Coaches-News-2020
 

Hello you Amazing Coaches!

The fall 2021 season has officially begun across the country! As of June 30th over 22,000 student-athletes are fully registered and practice ready, a 47% increase from this time last year. While last year was anything but normal, that is still a huge increase. I am sure many of you are seeing student athletes' registrations boom as restrictions are eased. This growth is a testament to the work that you all do as coaches everyday. Your work to create inclusive, athlete-centered programs that drive growth and provide opportunities for kids to find the sport of mountain biking. Through mountain biking and your NICA program you are helping the next generation of leaders find out who they are and how to handle adversity. Thank you for doing what you do!

Keep up the good work getting more kids on bikes and thanks for being a coach!
Mike McGarry and the Coach Licensing Team

In This Issues
-Game of the Month - Space Alien Invasion
-Minimum requirements to Coach at Practice
-Petition Process and Considerations
-NICA License Download - How to and Why
-Continental Tire is Getting #moregirlsonbikes!
-New Kit Day with Borah Teamwear!
-People for Bikes
-What Not To Do When Coaching Your Own Child

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Game of the Month - Space Alien Invasion

Gnome CamRock Adventure Ride

We need your images of your teams playing games! Email us at coachlicensing@nationalmtb.org

Where: Open Space
Objective: I can build a positive team culture. I can have fun.
101 Skills: Braking, Bike-Body Separations, Neutral/Ready
Setup: Best for a group of 10 or more. Use four tall cones for boundaries, or landmarks for boundaries. Keep the space small when working on bike handling skills; expand the boundaries to work on fitness. Field sized for number of riders, your best judgment used. All riders are spaceships riding around in the designated area.

Rules: When the coach yells, “invasion” all riders must dismount their bikes, find a partner, and play rock-paper-scissors. The losing side earns one point. Riders re-mount their bikes and continue riding until the next “invasion.” When a rider earns three points they must remain off their bike and stay in one position as space dust until a spaceship tags them in a rescue mission. The game ends after a specific amount of time (4-6 minutes per round) or if all but one rider has become space dust.
Reflection Question: What did you enjoy about the activity? What didn’t you enjoy?

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Minimum requirements to Coach at Practice

As you head into your season, please take a moment to check your NICA Pit Zone profile and make sure your NICA license status is at a minimum Level 1 before you begin participating in activities with your student-athletes, and Level 2 before leading any athletes on the trail. If you have a red exclamation mark next to your name in the Pit Zone, you are missing at least one of the requirements for Level 1 certification and you cannot ride with or coach student-athletes. The minimum requirements to work with NICA student-athletes are as follows:

Pit Zone Registration - Complete your annual registration in the NICA Pit Zone. This includes:
* Signing the participation waiver electronically
* Completing a background check
* Paying your annual NICA membership fee.

Concussion Course - As part of the NICA Coach License Program we require all coaches to complete the NFHS: Concussion in Sports or the CDC Concussion Course annually. Upload your Certificate of Completion (digital certification the CDC or NFHS provides once the training has been completed) directly to your coach license in the NICA Pit Zone.

NICA Coach Courses Completed in Litmos that automatically update in your PitZone profile: You can access your Litmos account by signing into your Pit Zone account and clicking on "Access Coach Courses." Once you have completed the course in Litmos, your results will automatically be reflected in the Pit Zone.

1. NICA Philosophy and Risk Management - All coaches must complete the NICA Philosophy and Risk Management course in Litmos.
2. NICA Coach Licensing Level 1 or above - All coaches must complete the NICA Coach Licensing Level 1 course in Litmos at a minimum. If you are a returning level 2 or 3 coach and you are just maintaining that license level this season you can start at the highest level you completed last year.
3. Athlete Abuse Prevention Training - All coaches must complete the Abuse Prevention Systems Course also in Litmos. The Athlete Abuse Prevention training is required every two years, so if you did it last year you are all set.
1. NICA Philosophy and Risk Management - All coaches must complete the NICA Philosophy and Risk Management course in Litmos.
2. NICA Coach Licensing Level 1 or above - All coaches must complete the NICA Coach Licensing Level 1 course in Litmos at a minimum. If you are a returning level 2 or 3 coach and you are just maintaining that license level this season you can start at the highest level you completed last year.
3. Athlete Abuse Prevention Training - All coaches must complete the Abuse Prevention Systems Course also in Litmos. The Athlete Abuse Prevention training is required every two years, so if you did it last year you are all set.

