What is one thing that you wish you knew when you started coaching?
Not to let the word “Coaching” sound intimidating. Coaching is helping the team. You don’t need to be an experienced MTB rider to contribute to the success of a student athlete, be supportive of their goals, or help the team on a practice day or set up on a race weekend. If you are at every practice, and every race then you’re already ½ way there.
Passionate and dedicated coaches are the most important aspect of Missouri Interscholastic Cycling League mountain bike teams. The first priority of a Missouri League coach is the safety and overall well-being of their student-athletes. NICA-licensed coaches are role models and teachers who are open to learning the best practices of youth mountain bike coaching and actively working to hone their leadership skills.
Coaches quickly learn that volunteer coaching a NICA team can be a lot of work yet perhaps one of the most rewarding experiences of their lifetime. Many coaches report improved personal well-being and fitness after just one season. Many coaches echo the sentiment:
“I thought I was doing this all for the kids, but it turned out I benefited perhaps more than the kids, with regular practices and leadership opportunities.”
How do I become a NICA Coach?
Can you ride a bike?
Do you want to help get MO kids on bikes?
NO PRIOR COACHING EXPERIENCE IS NECESSARY!
The Missouri Interscholastic Cycling League will provide all the NICA risk management and best practice training you’ll need to jump right in and start coaching a team. Coach training events are held throughout the year, including an annual leaders summit and on the bike skills clinics.
How do I get started?
All NICA coaches start with NICA License Level 1 and take it one step at a time throughout the year as opportunities arise to complete additional requirements. The minimum requirement to ride with/coach students is NICA License Level 1 as per NICA “Safe Kids Policy”.
- Find a team in your area with which to volunteer
- You may try out one NICA event before you are required to become a licensed coach. You must complete a one day waiver.
- Email your head coach to receive your login information to begin your training
- Join our Coaches group on Facebook
- Check out NICA’s Coach Licensing Program for NEW and RETURNING coaches
NICA has three levels of coach licenses that will prepare you to assume different roles within your team. All NICA coaches start with NICA License Level 1 and take it one step at a time throughout the year as opportunities arise to complete additional requirements. The minimum requirement to ride with/coach students is NICA License Level 1 as per NICA’s “Safe Kids Policy”.
|Coaching Activity:||Level 1||Level 2||Level 3|
|Assist with off-bike team activities (coordinator, social, fundraising)||✔||✔||✔|
|Ride with the team in a supporting role (sweep or float)||✔||✔||✔|
|Lead a team ride||✔||✔|
|Teach On-the-bike Skills||✔||✔|
|Plan a practice||✔|
For instructions on how to Level up, see our Coach Licensing Page.
The Missouri Interscholastic Cycling League operates a Fall sport based race series schedule:
April – August: Registration for Missouri League teams happens in April. At this time anyone who intends to coach a team should register with the League so that they are covered under our insurance. League teams are limited to the number of weeks they can have pre-season practice. In addition, teams are not to practice as a NICA Team or are insured outside of these limits.
April 1 – June 30: Pre-season activities can commence limited activities on April 1st. Allowable pre-season activities are bike checks, fun rides, mechanical workshops or skills clinics. Between April 1 – and June 30, teams are allowed to have up to 6 scheduled pre-season activities. These activities must be approved by the League director and comply with NICA training limits.
July 1- October 31: Regular season training practice (2-4 times a week) can commence on July 1. All team rides or other training activities must end within two weeks of the final League race. A more detailed description can be found in the rulebook (PDF)
Start talking with other people you think would be good coaches and build your relationships!
The total 2023 season fee for new coaches is $63. The total 2023 season fee for returning coaches is $36. This fee covers:
- Annual NICA fee ($25)
- Background check requirement ($38 new coaches; $11 returning coaches)
- Insurance during practices, special events, pre-rides, and races
- The Coach and Leadership Retreat
- OTB 101
- Training webinars and opportunities in Moodle
- Access to numerous resources through NICA’s industry connections, including discounts on products
- Risk management best practices
- The how-to’s of starting a team and working with middle and high school students
- And MUCH more!
Coach scholarships are available! Apply here.