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Coaching with Games: PART 1

Welcome to our 3-part Coaching with Games series! We’ll highlight skills, methods, and best practices for using games with your teams.
As NICA coaches, we know that fun is an essential part of learning and whole-athlete development. Here’s how you can become a pro at COACHING WITH GAMES!

Coach Education Department 2024

NICA’s Coach Education team exists to support a network of thousands of volunteer coaches across the country in their work to develop youth through the sport of mountain biking. NICA’s comprehensive coach education program and resources provide coaches with the skills, knowledge, and abilities to be confident and effective leaders and role models who build strong minds, bodies, character, and communities through cycling. In 2024, we’re welcoming several new faces to the team. Meet your Coach Education staff and learn about their experiences and the path that led them to NICA!

Alumni Invite Letter

Coaches, we need your help. Can you share the NICA ALUMNI NETWORK with your graduating athletes? Here’s an easy email template you can use to send a note to graduating seniors and their families. Help us continue to build a thriving cycling community, beyond our teams and leagues!

Meet Gwen: NICA Alumna and Coach

NICA Alumni Gwen Sepp is an Alumni Network founder’s circle member, a NICA coach, president of her University’s cycling club, and an avid volunteer for cycling-related organizations. Her journey as a NICA athlete helped her realize the importance of a growth mindset, and allowed her to plug into the cycling community post-graduation, where life on two wheels opens doors and provides fulfillment both personally and professionally.

MEET THE COACH: Jill Bradley

Jill Bradley, a powerhouse coach, staff, and leader from the Idaho Interscholastic Cycling League, is this month’s MEET THE COACH feature! Learn about Jill and her best relationship-centered advice for NICA athletes and coaches.

Team Expansion Playbook

It can be scary and intimidating to split a large and successful team. Splitting a growing team can be a really good thing! It means that you’ve created something so amazing that it needs to grow. NICA’s new Composite Team Expansion Playbook helps guide you through team growth and helps teams understand when and how to split their teams.

Design a kit with Borah Teamwear

Designing a team kit is a process that can be both exciting, fun, creative…and maybe a bit daunting. Teams have so many choices to make when it comes to vendors and types of kits. And, design options are literally endless! NICA partner Borah Teamwear works with hundreds of NICA teams across the country (in addition to their many other clients) to make the team kit process as simple as possible. Borah offers discounted pricing exclusively for NICA teams, has a wide variety of kit styles and options, plus they provide full-service design support, easy online ordering, and even a size guarantee to ensure your riders end up with the right fit!

In an open field, a cyclist rides past the camera, while another cyclist behind them rides underneath a limbo stick while balancing on their bike.

Adapting Games at Practice

Games increase fun, joy, and skill development. Allowing our athletes to play supports connection to their teammates and the sport of mountain biking. Coaches work in a dynamic environment, and your games will often need to be revised or adapted. Making a change doesn’t mean that you did something wrong, or that it was a bad game. It is essential to adapt activities to ensure that athletes are having fun and experiencing the right level of challenge.

Training Zones & Injury

Injuries are common during athletic activities, including sports like mountain biking. As coaches, we know crashes are inevitable and that part of our duty is to try and mitigate risk as much as possible. We can use training zones to help us manage these risks thoughtfully.

FOOT Down

This classic game with endless creative progressions can help athletes learn balance, coordination, ratcheting, and ultimately, track stands. How does your team play foot down?

Brain Injury Awareness

March is brain injury awareness month, a great reminder for coaches to refresh their knowledge on concussion protocols and training. Check out these concussion-specific resources and tools to ensure you’re doing everything you can to keep athletes safe and healthy.