Let me start with gratitude. If you’re reading this, you are either considering coaching or returning to coach this year. Thank you so much for your gift of service. I say this all the time and it’s worth saying again and again. Coaching is a gift we give to our communities and to our future. Thank you!

As there are so many questions about getting started as a coach, I offer a basic primer on what to do to get yourself ready to coach.

The coach license for the Minnesota High School Cycling League is coordinated through the National Interscholastic Cycling League. You, as a Minnesota coach, will have the same training as coaches from all over the country.

This link : http://www.nationalmtb.org/coaches-license-program/ has all the elements and supporting information you need to obtain a Level 1, 2, or 3 coaching license.

Why are there 3 levels?

There are many activities and roles to be performed for a team, requiring differing levels of skill and knowledge. Coaches work toward the education level that best suits the role they choose to fill for the team.

Level 1

Level 1 is minimum necessary to ride with the team. A Level 1 coach is a general helper to the level two and three veteran coaches. You will learn the ropes and can make a meaningful contribution to the team. This experience will help you determine if you would like to pursue the other coaching levels. This license doesn’t take long to complete.

The Level 1 requirement list below provides a basic understanding of the core principals and goals of the league, the safety and protection of the riders, and the basic paperwork for insurance.

Level one requirements:
Participation Agreement for 2017
Coach License Membership Fee for 2017
Background check
CDC Heads up for Training for 2017
Risk Management 1 for 2017
While not required highly recommended:
NICA Student-Athlete Coaching Philosophy
Single Track High, a documentary about the NICA: https://vimeo.com/95958080

Level Two

Level 2 coaches really get in the game. Level 2 coaches lead rides, run drills, teach skills and actively coach kids. Roles include:

Ride Leader: This literally means you ride at the front of the group, and exemplify good riding skills and ensure proper safety while fulfilling the objectives of that day’s training plan. Excellent ride leading establishes the teaching environment that promotes our core values: strong mind, strong bodies and strong character through cycling. The student athletes will literally be looking at you to show them what these core values mean.
Assistant Coach: This aspect includes developing skills and drills, and organizing and running portions of the team. For instance, you may be organizing and leading a group of more advanced riders throughout the season. Another assistant coach may be focused on coordinating skills instruction. And last but not least, the assistance coach will assist the head coach with administrative activities related to your specialty.

Level Two requirements:
Same as level 1 (above)
Additional requirements for Level 2:
NICA Student-Athlete Coaching Philosophy
Risk Management 2 for 2017
First Aid
• CPR Certification
Field Work – 20 hours required
• NICA On-the-Bike Skills Training (formerly MTB 101)
Continuing Education Units (CEU)

While not required a highly recommended video for your review:
Single Track High, a documentary about NICA: https://vimeo.com/95958080

Level Three

Level 3 is the most intensive training offered and required by the league. Those desiring the role of head coach will likely seek and draw upon applicable training and experience from related fields and organizations, due to personal interest and commitment.
The head coach,
· Exemplifies the pursuit of personal growth, the betterment of one’s self, and is the embodiment of strength of mind, body, and character
· Sets and demonstrates cultural norms and expectations for everyone in the organization
· Coordinates of every aspect of the team
· Leads strategically for all activities, but may delegate them throughout the team
· Sets team objectives and designs team programs

Level Three requirements:
Same as level 2 (listed above).
Additional requirements for Level 3:
Risk Management 3 for 2017
First Aid – WFA or equivalent required
Field Work– 80 hours required
Level 3 Exam
• NICA Leader Summit 1 Day
Continuing Education Units (CEU): 9 units required


Joel Woodward
Minnesota High School Cycling League Coaching Director
joelw@minnesotamtb.org