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  1. #1
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    IMBA Mtn Bike Instructor Program

    I'm trying to gauge the interest of MD, DC, VA people regarding getting certified to teach mtn biking. We have a lot of potential sites for the training so post up if you are interested and what city you are in/near.

    Instructor Certification Program | International Mountain Bicycling Association

    Bueller? Anyone? It would likely be the level 2 program. It's a real commitment.

    Let me know if you are interested.

    Thanks.

    mk

  2. #2
    another bozo on the bus
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    Kind of pricey and I don't really know what one would use it for. I think a better investment would be the wilderness first aid course.

  3. #3
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    It's less than Harlan paid to go out to Whistler and take the course cuz this one would be local. But it ain't cheap, that's fo sho.

    mk

  4. #4
    another bozo on the bus
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    Pardon my ignance, but what does one need this for? I know folks who teach in schools, lead clinics, and guide backcountry trips and I don't believe any of them have this. Something one can put on their cycling resume and sound professional? I would prefer to be out with someone who knows how to keep a lid on things when things get hairy and the comfort knowing that if one breaks their tib/ fib they can stabilize and get them out of there. It's surprising how many folks get grumpy or lose their composure in the backcountry. Surprising and amusing.

  5. #5
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    Pardon my ignance, but what does one need this for?
    My radness needs certifying. How else will the ladies know I'm so extreme?

  6. #6
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    Nate, don't confuse 'guide' with 'instructor'. This isn't for guiding. I wouldn't use this to take people into the backcountry. More like Rockburn or even just skinnies and log-overs in a grassy field.

    And I don't think you are the audience, buddy...

    mk

  7. #7
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    Maybe I'm missing something . . . probably because I didn't hit the link. But it sounds like there is an entry fee?

  8. #8
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    I'm all for education, but I spent all my scratch becoming a certified ferret wrangler. I'll have to pass on this one.

  9. #9
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    Ferret-wrangling should be a requisite for teaching mountain biking...

    mk

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailbildr View Post
    Ferret-wrangling should be a requisite for teaching mountain biking...

    mk
    Good point! Any courses planed for the midwest.

  11. #11
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    Check in with IMBA.

    mk

  12. #12
    Toro
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    We are also considering this course here in DE. Unfortunately, even I'm out of it due to cost. What does it provide, aside from a certificate, that I do not currently possess that makes it worth $700? What I mean is this, how large is the need for instructors that the $700 investment will pay for itself? One would have to teach a few classes like Harlan in order to make this financially viable. Otherwise, all it does is make your wallet $700 lighter and get you a certificate that does not exactly do much else unless the demand for instructors increases severely.

    I'm probably missing the point. I think that this appeals more to business like bike shops. They would, certainly, benefit from this as they would be able to advertise their instructors and classes. As for clubs, well, unless the club wants to absorb the cost there is no incentive for me to become an instructor. $700 is too much for me to teach what I already know. The only difference would be that I'd be teaching with a certificate in my Camelbak.

    On the other hand, I think that areas that don't have experienced riders could certainly benefit from certified instructors. So, best of luck, let us know how it goes. Maybe I'll be in one of your classes one day.
    Ricardo aka "El Toro"
    Team Raging Toro
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  13. #13
    psycho cyclo addict
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    Only if it is epic...

  14. #14
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    Well, I'm SURE it will be epic.

    I'd like to teach at Snowshoe, Mountain Creek and our local trails/pump track. I think that having a certification makes you look more legit. Sure, I would LOVE it if the local bike shop or club would pay for me to go, but I'm pretty sure they wouldn't.

    Access to insurance is good. I should check in with the resorts to see if they can just allow me to teach through them.

    It ain't perfect but it's something I'd like to do. I went through the National Mountain Bike Patrol stuff a bunch of years back, which I found largely worthless, and ran an on-road education program for a few years, which I tried to make no worthless...

    mk

  15. #15
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    Seems to me that number of podiums, sponsorships and/or other verifiable industry clout would make you look more legit. Otherwise you're just running around with a sheepskin that any Joe Shlub who started riding last summer can pick up if they are willing to fork over the cash.

  16. #16
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    Being a good rider does not mean you are a good teacher. I know plenty of amazing riders with no patience for themselves, let alone others.

    mk

  17. #17
    Toro
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    Great riders don't necessarily make great instructors. People with $700 to throw away don't automatically make great instructors either. If it were the case that there were criteria that must be met in order to be certified, then the certification process would have more merit. However, it seems to me, like mentioned above, that you're paying to be shown how to instruct and not being certified as an instructor. Get my point? I am a mechanic. I am an ASE Certified Master Technician. At 32 years old, I'm still not as great as the non-certified 62 year old non-master technician at the shop. So, certifications are relative to many other factors. I'd be a level 12,387 instructor in White Clay and a -321 level instructor at Pisgah.

    Aside from that, if it were to be the case that I wanted to provide my services as an instructor for profit, I would say that the $700 certification does merit it's worth in that one becomes more marketable with industry recognized certifications. But, this certificate only gives the public the perception that they are getting the value they expect from their money when they hire you as an instructor. While this could turn out to be true, I speak conditionally since I don't know you personally, then this perceived value would turn into actual value. On my end, however, this certification does not possess any value unless I were to make it profitable. So, I perceive this as an opportunity for those seeking to teach mountain biking skills as a business/side business/etc. The only other way it is valuable to me is if a club decides that they have enough member influx that they can benefit from having one or two instructors so that they can provide this service to their members as necessary.

