ensure that all Minnesota League student-athletes have adult leaders familiar with the best coaching practices. Licensed coaches are trained in topics that include risk management, team management, ride management and youth sports psychology.

Do you want to be a MN League Coach?

Get involved in the most rewarding time you’ll spend on two wheels.

Start by Volunteering, which is  a great way to get a first-hand look at what managing a team.

Read more on other tabs of this page about

  • Becoming a Coach
  • Licensing and Renewals

Contact Joel Woodward, MN League Coach Manager with any questions. His email isjoelw@minnesotamtb.org The path to becoming an Minnesota League coach generally begins with volunteering for a local team, or attending a Leaders’ Summit.  At a minimum, any adult working with student athletes must obtain a ‘General Volunteer’ license.

From there additional levels of licensing can be obtained through additional training and professional development.

Coach Licensing

The NICA Coaches Licensing Program includes Head Coaches, Assistant Coaches, Ride Leaders and General Volunteer Licenses. All license holders are covered by comprehensive liability insurance provided by the League for the duration of the season. Click here for more information about the NICA Coaches License Program.

Coach Licensing and License Renewal

  • NICA Coaches’ Licensing and License Renewal opens on April 1 of each year in the Pit Zone.
  • Your head coach needs to “invite” you into the PItZone to begin the licensing process.
  • Head Coaches not registered in the Pit Zone should contact the MN League Director to be invited to register as a head coach
  • Coaches that are not associated with teams can still become registered as a coach and work towards one of the 4 coaching licenses but they must contact the Minnesota League Director to do so.

All adults riding with MN League youth must hold a current license to be insured during these sanctioned activities.

Licensing Levels

All coaches are required to obtain an Minnesota League Coaches License at one of four levels:

 General Volunteer    General Volunteer License (GV) Minimum requirement for all adults riding with NICA high school teams.  This license protects volunteers with comprehensive insurance, and protects our youth with background checks.
Ride Leader Rider Leader License (RL)Recommended training level for all adults riding with NICA high school teams in the ride support role.
Assistant Coach Assistant Coach License (AC) Recommended training level for all adults riding the NICA teams in a role beyond just ride support role.
Head Coach  Head Coach License (HC)Required training level for the Head Coaches (or Team Director). All MN League teams are required to have a licensed Head Coach (or Team Director).  Grace periods apply to first year teams.

Click here for more information on the NICA Coaches License Program.

See below to learn which license level works best for your needs.  Each requirement is described below in detail.

Level 1-General Volunteer Level 2-Ride Leader Level 3-Assistant Coach Level 4-Head Coach
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Requirements Requirements Requirements Requirements
  • Annual Coach License Fee
  • Annual Waiver
  • Background Check
  • Concussion Certification
  • Annual Coach License Fee
  • Annual Waiver
  • Background Check
  • Concussion Certification
  • First Aid & CPR
  • 3 Units PDUs
  • 20 Hours Field Work
  • Annual Coach License Fee
  • Annual Waiver
  • Background Check
  • Concussion Certification
  • WFA & CPR
  • 6 Units PDUs
  • 40 Hours Field Work
  • Asst. Coaches Exam
  • Annual Coach License Fee
  • Annual Waiver
  • Background Check
  • Concussion Certification
  • WFA & CPR
  • 9 Units PDUs
  • 80 Hours Field Work
  • Head Coaches Exam


$25 Annual Coach Licensing Fee

When a coach is invited to the Pit Zone they will be prompted to go through a registration process, which includes a $40 Coach License Fee.  We realize coaches are volunteers, and are truly the backbone of a League.  The fee is used to help pay for the insurance and administration cost of managing the program.  When you are a returning coach you will be prompted to update and confirm your registration information.  The fee covers one season.


Agreement to Participate Waiver

(Required Annually)

All coaches and adult volunteers are required to sign and send in an Agreement to Participate waiver each year in order to be covered under the NICA insurance program.  When you register in the Pit Zone you will be directed to a waiver, as well as emailed one.  You can also obtain a waiver with this link: Waiver.  Please email, fax or mail waivers to the following:

– Email Link:  Coach Licensing

– Fax: 510-779-5597

– Mail: NICA, 2414 Sixth St. Berkeley, CA 94710

Background Check

All coaches and adult volunteers are required to successfully complete a background screening through the NICA background screen provider. The background check is a one-time requirement, though a new background check is required if a coach changes teams.

NICA Coach Licensing Outline PDF Document

Concussion Training

As part of the NICA Coach License Program we now require new coaches complete the CDC’s Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports. This is a free, online course available to coaches, parents, and others helping to keep athletes safe from concussion. Please email, fax or mail Certificates of Completion (digital certification the CDC provides once the training has been completed) to the following:

– Email Link:  Coach Licensing Link

– Fax: 510-779-5597

– Mail: 2414 Sixth St. Berkeley, CA 94710

CDC Concussion Training Course

First Aid, Wilderness First Aid (WFA), and CPR

Mountain biking is a sport of inherent risks and injuries can happen away from rapid emergency response. Our license program has high standards for first aid training to ensure NICA student athletes (and fellow coaches) receive well trained care and response when emergencies occur. Various amounts of first aid training are required for a RL, AC and HC licenses.  Here are the First Aid Training Requirements for all levels of NICA coaches.

WFA is the provision of first aid under conditions where the arrival of emergency responders or the evacuation of an injured person may be delayed due to constraints of terrain, weather, and available equipment. Classes may be offered by your local League, or are available through a number of third parties. Contact your local League Director for details and scheduling. Certification lasts for 3 years. Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification also meets this requirement.


Professional Development Units (PDUs)

NICA offers a variety of ways to earn the required PDUs.  Leaders Summit (click here for more information) are the first place a coach should look to earn these credits.  The Risk Management and MTB 101 that are required for some of the license levels are offered during these summits.  Summits are held by the leagues annually (check with your local League Director for more details on scheduling). Topics range from Leadership and Management of a High School Team to Working Successfully with Teenagers to Managing Risk and Maximizing Safety to Creating Appropriate Training Programs, as well as MTB 101: Learn the Skills to Teach the Skills. A Saturday/Sunday Leaders’ Summit is worth 9 units (6 units for seminars, 3 units for MTB 101).

Additional opportunities to earn PDUs come from NICA’s Free Webinars, and other online courses with organizations NICA has partnered up with to provide additional coaching education.

Field Work

Actual hours spent in contact with high school students while engaged in a high school mountain bike program. Various hours of NICA approved field work are required for RL, AC, and HC licenses.



Coaches Exam

The Coaches Exam is a requirement for NICA Assistant Coach and Head Coach Licenses.  Coaches must complete professional development before taking the exam, generally taken at Leaders Summits.  Below are the links to the exam.  Once you have completed the exam you will be emailed regarding whether you have passed or not.  Only take one exam.  If you are working toward a NICA Head Coach License, take the Head Coach Exam.  If you are working toward a NICA Assistant Coach License or NICA Ride Leader License, you may take either exam.  The Head Coach exam is longer and more difficult.



Check out the Educational Resources provided by NICA. Free webinars are offered on topics ranging from information on the NICA Rulebook to How to Start and Manage a HS Team – NICA WEBINAR SERIES SCHEDULE
Be sure to sign up for the Minnesota League Newsletter and stay up to date on Minnesota League events, clinics, camps and news!