Bigfoot hunting new skills

I coached Steve last year and this time he returned to advance his own riding but also brought Janet, Simon and Dan along with him to share the session. I began with the skills check and found some great habits, covered up by missing skills. I made a set up change here too and then it was just a case of applying the physical skills in techniques out on the trails. Oh and did I mention the mental skills needed a tweak too!
I demonstrated the drop technique and they quickly moved through all 3 drops and even began styling it too. Next I worked on linking drops and corners and the required control areas and line choice. The 6ft tabletop and gap followed and they all rode the gap jump slower than they thought possible and styled it in some cases also.
We took a break and it wasn’t long before they were riding the pump and jump trail and choosing when and why to jump or pump and linked the 2 berms at the end to carry enough speed to all ride the 7ft ladder gap after it. I worked on manuals and why this applies in situations on a trail too. They were all buzzing so I moved them on to the 9ft gap. Now they applied their mental skills and  they lads all rode it one by one followed by Janet, who was cautious at first but once she sorted her approach and line she sailed it. They then all started riding it in a line from the top of the hill, linking all sections above and even the ladder drop was rode by Steve and Simon before ending in the 9ft gap.
They were now mentally tiring fast but not before I had demonstrated the 12ft tree gap jump to which Janet declined due to tiredness and the lads all rode with amazement written all over their faces.
 What a session to end an amazing week of ukbikeskills coaching.

Jenn and Stu’s skills session

 Jenn and Stu arrived for their session after staying at the local recommended b+b and were fresh and ready to roll. I began with the skills check and found two proficient riders  that had 2 skills missing, looking and body positioning. A set up change to Jenn’s bike made a world of difference and off we went to a cornering drill to enhance the body corrections. From there, we moved to the drop technique and it wasn’t long before they were riding the largest 3ft drop and Stu was even starting to style it also.
 I then moved straight to jumping as I could see that physically they both were ready and only a mental skills tweak was needed before they were both clearing the 6ft tabletop, Jenn’s 1st ever and Stu was comfortably riding the gap jump side too.
 We took a break and resumed with carrying speed through berms and again Stu upped his game by riding and styling the 7ft ladder gap that came after as he now could carry enough speed through the turns to do so.
Next, on to the skills trail and we worked on linking the sections contained in it together using various techniques. We rode steps, rocks, upslopes, drops and pumped . Linking that to flat, bermed, off camber and switchback turns. The change in them now was clear to see as they became more connected to the trail and fluid which made them faster.
 Next, we moved to steeper terrain and the mental skills required as well as that all important body positioning. Alpine switchbacks, Near vert drop off and steeps into corners were all ridden and in various ways, demonstrated of course by myself first.
We finished our session on a trail linking everything together including moving the bike in the air and ending in the ever easier vert drop in.
Amazing session of progress and fun too.

Eastbourne boys turn up for a skills session

 Si, Dickie and Neil made the journey from Eastbourne and on arrival we chilled out with a coffee before starting with my skills check. I found looking, body and footwork skills were missing and I made a critical set up change for them too.
 To their surprise, we began with drops and I worked on their mental skills there too. It didn’t take them long to ride all 3 drops up to 3ft high with ease. I moved to the skills trail and broke the trail in half before lunch and then added the 2nd half after lunch. Flat, bermed, off camber and switchback turns were linked to pumping, jumps, steps, rocks and drops. When riding the complete trail , every run was faster and smoother and every error was now self diagnosed too!
 On to riding steeper sections and they were soon riding down stuff they thought impossible after a few demonstrations from myself. They used their mental skills to decide what to ride too as they improved so did their overall confidence.
Now it was time to move them to the one thing they thought they’d never be able to do, jump a 6ft tabletop and land on the transition. I worked hard on their individual skills sets and gradually they could feel it all click together and one by one they sailed over it in amazement and absolute control. Run after run was the same and they were buzzing but tiring.
 For my last application of the skills sets, we moved to another trail to link the learning from the session all together and they began to choose whether to jump or pump sections of a trail and rail around the berm at the end. What a session guys and I loved every minute being in your company.

