Where are all the kids and coaches when it's time to dig??- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    suvlako
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    Where are all the kids and coaches when it's time to dig??

    Below is a copy of the comments from a thread about "being a good coach". I thought it deserved a little more attention from those that visit this part of the forum as we have had little support from NICA in our area. No where in the NICA website(I only skimmed every page so I may have missed it), is there a mandate or suggestion that NICA coaches and athletes participate in trail work? I think NICA maybe missing a great opportunity for development with the kids. It's that important...


    "Just perusing this forum and thought I'd add a little "extra". I think NICA is an awesome organization that helps drive the future of the sport. One place I think they are seriously deficient is in their understanding and appreciation for advocacy. I don't think this is exclusive to NICA. I'd say 95+% of riders don't care or are unaware of the role that advocates and bike clubs and how important they are to the future of the sport. Well advocates get old and "retire' and leave gaps in this role if the youngins don't learnt hat MTBing opportunities are shrinking, not growing. More and more trails are being lost and or getting decommissioned or at least degraded. The youngsters need to learn that no matter what people believe, this is not a "right". The govt is cutting resources to public lands, so it is up to us, you the coaches and the kids to get involved. If you haven't had your teams show up to a trail day or two, you are missing the big picture. In my home town, there is a pretty hearty NICA presence and we have seen 2 kids show up in 6 years of monthly work days and board meetings. Kinda sad. Skills are great and all but if we have no trails..."

  2. #2
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    Where are all the kids and coaches when it's time to dig??

    Perhaps its more league oriented. In the SoCal Dirt League they are really pushing “Trail Corps” at the first race podium some kids got their badges for work accomplished and some go their Mcleod tool award. Pretty cool.

    http://www.socaldirt.org/trail-work/

    The link below is race report from the first race and the last part has a lengthy portion about leagues partner with the trail corps and all that entails.

    https://madmimi.com/p/b26acb?fe=1&pa...50be44ad0d6c7a

    Here is the Teen Trail Corps site and its clearly supported by NICA but its not a requirement.
    http://www.teentrailcorps.org

  3. #3
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    We have work days that are NICA only, mainly because several of their coaches are part of our org. We've also done the same with US Cycling youth camps, shop cycling teams, boy scouts, air force academy cadets, corporations and wildland fire fighters. Having a workday focused solely on a single group is the way to go. Giving back and team building are understandable concepts you can use to sell them on it.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by suvlako View Post
    Below is a copy of the comments from a thread about "being a good coach". I thought it deserved a little more attention from those that visit this part of the forum as we have had little support from NICA in our area. No where in the NICA website(I only skimmed every page so I may have missed it), is there a mandate or suggestion that NICA coaches and athletes participate in trail work? I think NICA maybe missing a great opportunity for development with the kids. It's that important...

    I would love to have time to "dig".

    But do you have any idea what kind of time commitment it takes to just run a team or race in the league?

    During race season I'm lucky if I get 2 uncommitted weekend days a month and a couple of uncommitted evenings a week. This coaching thing huge financial and time suck for about half the year. And the rest of the year I really feel like I need to address my own life so the wheels don't come off.

    The kids and their families are under a similar level of time pressure too.

    I have mad respect for the people that are ballz deep in advocacy and trail building, and I really hope that my kids will be a valuable resource for you in a couple years. But right now I think our riders, coaches, and families don't have any bandwidth for a big push on trails. You may just have to be satisfied with some well trained, life-long riders, who at least understand when the trails are not in condition to ride and who will be good trail advocates in the future.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by suvlako View Post
    Below is a copy of the comments from a thread about "being a good coach". I thought it deserved a little more attention from those that visit this part of the forum as we have had little support from NICA in our area. No where in the NICA website(I only skimmed every page so I may have missed it), is there a mandate or suggestion that NICA coaches and athletes participate in trail work? I think NICA maybe missing a great opportunity for development with the kids. It's that important...


    "Just perusing this forum and thought I'd add a little "extra". I think NICA is an awesome organization that helps drive the future of the sport. One place I think they are seriously deficient is in their understanding and appreciation for advocacy. I don't think this is exclusive to NICA. I'd say 95+% of riders don't care or are unaware of the role that advocates and bike clubs and how important they are to the future of the sport. Well advocates get old and "retire' and leave gaps in this role if the youngins don't learnt hat MTBing opportunities are shrinking, not growing. More and more trails are being lost and or getting decommissioned or at least degraded. The youngsters need to learn that no matter what people believe, this is not a "right". The govt is cutting resources to public lands, so it is up to us, you the coaches and the kids to get involved. If you haven't had your teams show up to a trail day or two, you are missing the big picture. In my home town, there is a pretty hearty NICA presence and we have seen 2 kids show up in 6 years of monthly work days and board meetings. Kinda sad. Skills are great and all but if we have no trails..."
    Have you invited them? What about an on trail info session? An informal trail skills clinic? Invite the team, maybe get some pizza, do a pitch on trail advocacy and go over a few skills. Just start the wheels rolling.