If you are interested in becoming a level 2 for the first time you will need to attend an On-the-Bike Skills 101 clinic, takefirst aid and CPR certification courses, report a minimum of 20 hours of field work, and complete the NICA Coach Licensing Level 2 Course in Litmos.

If you are interested in becoming a level 3 coach for the first time you will need to attend a NICA Leaders Summit (online or in person), take a NICA Approved First aid course or Wilderness First Aid course, report a minimum of 80 field work hours, and complete the NICA Coach Licensing Level 3 Course in Litmos.

The training that you complete to work with student-athletes means a lot to your athletes, your team, your league, and NICA. Well trained coaches create amazing programs that have the ability to change the lives of the young people that are involved. Coaches matter!
Here is a quick read blog post by friend of NICA John O’Sullivan about the value of volunteer coach training. Why Volunteer Coaches Need to be More Like Volunteer Firefighters

WI Coach Bob at Practice

Being a coach is awesome! Make sure you and your coaches are at least a level 1!

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NICA Category Petition Considerations

Student-athletes are automatically assigned a race category based on their grade level or the results from a previous season. For most athletes the automatically assigned category fits perfectly. For some athletes, there may be a reason to move up a race category to ensure that the athlete has an enjoyable experience that meets their needs for challenge and competency. If you are working with a student athlete that may want to move up a category, think about the following questions.

1. Will moving up a category benefit this student athlete in the long run?

▪ Do they need to move up now?
Do they need to move up now?

2. Will moving up a category be the right fit for them socially?

▪ There are many middle school athletes that develop faster than their peers but they are still young children. Putting them in a race category with 11th and 12th graders can be a big stretch socially and emotionally for younger student-athletes.
There are many middle school athletes that develop faster than their peers but they are still young children. Putting them in a race category with 11th and 12th graders can be a big stretch socially and emotionally for younger student-athletes.

3. Does the student athlete have time to compete at a high level in the future?

▪ For many younger athletes they have many years to compete at a high level and there is no need to push them to a high level when they are younger.
For many younger athletes they have many years to compete at a high level and there is no need to push them to a high level when they are younger.

4. Will moving up increase or decrease the student athletes' grit and perseverance?

▪ Remember to consider long-term athlete development
▪ Early athletic success has very little correlation with future athletic success. Praise and foster grit and perseverance before praising early physical development. Help parents and student athletes understand the idea of long-term development as well.
Remember to consider long-term athlete development
Early athletic success has very little correlation with future athletic success. Praise and foster grit and perseverance before praising early physical development. Help parents and student athletes understand the idea of long-term development as well.

Many leagues require category petitions to be completed early in the season so they can order race plates and determine race schedules. Start to have these conversations with new and returning athletes early in your season to ensure that athletes are placed in the appropriate category. Help them determine which category will meet their goals and help their long-term development as a cyclist. There is typically no need to rush to category upgrades.

MN Costume

MN League - Photo Credit Todd Bauer

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NICA License Download - How to and Why

We are excited to announce that NICA will be transitioning to a new LMS (Learning Management System) from Litmos to Moodle this Summer. During this transition we anticipate that Litmos/Moodle will be down for a short period (2-3 days) as we transition.

*NOTE: This is a simple software change, and will not impact your coaching certifications or change any requirements.