Restarting Neil’s coaching session

 Neil’s original session was cut short by a problem with his forks last time and now, after getting them sorted by he arrived for the rest of the session as arranged.
 I could see during the skills check that he’d worked on what we covered last year and now I needed to gel it together.
 The drop technique breezed past and he was soon riding all 3 drops with ease. From there we moved to the skills trail and worked on the top half of the trail and linked 6 sections together comprising of 4 corners, pumping and a rock garden. Neil was soon flowing along nicely and I worked hard on his cornering in all areas and used to berms that link together to carry speed through.
 We took a break and when we resumed, we were soon linking the whole skills trail together and even linking the bigger 4ft drop into the final corner with ease by the time we moved on.
 I moved on to riding steeper terrain and it was there that his new body positioning really hit home as he rode a near vertical drop off that he’d though impossible until I had demonstrated it.
I could see Neil was tiring but still had some more in him so I moved us to another trail to work on absorbing and pumping sections of the trail that led to the linked 2 berms from earlier in the session and then soon Neil was choosing when and why to jump or pump any section. Each run was filled with control and confidence as he was jumping a 9ft tabletop with ease. A few more runs and errors began to creep in as the adrenaline from the session took its toll and our session ended with Neil tired and very happy.

Building Ben’s Confidence

The session started as always with two different skills checks, where Ben showed me what skills he has present already within a certain set of skills, and what i needed to put there. I also made the necassary set up changes before moving onto drops. He quickly rode off the largest drop with ease and comfort, landing perfectly, so i moved him on. We done a quick cornering exercise before moving onto the trail. We worked through this section by section, and included rock gardens, jumping out of fly outs, absorbing steps and drops into corners. We moved to the tabletop, where i managed his speed and he was soon landing perfectly on the other side of the tabletop, and his first ever gap jump. We moved over to steeps, which he overcame his mental barrier by using hiis mental skills set, and rode them both well. We then linked this with a different trail, with steeper roll ins to corners, jumps and more corners. I then showed him a larger drop, which he soon rode, commenting on how good it felt. Our session ended on the pump and jump trail, where he was choosing to pump and jump through different sections. He linked this with two corners, and the wooden gap jump that followed to finish. 
Great improvements today Ben
Nath (@ukbike_nath)
Tony (@ukbikeskills)

Martyn’s skills session

 Martyn came to me wanting to gain confidence in his riding so I had to deconstruct his riding first as always.
 The skills check showed me that work was needed on his looking and body positioning as well as the mental skills too. A quick set up change and off we went to apply the corrected skills to the drop technique first. the drops soon proved no issue as he was landing perfectly and it felt easier than ever.
 From there, we moved to the skills trail and after a demonstration from myself, Martyn began and washed out 3 corners in. I showed him why it went wrong and I could see from the following runs that it was affecting him mentally so I put a coffee on and we worked on linking 2 berms together for a while.
 After the break, we moved back to the skills trail and he was now like a new man, the corners proved no issue anymore and mentally he was bang on it. Flat, bermed, off camber and switchback turns were soon linked to steps, drops, rocks, pumping and jumps. Martyn was flying along and knowing why.
 We moved to jumping, and soon he was flying over a 6ft tabletop and also the gap jump! Things were really cementing together nicely so I moved on again to steeper terrain and a near vertical drop off of 12ft. It blew him away at how simple that was as his new enhanced skills really shone through.
Before we ended I wanted to show Martyn why the skills set applied to manuals through sections and he was so happy when he got them first go across sections of the trail. Mentally, Martyn was done and happy by then and our session came to a close.
 What an end to an amazing week of coaching for both myself and Nathan.


Working on Alex’s Skills

Our session had a later start today, and i first found out what Alex had and was missing from a set of skills with a simple check. I had to work mainly on body position and looking within both of the techniques. We moved straight onto drops, where i explained the importance of having the right mind set whenever faced with a new obstacle. Soon he was landing perfectly off of the largest drop, commenting on how comfortable it felt. We done a quick cornering exercise to work on body position, before moving onto the trail, where we started linking both bermed and flat corners, and rock gardens first. I then showed him jumping out of fly outs, and drops into corners, and had him link this with the rest of the trail. Now it was time for the tabletop. I worked on his unweighting technique by controlling his speed to keep him feeling in control. Before long, he was landing perfectly on both the 6ft tabletop, and his first ever gap jump. Our session ended on pump and jump trail, where i now had him managing his own speed to jump certain sections of the trail, and this was linked with two corners at the end. 
Great session today Alex!
Nath (@ukbike_nath)
Tony (@ukbikeskills)