  6. #6
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    Where are all the kids and coaches when it's time to dig??

    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Have you invited them?
    Good point maybe reach out to them. I know in our league there is a contact for each team on the website.

    We have this map for our league your local one may have something similar.

    SoCal League 2018https://goo.gl/maps/do7jpocwz512


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  7. #7
    suvlako
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    We have suggested it to some of the coaches but with little response or interest. I get it, we are all busy. But a mandate would force the kids and parents to seek it out. We're really busy. Done three trail work days this month and have a movie premiere to raise funds for tools and a board meeting this week. I am not trying to be antagonistic but I am having a hard time understanding how as a coach, you couldn't nudge your kids to elect a trail day being offered by advocacy groups and let the advocacy groups take it from there. Won't be any racing to do if the advocacy base doesn't grow. Gong to sit down and email the coaches right now. Just thought I might start a healthy discussion.

  8. #8
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    I hear ya we just got this going last year in our league and my kid will be doing it this off season. I agree with what your saying. During the season there is very little time really for the athletes do get time in it has to be an off season activity. Im hoping we can garner interest from the other kids on the team.

    I agree with other posters too about the time. I help coach and its a major undertaking especially race weekends if you have middleschool and highschool riders. I need like 2 days to recover from it. Then back at practice 2-3 days a week a weekend off to yourself and catch up on your personal life then back at it again.

    I dont think NICA is ever going to make this a mandate but i will say our league has put some pressure on the kids to get out and do it by pure hyping it up on the podium and showing the recognition these kids are getting for getting out and maintaining trail networks.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metamorphic View Post
    I would love to have time to "dig".

    But do you have any idea what kind of time commitment it takes to just run a team or race in the league?

    make all the excuses you want, if you don't have time to dig, you don't have time to ride. If you and your kids can't free up 4 hours on a weekend morning 3-4 times a year, you don't deserve to ride. You're doing a lot more damage to your trails than that.

    Years ago we (trail club that does maintenance/building at a local park) documented the impact a local HS cross country running team was having on our trails, showed it to our land manager, who went back to the HS coach, telling him basically 'either get your kids out to 2 trail work days a year, or find somewhere else to practice.'
    What do you know, they had the time after all.

  10. #10
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    Where are all the kids and coaches when it's time to dig??

    Honestly, in Utah we're digging. I've gone to several trail dig days with my team. We've even taken to staggering our practices to have a lower impact on the trails in our area. A good number of trails have been BUILT because of high school rider and coach advocacy in Utah. Is every coach and every rider out there digging? No, but then you can say that about every group. Show up to any dig day and count the number of participants, it's not on many peoples radar at all.

    That said NICA and IMBA did start Teen Trail Corps | specifically to address this.
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  11. #11
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    Honestly, I've done more trail work after signing my son and myself up for NICA than I ever did before. Our league provided opportunities I would not have otherwise known about. We are in Utah.

  12. #12
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    Another in Utah here, level 3 coach. The Utah league does push for each team to have trail building/maintenance hours. And to be honest, every trail day I have been to has been all NICA riders/family. There are entire trails in Utah that exist only because of these NICA days.

  13. #13
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    Sounds a bit like the OP has a chip on his shoulder and needs to do a different kind of advocacy work. No, NICA doesn't have a mandate to do trail work. They do however encourage it. All NICA teams are taught trail etiquette and how tenuous trail access is. Most, if not all, teams do some kind of organized trail work during the year. I've been a member of 4 different high school teams and each has been out on trail work days. I've also worked with two other States on NICA trails days.

    As has been said, Utah is probably leading the way for trails built and maintained solely by high school racers.

    Eagle Mountain, Valley Vista, Lehi, Vernal, Richfield and Logan have entire trail systems that exist solely because NICA participants built them. That doesn't include existing trails that have been adopted and maintained by teams.

    To say that it's not being done because NICA doesn't demand it is disingenuous at best.

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  14. #14
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    The team I coach with is going to be doing some work on a local park next weekend before our ride, in fact. Helping to build a downhill run or two.

  15. #15
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    I didn't "dig" until I joined NICA. How's that.

  16. #16
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    Our NICA team leadership and determined that volunteering for trail days will be strongly encouraged.

    I don't buy anyone who typed "they are too busy". I find that insulting, and selfish, as it implies trail builders/volunteers don't have busy lives too. The trail builders are riding one less day, training one less day... etc.

  17. #17
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    Here in Michigan we don't have a NICA but rather our own scholastic mountain bike league, MiSCA. We encourage teams to get out and participate in local trail days and publish them as events on our FB page. The team I coach is also lucky to have over 4 miles of singletrack built on school property that also abuts state land and more trails. You better believe that we are active in maintaining trails.

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