NICA Appoints Educational Programs Director as Fall Leaders’ Summits Approach
Unprecedented Participation Expected as NICA Takes High School Mountain Biking Coast to Coast
BERKELEY, Calif.—With its annual program of Leaders’ Summits and Wilderness First Aid training courses soon to commence, the National Interscholastic Cycling Association has appointed Austin McInerny to the new position of Educational Programs Director to oversee this rapidly growing area of the association’s work.
McInerny has been a key member of this high school movement since its beginnings in 2001, and is an outstanding youth mentor who is regarded as one of the nation’s leading authorities on coach development for high school cycling programs.
The NICA model has enjoyed great success and is experiencing exponential growth, mainly as a result of providing expanding training opportunities, including teaching coaches the essentials of how to inspire youth and instruct “on-the-bike” skills to novice cyclists.
McInerny said, “We have worked diligently since 2001 to build on our experiences of working with high school student athletes to develop the Leaders’ Summit curriculum, which presents the foundation for responsible and appropriate cycling-specific coaching of young men and women. I am honored to work with NICA and the increasing number of dedicated coaches and volunteers that are helping grow the sport of cycling.”
NICA founder and executive director, Matt Fritzinger, said, “Although we are growing at an astonishing rate, maintaining the high standard of quality for our coaching, teams and races remains the most important goal. Our Leaders’ Summits’ are the hub from which so much energy radiates, and I continue to be amazed by the inspiration and dedication of the coaches attending these summits who go on to deliver these outstanding student programs.”
The NICA program is unique in that it provides the only high school age specific coaching license program in the country with nearly 400 individuals presently licensed at four levels with expanding education opportunities.
As a result of the added responsibilities of working with high school age students, the NICA coaches program has the most stringent requirements of any cycling coaches program in the USA, with requirements like:
- cycling specific wilderness first aid training;
- learning how to teach “on-the-bike” skills to absolute beginners;
- annual continuing eduction;
- training on how to minimize and manage risk;
- mandatory background checks.
The NICA coach curriculum, team model, and race format are integated, each designed to provide for and accommodate the specific aspects and demands of the other components in order to deliver the greatest benefit to student-athletes. Over 1,000 student athletes are coached by NICA coaches, with an average rider to coach ratio of 3:1.
The Leaders’ Summits bring together everyone that is interested in becoming a coach, an assistant coach, parent volunteer, and ride leader to develop skills and knowledge, share strategies, and build the sense of community that forms the fabric of the leagues. They provide opportunities for participants to learn all about the league structures and processes, how to start a mountain bike team, how to work with their schools, issues related to liability, and the unique intricacies of working with high school cyclists.
Summits or wilderness first aid courses will take place this Fall in Colorado, Northern California, Southern California, Texas, and Washington, and are open to coaches in all 50 states.
Attendance at a summit is the first step toward starting a high school cycling club or even building a new high school state league.
Fall line up of Leaders’ Summits and Wilderness First Aid courses:
August 13–14 Wilderness First Aid course
October 22–23: Leaders’ Summit
November 5-6: Leaders’ Summit
Spring Leaders’ Summits are planned for Colorado, Minnesota, Utah and the East Coast. NICA offers travel scholarships to highly motivated individuals who are making progress in developing new state or regional leagues.
About The National Interscholastic Cycling Association
Founded in 2009, The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) is the National Governing Body for grades 9-12 interscholastic mountain biking and fosters the development of high quality competitive cross-country mountain biking programming for high school aged athletes. NICA provides leadership, governance and program support to promote the development of interscholastic mountain biking leagues throughout the United States. NICA exists by virtue of generous donors and sponsors including the founding national sponsor, Specialized Bicycle Components, as well as Easton Foundations, SRAM, Trek Bicycles, Clif Bar and Co., Primal Wear, Shimano, GU Sports, Kinetic, Maxxis, adidas Eyewear, CamelBak, Crank Brothers, Dirt Rag, Feedback Sports, Fort Lewis College, Fox Racing Shox, Mellow Johnny’s, Mountain Bike Action, QBP, Ritchey Designs, WTB, and Yakima. For more information on NICA visit www.nationalmtb.org or call 510.524.5464.
Source: Paul Skilbeck