UKBike skills coaching day
I couldn’t hit jumps on my bike! It was becoming quite embarrassing. Pretty much all my friends could hit doubles and I was taking the chicken run or nose diving every time. I had to do something about it. After taking a course from another supplier, I was trying everything I was told. Compress the suspension, heels dipped all of that. Still couldn’t jump! I thought I’d never be able to do it so I thought I’d try again and contact UKBikeSkills. Tony had received great reviews on social media so I thought I’d contact him and book on a 1-2-1 day course.
UKBikeSkills is based in Stevenage, Hertfordshire and the coaching complex is comprehensive enough to cover everything a rider would need. From jumps and drops to cornering and Northshore. Tony has been coaching for well over a decade and has a great manner and is good at breaking down the skills required to put technique into practice on the trail.
Tony started by giving a lesson in forgetting everything that had been told before. He wanted a clean slate to work with so poor technique is forgotten. Within 15-20 minutes he was evaluating the riding and not only explaining what needed to be worked on but showing what needed to be done using videos and photos to break down the action.
The first part of the day was spent on drops and jumps. Tony offered an explanation on the physics of jumping and analysis of my technique. He then moved on to demonstrating the correct action and asking me to follow. The instructions were given in small bursts and followed a less is more philosophy. Rather than giving a lot of mind blowing information, there was a focus on fine detail. This allows the student to relax and get into what is known in sport psychology as ‘in flow’. Pretty soon all jumps of various sizes were being hit confidently with proper technique.
The second part of the day was looking at cornering. Once again tony spent time explaining how to corner, followed by an evaluation on cornering technique. The skills taught had me railing consecutive berms at speed in the wet getting the bike down lower than I had before.
Using a guided discovery method of teaching, Tony asks questions to help the student find the answer rather than just spoon feeding information. This technique is known to help the student understand the ‘why’ rather than just having a knowledge.
Last but not least, there is an emphasis and coaching on the psychological side of riding, something I felt was neglected on other courses previously completed. Having done a degree in sports management, I feel this was one of the most important aspects of the day as it allows the student to gain perspective on their mental state whilst riding and how much they should push themselves.
Overall, I feel that anyone who wants to seriously improve any aspect of their riding should consider booking a course with UKBikeskills. The training area is reserved for the individual or the group that book so you can concentrate solely on what you are doing as opposed to making sure you get off the trail. There is also a wide variety of training areas for riders of all abilities to work on and having done other courses previously, I found Tony’s methods to be much more concise and improvements were greater with less effort. Unfortunately, you wont arrive a weekend warrior and leave a pro, but you will have all the tools needed to progress and put the skills learnt into practice away from the training area.
Prices start from £135 per rider for a group of 6 to £260 for a 1-2-1 day. Whilst some may find this price a little expensive, from experience, the course was worth the money. All pricing info is available at ukbikeskills.co.uk as well as dates for public sessions and contact details.
Written by Lorien Gordon