Wednesday, December 29, 2010

How to be a Cycling Coach in US

Yesterday i wrote about cycling coaching course in Australia. How about the country produce cycling legend and most winning Tour de France yellow jersey, Lance Armstrong? Today I'm sharing with you the course in the US.

The USA Cycling coaching certification structure is a three tiered program. Each level requires certain standards to be met as outlined below. It needs to be said that even within a level of certification there are differences in terms of educational background, experience and interests. While the higher levels certainly provide additional education to the coach, the right coach for you in terms of coaching should be the most important feature. Some level 3 coaches have 20 years of experience and have coached many successful athletes. The certification process merely tells the athlete that the coach has completed certain requirements to attain that level of certification. Coaches pay an annual fee and completed continuing education units to maintain the coaching license.

USA Cycling is committed to improving the quantity and quality of cycling coaching in the United States so that our athletes have the best coaching in the world available to them.

The USA Cycling coaching education philosophy is that coaching encompasses more than merely writing a training program that tells the athlete how far to ride, how fast and how often. Coaching involves developing the whole cyclist including teaching skills, strategy and tactics, etc. USA Cycling recommends that an athlete looking for a coach consider these factors. USA Cycling coaching education also believes that having a coach with whom you can meet on a regular basis and who can watch you on a bike is a superior opportunity to develop an athlete-coach relationship. USA Cycling also recognizes that this may not be practical for all athletes.

A coach holding any of the certifications may be a full-time coach. Most certified coaches work a "day job" and coach on the side.

USA Cycling firmly believes that coaches should be paid professionals and that athletes should expect to pay for coaching services.

The level 3 coach is the entry level certification. Coaches complete a home study course and take an exam. Level 3 serves as an introduction to coaching cyclists.

The level 2 coach is the next level of certification. To attain this level, a coach must have passed the level 3 certification exam and must have attended a weekend long clinic and pass the level 2 coach exam. The 2.5 day clinic covers communication skills, periodization, training plan design, nutrition/hydration and some tactics/strategy along with other topics.

The level 1 coach is the highest level of certification. The coach seeking this level of certification must have been a USA Cycling level 2 coach for at least 5 years and attend a multiday (usually 5.5 day) certification clinic. The clinic covers training plan design, overtraining, using altitude for training, etc. The Level 1 coach is considered by USA Cycling capable of taking teams to international competitions to represent the United States or USA Cycling. They must also pass a comprehensive examination.

USA Cycling added a specialty certification of Certified Power Based Training Coach. Only level 2 and level 1 coaches are eligible to take this certification exam. The coach completing the certification process has demonstrated a solid foundation of the principles of training with a power measuring device.

As the bottom line, I would like to highlight the application of recent sports science findings and the using of measurement devices (heart rate, power output etc) as their tools in coaching. These elements always differentiate the coaches abilities to 'read' and 'design' their valuable riders. Perhaps, Malaysian coaches know how to use, analyse and inter-prete rider heart rate after uploaded into their lappie.

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