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Season Three Planning

Coach Leadership Meeting - 9/22/2022


  • Bree

  • Halle

  • Cassie

  • Marcella

  • Shoop

  • Bryon

  • Billy

  • Jacob

Meeting Practice Location

We began by sharing positive things that we like about the current week-day practice location (Bicycle House). That was followed by sharing challenges, risks and concerns that are related to the current week-day practice location. After that we all offered a set of options, other places or other ways that we could manage our week-day practice location. Details follow and the lists are in no particular order.

The current week-day practice/meeting location...

  • is centrally located within Tallahassee

  • allows some student athletes and coaches are able to ride bikes to practice

  • is in close proximity to lower socioeconomic zip codes, which reduces barriers to access for some of our target, underrepresented demographics

  • is at Bike House, who have been a great partner and huge supporter of the team

  • is at Bike House, which have performed quick fixes for bike issues either before or after practice

  • has increased volunteerism, interest / foot traffic, and community growth at Bicycle House

  • has access to water and restrooms

  • offers bike storage, which two student athletes used to reduce transportation complexity

  • exposes the team to a wide range of community members, some of them in demographics that are typically marginalized and often "invisible". This creates the opportunity for coaches to model positive behaviors.

  • requires group rides at every practice, which encourages navigation skills, familiarity with city infrastructure, experience with various routes, and provides an opportunity to practice and model etiquette

  • is in a pretty sheltered area, resulting in relatively low vehicle traffic

  • has been consistent for two seasons, which builds familiarity and confidence

  • has ample parking

The current week-day practice/meeting location is challenging because...

  • meeting and gathering in a parking lot increases risk (asphalt, cars and bikes in the same space)

  • commuting to practice locations increases risk (asphalt, cars and bikes, intersections, etc)

  • some amount of the practice time is a group ride on asphalt, which is not our target, we want to be on trails

  • Bicycle House will be moving at some point in the future, but there is uncertainty around when/where they will be moving

  • every practice requires that we cross some intersections, for example FAMU Way traffic circle when heading west and Adams Street when heading east

  • since a group ride is required for every practice, all practices must conform to the 6:1 or 8:2 coach rider ratio. We've had to cancel practices due to not enough coaches.

  • we often organize twice for each practice, once when we meet, then again when we arrive at the practice location, resulting in less time on the bike

  • we need to ride for about 30 minutes to reach single track and only three trails are within a radius that we can reach

  • it is far enough away from the North Side that we've received feedback that this has been a barrier to access for some families on that side of town

Following are some options that were discussed

  • Continue to meet at Bicycle House and adjust as necessary when they move locations

  • Move the week-day practice/meeting location to a local park

    • Tom Brown Park

    • Governor's Park

    • Myers Park

    • Munson Hills

    • Alford Greenway

    • Miccosukee Greenway

    • Phipps / Forrest Meadows / Redbug area

  • Alternate the week-day practice between multiple locations

Practice Start Times and Durations


  • Lack of light during the first half of the season

  • The 4:30 PM week-day start time presents a challenge for some families due to school and work conflicts

  • The 9:00 AM weekend trail ride start time presents a challenge for some student athletes

  • Ending a practice late (after 8:00 PM) would present a challenge for some families and coaches

  • A 2.5 hour practice when we're not doing a trail ride can feel excessively long

Options / Alternatives

  • Move start time to 5:00 PM and decrease duration to 1 hour for first three months, increasing to 2.5 hours as daylight increases

  • Move trail ride start time to 10:00 AM

  • Use a mix of trail ride start times, some mornings, some afternoons

  • Use a mix of durations throughout the season (longer days for trail rides, shorter for skills/games/free-play)

Start of Practice


  • Risky / inappropriate behavior and unsupervised activities

    • Making jumps

    • Doing wheelies

    • Riding on unsafe infrastructure such as pallets

  • Undiagnosed or missing gear issues

    • Forgotten helmets​

    • No water bottle

    • No lights

  • Service availability​

    • Bathrooms​

    • Water

    • Bike storage or transportation

  • Late arrivals or parents attempting to meet the team in route or on trail

  • Attendance / head count​

Options / Alternatives​

  • Sign-in sheet (instead of a coach taking attendance)

  • Games set up before practice starts, student athletes join in when the sign-in

Developing Leadership in Student Athletes


  • Coach-in-Training (CIT) Program

    • An opt-in group available to any SA with at least two seasons on the team​

    • Can instill a sense of ownership in the practice and leadership on the team

    • CITs will...

      • Lead ABCDE bike check​

      • Demo skills during skill instruction

      • Setup a short course

    • Helps free coaches from routine tasks allowing more time for communication, planning, etc​

Improve Student Athlete Retention


  • Increased focus on NICA Adventure program (relationship development via games)

  • Coach in Training program

  • Consider skills development and/or games during weekend practices (especially early in the season)

Defining a Team Charter

  • Engage student athletes to develop charter

  • We are... / We are not...

  • Write down the ideas, distill them into a "contract" that must be signed

  • Helps hold student athletes accountable for their behavior

  • Reduces the need to explain "why" a behavior is inappropriate; can just refer to the charter

Increasing Coach Leadership


  • Develop a practice plan

  • Encourage coaches to "level up"

  • Provide OTB 101 training here in Tallahassee

  • Provide NICA Adventure training here in Tallahassee

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