We highly encourage you to download your Coach License Documents prior to August 13th, so that you will have access to any coach benefits, etc.
Here is an easy step-by-step guide to find your coach license.
1. Log into Pit Zone
2. Click on “Download License Document”
3. Save the PDF of your License

Screen Shot 2021-07-13 at 11.40.28 AM
Screen Shot 2021-07-13 at 11.40.46 AM

Coaches can continue to work on the following courses that will not be changing:

Athlete Abuse Awareness Training
OTB
OTB classroom
Leader Summit
First Aid/CPR
Self Report Field work

Coaches should hold off from taking the following courses that will reset or have been replaced:

Concussion training
Student Athlete Coaching Philosophy
Risk Management (1, 2 and 3) - will not be required in 2022
Level 3 Exam - will not be required in 2022

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Continental Tire is Getting #moregirlsonbikes!

Continental is proud to support NICA's Girls Riding Together (GRiT) Program to increase participation of women and girls in mountain biking! Thanks to their support, GRiT Coordinators have been able to host flat tire clinics and other fun activities for GRiT student-athletes. Thank you Continental for providing tires and swag for our GRiT Coordinators across the NICA Community!

Conti GRiT WV

West Virginia GRiT Event

Conti Sunset
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New Kit Day with Borah Teamwear!

There is nothing better than NEW KIT DAY!! At Borah Teamwear - they make it easy to order rad, Made-in-the USA, custom cycling apparel for your team. Their customer service is some of the best in the biz and they'll walk you through the entire ordering process; from free design to their unique fit guarantee, Borah ensures you get amazing team kits on time for your season! Borah is proud to be an official NICA Sponsor. Look Pro -- Ride Strong!

park-city1

Park City, Utah Team!

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People for Bikes

If you have interest in bike advocacy beyond NICA, we encourage you to check out the great resources of our long-time partner PeopleForBikes, whose mission is to get more people riding bikes more often, and to make bike riding better for everyone. Like NICA, PeopleForBikes is committed to all kids accessing, experiencing, and developing a lifelong love of bicycling, and every month they have articles about youth cycling resources and research (here), including a recent article on how bike shops support NICA teams. Thank you, PeopleForBikes, for your support and partnership!

people4bikes-stacked

People for Bikes

7 Things Not To Do When Coaching Your Own Child

OR Cow Bells

Something you don't need to avoid is cow bells! Photo: Oregon Leauge

Coaching your child's team or coaching your child in an individual sport can be an extremely difficult task, albeit an incredibly rewarding one. It's not a position that should be taken lightly, and there are a few things to remember before you start.

Here's what a group of TrueSport experts and coaches want you to avoid.

Don't coach unless you actually want that responsibility
Too many parents casually sign up to coach without realizing what they're getting into. Before you offer to coach your child's team, get clear on why you want to do it—and have a conversation with your child about if that's something they even want.

"To set yourself up for success, start by reflecting on why you are coaching this team in the first place," says TrueSport Expert and President of Now What Facilitation, Nadia Kyba, MS. A social worker and expert in conflict resolution, Kyba encourages parents to consider their motives: "Is it because volunteerism is one of your core values? Are you hoping to give your child their best shot at an athletic scholarship? Is it to become closer with your child by spending more time together? There are no right or wrong answers, but the key is to be aware of the reasons and to ensure they make sense in relation to your relationship with your child. Be careful not to get caught up in the ‘win at all cost’ mentality that can put a strain on your relationship."

Don't bring your bias to practice
"Be aware of your bias around your child when you are making decisions, such as starting line-ups, practice times, and captaincy decisions," says Kyba. "If you haven’t checked your bias, parents, athletes, and your own child will be sure to pick on decision-making that is not sound." Bias can take shape in two ways: You may find you're tempted to favor your child and put them in the limelight, or you may notice that you actually shy away from putting your child in the starting lineup despite their skill. If you're not sure about where your bias lies, consult with an assistant coach, and above all, be open to feedback.

