Are you considering brushing up your skills?
At Pure Mountains, we offer guiding on all our trips and we are very happy to give technical hints and tips. For more structured, technical instruction, you might want to think about mountain bike skills coaching. We asked Pro Ride's Olly Morris for his thoughts.
Don't forget that Olly will be at Pure Mountains again in October 2020 for his annual Skills Coaching Course.
"Mountain bike skills coaching has been growing in popularity over the past few years. As the sport has become more attractive with the introduction of Enduro riding, more riders are getting involved. They catch the bug and realise that learning how to ride properly can make mountain biking even more enjoyable.
I love how accessible MTB is. As long as you can ride on the road, it’s possible to just give it a go and start riding off-road on basic trails. However, riding off-road is a technical sport, that requires many specific movements to be programmed, in order to do it confidently. So, some quality coaching can really help to build these movements and to enable riders to progress and to increase the technicality of the trails that they can ride.
What type of coaching is there?
There are many different mountain bike coaching companies out there. It is important to find a company that is reputable, respected and experienced. At Pro Ride, we offer a suite of courses for different levels of rider, with varying riding aims. Some people want support to get started, some people want to learn key techniques such as jumping or cornering and others want to improve their race craft.
Many companies will offer either group or 1:1 training and both have their benefits. Courses are great, as the riders on them are really supportive of each other’s needs. 1:1 sessions are useful as we can bespoke the training specifically for the rider.
What can you expect?
We always kick off our sessions by doing introductions and bike checks. This means that the group members are comfortable, that everyone understands safety and that the bikes are ready to ride. We aim to keep riders safe, to make sure they are enjoying themselves and to help them to improve their riding skills.
Different coaching companies will coach in a variety of ways, but we believe in being more than ‘instructors’. We will move from giving direct advice to using drills to help riders realise what they need to do differently. We also try not to be too formulaic: if someone needs to do a skill slightly away from the ‘textbook’, but is achieving the desired outcome, then we have a win.
Be ready to see yourself on camera! This is one of the most powerful parts of coaching as it gives riders self-awareness of how they are riding. The amount of time, even with my own learning, where I think I am doing something, but when I look back on video, I realise I am not even close. The camera never lies, so it is an important part of the coaching process.
Expect, plan, and hope for repetition. With mountain biking being a technical skill, it is super-important that riders get the chance to practise. Some fire road drills are needed to build certain techniques but, where possible, we like riders to ‘learn on the job’ by getting them on the trail to build their ability. This is more real and keeps it interesting for the riders.
After the session, we send some of the video clips to the riders. This gives them the opportunity to watch back what they were or weren’t doing and to carry on their progression on their own.
If you are interested in MTB coaching, we would advise you to find your desired coaching company and if you are in any doubt of which course to do, contact them and ask which course is most suited for your riding level."
Co-owner and Coach