top of page

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

10 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

We're gearing up to start the third season of the Tallahassee Thunder youth mountain biking team! Who's excited? --> Begin the registration process here! <-- We worked really hard over the offseason t

bottom of page