"To be a critical thinker, it can help to ask questions, gather information, and reflect on the decisions and judgments you have made," Kyba adds. This means throughout the entire season, regularly reflect on the progress of all the athletes on the team, including your child. And make sure that your child isn't changing your impression of their teammates. "Are you viewing a player on the team through the lens of a story your daughter told at dinner last night, or putting together lineups that support friendship groups because that’s what your son wants?" Kyba asks. Those seemingly minor biases can impact your ability to coach a team well.

Don't bring coaching home, or bring parenting to the game
"After a game, in the car driving home, an average parent can talk about the game with their kid. But as a parent and a coach, I actually try to leave the coach persona on the ice and talk about other stuff on the way home," says hockey coach Greg Krahn, the latest TrueSport Coach Award winner. "If my kids bring up the game while we're in the car, great, we'll talk about it. But I won't bring it up. I try to view that as family time instead. I'm a dad in the car, not the coach trying to relive the game. Having that separation is important."

Krahn notes that the reverse is true as well: “Now, the other side of that is that when we are on the ice, I'm not Dad, I'm Coach. I tell my kids to refer to me as Coach at practice instead of Dad to create that boundary, and to help assure the other players that my kids don't get treated any differently."

Don't use criticism as a "learning tool"
"Remember that reinforcement is meant to increase behavior whereas punishment is designed to decrease behavior - and reinforcement is always more powerful than punishment," says TrueSport Expert Kevin Chapman, PhD, clinical psychologist and founder of The Kentucky Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders. This is especially important for parent-coaches to understand, since it can impact your relationship with your child at home in addition to on the field. "The risk you run in criticizing your student-athlete—punishing him or her—is that they may increasingly equate their performance with their identity and presume your love is contingent upon their performance.” You can offer guidance and advice, but try to avoid criticism in favor of productive, proactive suggestions.

Don't forget your athlete's feelings
It can be easy to assume that your child enjoys having you coach his or her team. It's also easy to be so focused on treating everyone on the team fairly that you actually end up treating your child worse than the other kids on the team! "Check in regularly with your child. How do they feel about having you coach? Are they happy about it? Are there aspects that they like and others they don’t? Consider adjustments based on their feedback," Kyba advises.

Don’t expect to coach them forever
Kyba also reminds parents that coaching your kid shouldn't last forever. "Have a plan for how they will tell you if they no longer want you to coach. It may hard for them to tell you this, and they may worry about hurting your feelings," she notes. "But often as kids get older and are seeking independence—which is developmentally natural—they no longer want a parent-coach. They prefer to keep their family and sport lives separate. When they say it’s time for a change, accept this with grace and thank them for their honesty. Now it’s time to be their biggest fan from the sidelines."

If you're not the coach, don't coach
Right now, many parents have found themselves taking on a facilitator/coach role while school sports are put on hold due to the pandemic. If you're reading this article because that's the situation you're in, board-certified family physician and TrueSport Expert Deborah Gilboa, MD, urges you to remember that in this case, you're not the coach and shouldn't be "coaching" your athlete.
"During the pandemic, as parents, we have tried really hard to not become our children's teachers, but to support their learning. The same is true of their athletic goals." Rather, you should be helping them organize their practice sessions, helping where needed, and relying on the team's coach to provide instruction for practice.

Takeaway
Coaching your own child is a serious responsibility and there are undoubtedly things NOT to do when taking on this role. Use these expert tips when determining if and how to become your athlete’s coach.

About TrueSport

TrueSport®, a movement powered by the experience and values of the U.S. Anti-
Doping Agency, champions the positive values and life lessons learned through youth sport. TrueSport inspires athletes, coaches, parents, and administrators to change the culture of youth sport through active engagement and thoughtful curriculum based on cornerstone lessons of sportsmanship, character-building, and clean and healthy performance, while also creating leaders across communities through sport.

For more expert-driven articles and materials, visit TrueSport’s comprehensive
LEARN resource.

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