Bike body separation, friendly competition, and a catchy bit of music make for a memorable team game. How low can you go? Have two coaches hold a long thin object such as a pool noodle, webbing, broom handle, or a rod of bamboo (for authenticity). Riders form a line and try to ride under the object one at a time.
For our spring leagues in the midst of race season, a scavenger hunt can be a great mid-week change to your practice routine. It can make a trail system that you’ve ridden dozens of times feel like a new experience. A scavenger hunt or full-team on-trail game can break up race prep or help your athletes take a rest after a weekend of racing.
Use “The Impossible Climb” at practice after you have taught all of NICA’s 101 climbing skills, and have given your student-athletes an opportunity to attempt a challenging climb that you designed. You will want to be intentional about using the name “impossible climb.” This name gives your riders permission to make mistakes and acknowledges that failure is part of the fun.
Many of us grew up riding bikes in our neighborhoods with friends. Maybe we built jumps or rode all the way to the local gas station for a snack. No one was telling us how to play or what to play. We made up our own rules. Research has found that these types of free play experiences foster social skills, and inherently demand some form of inclusion. They promote lifelong, intrinsic motivation for sport participation.