    Outside of these parameters, five certified instructors in the same park system is about three instructors too many. Again, I speak only of my immediate area of Northern Delaware/Fair Hill MD. These are opinions and nothing more. Your experiences, expectations, and requirements may be different. Good luck with the class. Although it may seem that I am negative about it. I'm not. I would love to be a certified instructor but not at $700. I'd pay, at most, $300 to become certified. But turn this into a true course that requires a few days of training and rigorous examination, then I'd see the value and I would, certainly pay into the $1,200 range.

    Respectfully,

    Ricardo
    Ricardo aka "El Toro"
    Team Raging Toro
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  18. #18
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    First time poster and one with skin in the game so briefly. I think it can make sense for some. I spent years at a large resort guiding and instructing before there was any type of certification program and it's true that being a good rider does not necessarily make for a good instructor (and vice versa). In our case we will be looking for instructors for our new park and while skills, attitude, and a desire to teach beginners are wanted; a legitimate certification program would also be a positive. Coming from the ski end of things I definitely feel that their is enough business and pay scale to recoup the cost of the program in short order. Park's are a (hopefully) growing entity that can help promote this great sport, but like most other sports proper coaching and instruction are key to retention of newbies.

  19. #19
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    Being a good rider does not mean you are a good teacher. I know plenty of amazing riders with no patience for themselves, let alone others.
    True, but being a bad/average rider with certification no matter how nice and friendly you are does not make for a good instructor either if all you can do is talk about how to ride. What would be the point of taking a mountain bike course with a rider who can't clear a log smoothly, can't bunny hop on flats, can't handle a small double or table, can barely climb, gets tuckered out after 1 lap at Wakefield or barely can change a tire?

    Point being, there are better barometers to validate experience and expertise than a certification that anyone with a lot of spare change can pick up.

    like most other sports proper coaching and instruction are key to retention of newbies.
    I highly disagree with this. For organized sports sure, but surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding, mountain biking, et al have retained newbies just fine for decades without certified coaches.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobby_tables View Post
    True, but being a bad/average rider with certification no matter how nice and friendly you are does not make for a good instructor either if all you can do is talk about how to ride. What would be the point of taking a mountain bike course with a rider who can't clear a log smoothly, can't bunny hop on flats, can't handle a small double or table, can barely climb, gets tuckered out after 1 lap at Wakefield or barely can change a tire?

    Point being, there are better barometers to validate experience and expertise than a certification that anyone with a lot of spare change can pick up.



    I highly disagree with this. For organized sports sure, but surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding, mountain biking, et al have retained newbies just fine for decades without certified coaches.
    I don't know that I'd say that all those sports have done just fine on retaining newbies. Snowboarding/Skiing have the worst retention out there, less than 30% of newbies stick with the sport for any length of time (granted for a variety of reasons). However having a first time lesson and follow up greatly increases that stat. Action sports have also become more popular and certainly safer with the advent of great coaching and locations a la Woodward, etc.

    I think for people who are just trying mountain biking for the first time, a good instructor or friend with skills and patience would help the sport. Some people may not have friends that ride to help them learn, get better, or save them some of the avoidable pains/falls that being new has. I'm not saying that it has to be but I think it helps.
    Last edited by BryceMtn; 02-20-2013 at 09:08 AM. Reason: content

  21. #21
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    I have plenty of skills. I have certifications to teach other stuff and I think that if you want to teach, you need skills AND certifications.

    And you can tell my wheelchair-bound buddy John about how he can't coach because he can't ride. He's got one of the best juniors teams in the US and was on Oprah.

    Coaching is rampant in actions sports. Have you heard of Woodward?

    Neither certification nor skills alone are enough to be a credible teacher. If you aren't interested, you can start your own thread about how dumb certification is.

    mk

  22. #22
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    Snowboarding/Skiing have the worst retention out there, less than 30% of newbies stick with the sport for any length of time (granted for a variety of reasons).
    What's your source? I would assume high cost of entry into sport (e.g. lift tickets, equipment costs, resort costs), limited access to physical venues and that they both are highly seasonal sports would be the primary contributing factor to this number. I can't imagine that lack of certified coaching has any kind of measurable influence/effect.

  23. #23
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    If you aren't interested, you can start your own thread about how dumb certification is.
    You started (hijacked) a thread on how dumb a NoVa Epic is...don't get all butt hurt.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobby_tables View Post
    What's your source? I would assume high cost of entry into sport (e.g. lift tickets, equipment costs, resort costs), limited access to physical venues and that they both are highly seasonal sports would be the primary contributing factor to this number. I can't imagine that lack of certified coaching has any kind of measurable influence/effect.

    I've been in the ski industry for over 20 yrs. Source is the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) and has been widely known for a long time. Lots of documentation out there as well about flat growth in skier growth (not skier visits but new people to the sport).

    You are correct, there are a ton of reasons for the low statistic including that it's just plain difficult to shlep your equipment through a parking lot in sub freezing temperatures, but one of the most widely cited is a poor/frustrating experience from people not taking a lesson. A ton of pain/frustration can be saved.

    I'm not trying to start an argument, just saying that there is no doubt that many new mountain bikers, kids, families would be spared a more frustrating experience with good instruction from people who know what they're doing and how to explain it. FWIW I'm told that Whistler has over 120 instructors for their park, and they've done a ton to popularize and build great trails.

    We will certainly be looking.

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