We talk a lot about becoming more than just instructors in our indoor cycling classes.  We want to be coaches.  We are coaches!  I”™ve spent the last 20 years coaching riders and teams on the road and half that indoors.  Anyone who has taken one of my classes knows that “coaching” is my approach to indoor cycling.  I introduce each of my classes as “coached training sessions” so riders know what to expect, plus it gives me the self-proclaimed freedom to get into character (like they really have a choice).  Since many of you share this passion with me, over the next few months I going to post a series of articles on various suggestions and tips to bring that coaching character in you to the forefront.

My Black Book

Because of my coaching background, when I first started teaching indoor cycling I felt the deep desire to help people beyond the walls of the studio.  Almost without exception, everyone in my class had some kind of goal or reason for being there.  It could be as simple as increasing their fitness level, loosing weight, preparing for an upcoming charity ride, cycling vacation or competitive event. I thought “if I knew what their specific goals were, I could do a better job connecting with them and helping them”.  Thus, I created the Black Book.

It was just a thin 3-ring binder (black of course) that contained forms — one for each rider.  You can download a sample of this form from Cycling Fusion at www.cyclingfusion.com/downloads/CyclingFusion-BlackBook.pdf.  I would make an announcement at the end of each class letting riders know that they could fill out a page in the Black Book if they wanted further help from me in obtaining their training and riding goals.  I got a couple of takers at first and then it snowballed.

Individual Attention

Before each class I would review the goals of those in my class.  I asked each person in the Black Book to show up 15-minutes early to class which is when I would give them specific guidance on how to approach the class that day. For example: “Mary, tomorrow you are planning on riding outdoors with your club so go a little easier on that last hill today. We want the legs fresh in the morning”.  It was just some simple guidance to each rider about how to approach the day”™s class.

The Benefits

Besides allowing me to satisfy my goal of helping riders outside of the studio, I started to connect with them more which increased the popularity and energy of my class.  Other riders saw the attention my Black Book riders were getting and wanted in on the action.  If you are trying to make a living as a cycling coach, I believe a Black Book is a must.  Riders will always want more, and since you have already been so helpful, taking the next step into a formal coaching relationship ($$$) is easy. A side benefit for me was it helped me better remember riders names. I”™ll take all the help I can get.

Originally posted 2011-08-12 14:57:47.

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