At the beginning of the year, I featured in British Cycling’s #OneInAMillion campaign and I wrote a blog about it at the time (which can be found here: Why I’m supporting British Cycling’s one in a million campaign ). This mentioned being the only female when I completed my first coaching course. For this reason, I was really excited to get involved in the Project 500 #ICanYouCan campaign to help inspire other women to begin coaching.
Why I started coaching
I started coaching when I turned 17 because I was too old to ride the sessions in the holidays which I absolutely loved and one of the coaches at my cycling club recommended completing the Cycling Award for Young Volunteers scheme. This involved a workshop and some volunteering, which I completed through assisting a coach in sessions.
My coaching experience
Since starting helping a coach, I have completed my Level 2 coaching qualification, and 3 different Level 2 discipline-specific courses (in road cycling, track cycling and cyclocross). This has enabled me to coach independently. I also attended the National Talent Camp for young coaches and was a member of the British Cycling National Youth Forum, which gave me the opportunity to interact with other young coaches.
Most of the coaching I do is in the summer holidays at holiday activities. Depending on the number of riders, I either help the coach with one group or take a group of younger riders and complete sessions on different skills. This year, I’ve also done a lot of Learn to Ride activities. One of my favourite events to coach at is the Let’s Ride city rides because it is aimed at people who don’t ride regularly and the small amount of coaching has a large impact on their cycling skills.
📸: Let’s Ride Leicester 2019
I have coached a wide range of riders, from young children on balance bikes learning to pedal, to assisting a coach in a session for the top youth riders in the country. This year, I also helped coach a disability session and got to ride the different types of bikes to help me understand how they work.
What coaching means to me
I love coaching because I get to share the knowledge I have gained through being coached over the years with young riders. I have coached a wide range of abilities and it is very rewarding to see them progress and the sense of achievement they feel.
Why I am supporting #ICanYouCan
The aim of the #ICanYouCan campaign is ‘to highlight that anyone can become involved in coaching, whatever the level, sport and their aspirations’.
When I started cycling, my club had a mix of male and female coaches, of different ages and of different abilities (as riders, although I know that not all coaches participate in the sport). Only looking back do I realise how lucky I am to have so many role models, who have supported and encouraged me, so the thought of sharing my story and inspiring other people is amazing.
For me, the realisation of being ‘outnumbered’ by male coaches came when I was the only female on my first coaching course (although the 2 mentors/ teachers were both female). I was shocked (and then I found the stats and realised it wasn’t a ‘one-off’). Since then, at every other course I’ve been on, there has been at least one other female.
Although I was shocked, I was never put off but I can imagine some people are so hopefully sharing mine and other people’s story will change their opinions.
If I can, you can. And if you’ve decided you want to get involved in coaching cycling, I’d recommend finding a local club and asking coaches there or looking on the British Cycling website (British Cycling coaching) which has a ‘contact us’. I think for coaching cycling, the main option is coaching at children’s sessions because most cycling clubs only offer rides instead of coaching sessions.
For more inspiring stories, follow ‘Project 500’ (@femalecoaches) on Twitter or ‘Project 500 – more women, better coaching’ on Facebook.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions