Certification Becoming the Standard for Mountain Bike Skills Coaches
March 8, 2011
Mountain Bike skills instructor certifications like BetterRide’s and IMIC’s (International Mountain Bike Instructor Certification) are helping elevate and ensure the quality of coaching in the sport.
BetterRide has been training and certifying coaches to teach its standardized curriculum of core skills progression for over 10 years. 18 such coaches have taught the curriculum to over 1900 riders since 1998. In 2010, IMIC joined BetterRide in offering certification programs to prospective skills coaches in the U.S., offering 4 levels of certification.
“I am definitely in favor of certifications and designations for coaches” says Gene Hamilton, coaching legend and founder of BetterRide. “Mountain Bikers know a coach can’t be called ‘BetterRide Certified’ unless they are trained and accomplished at teaching and demonstrating our standardized curriculum of core skills progression. This ensures that a student never winds up with a coach just ‘winging it’, or hoping to simply ‘wow’ you with their riding. Certification is an excellent tool for quality control in our growing field.”
A BetterRide certification ensures that coaches are trained to teach BetterRide’s curriculum, which was created by Gene Hamilton, and certified coaches including former World Champions Greg Minaar, Sue Haywood, and Marla Streb.
“The certification process definitely made me a better coach.” Says Chip MacLaren, “I had to demonstrate proper technique in drills and articulate mastery of the curriculum to be certified.”
Students feel the difference, too. “The course was obviously very well planned out and Dylan related it fluently” said Michelle Lee who studied with BetterRide certified coach Dylan Renn in Northern California. Many students travel to the U.S. to take advantage of structured skills coaching. “It is refreshing to find someone who understands their field well enough to be able to deconstruct difficult and often hard to pinpoint concepts. The content was well-organized into different sections, and logically progressed from foundational skills (like body position and braking) to more difficult skills (like cornering)” said Tracy from Canberry, Australia.
As North American Mountain Biking catches up to other sports and regions in recognizing the value of structured skills coaching, more students will want a way to evaluate a program before signing up. Certifications like BetterRide’s and IMIC’s allow mountain bikers to find feedback and reviews from former students and make a more educated decision before investing their time and money to improve skills.
BetterRide is skills coaching, not fitness training. Coaching sessions range from two hour clinics to three day camps across the US and abroad. BetterRide was founded by Gene Hamilton. With over 20 years of coaching experience including 12 years coaching mountain biking skills, Gene and his certified coaches get you riding your best. Gene is a licensed USA Cycling Expert Coach whose career highlights include coaching over 1,500 riders who just want to get better. He is passionate about coaching, riding and helping others reach their goals. A pretty good racer too, in 16 seasons as a pro racer he has won a Silver (2002) and two Bronze Medals (2006, 1999) at the UCI World Masters Championships. Camp schedules and rider reviews: www.betterride.net or email firstname.lastname@example.org
In 2009, two-time World Masters Downhill Champion and CMIC Master Coach, Shaums March, acquired the CMIC program’s intellectual property and copyrights. Since then, March has expanded the course offerings and made them available outside of Canada, thereby establishing the International Mountain Bike Instructor Certification (IMIC). The IMIC builds on the same standardized theories and guidelines to now offer four (4) levels of certification: Ride Leader, Instructor, Coach and Master Coach. To obtain certification an individual will need to meet the requirements of the certification level, successfully complete the class, and pass both a written and practical test. For additional information on the IMIC program please visit www.beimic.com.