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Nov. 20, 2018, 5:55 a.m. -  Shinook

I've experienced the same frustrations as Matt when it comes to coaching. The current state of mountain bike coaching is pretty pitiful, IMO, and it's largely driven by the misunderstanding that being a good/great rider is the only prerequisite for being a great coach. They may be great riders, but they lack the qualities of a good teacher and many of them have been riding so long they've forgotten the most important base fundamentals (they are just muscle memory for them) especially as they apply to complete beginners.  It's evident just about everywhere I've been and with the majority of other coaches I've worked with. You go to an area and the best rider(s) in the area decide they have the opportunity, meaning well, to coach others and help them out. They mean well, they think that their status as a successful racer locally (or even globally) puts them in a place to teach them, but it doesn't. I'd argue that is the least important qualification for being a good coach, rather knowing how to break techniques down in ways people can understand and know how to teach them is more important, along with actually understanding those techniques. The latter seems to be the biggest problem, where riders have been doing something for so long that they can't actually interpret what they are doing on the bike to communicate it or teach it.  Finding a coach is a frustrating experience, I worked with 8-9 others before anyone ever talked about having your weight centered on the bike, applying proper braking technique, and taught true fundamentals. I was frustrated because it felt like something was missing that I just couldn't wrap my head around, but the thousand(s) of dollars I spent on coaching went to waste because they were all teaching me to run before I could walk, some just flat out teaching bad habits that I see taught time and time again. There are companies out there with dozens of coaches on their roster, all with extensive riding backgrounds but next to no teaching qualifications. There is also a lack of real mentorship and 'teach the teacher' programs, except for PMBIA and IMBA (the IMBA program is a joke though and PMBIA needs more resources). So what you end up with is a list of people that think they are great riders, therefore they are great coaches, but they aren't because no one will (or is) telling them they need to work on being a teacher, too.  So yea, I'd say something, but more importantly, be the change you want to see. Go take a PMBIA course and take over doing the clinics or offer your own. You clearly have the background and experience for it, but don't rely on that, rather work on being a skilled teacher and instructor. If you are seeing people consistently do something incorrectly, put yourself in their shoes and try to learn how you can teach them correctly. We need more of that right now and people will see the difference in your area.


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