Author: Bruce Morris Date Posted:30 April 2018
Introducing LUXBMX Coaching – Finding Your Edge
We’re all riders at LUXBMX, which isn’t really surprising as all the good BMX only shops around the world are owned and staffed by passionate people who love what they do. We’re thankful every day that we can combine both work and riding BMX and as LUXBMX expands its racing side, we thought we would add another service layer and share our passion for coaching riders by regularly offering insights and tips to make you a better racer, a faster racer, and a racer that’s stoked on BMX 24/7.
Marrying carbon and clips to the world of CrMo and flat pedals at LUX has been in the works now for just over 12 months and as the shop’s racer, I thought it was time to confess my age and give a little background on my riding, and the other BMX stuff I do outside of LUX. As a rider, I’ve been on the pedals racing for over 35 years, starting at 12, and wearing a coach’s hat for around the last 6 or 7 years. Prior to, and blended into all of these years of racing, is a career in the health and fitness industry allowing me to apply my understanding of human physiology with the physical demands of BMX racing.
BMX coaching in the modern era (post Olympic introduction – 2008) has been caught up in the Wattbike/Ipad/gate “reaction”time/1RM frenzy, and whilst there’s a place for that at the top end of the sport, for the other 95% of racers not destined for elite racing, or the even smaller percentage heading to the next Olympics, there’s much more gain to be had in understanding the rider you are, and understanding what truly makes you smile on the bike. Crack that formulae and the rest will come easy. Including winning if that’s your end goal because training in a fun environment will allow you to truly reach your potential.
Eminent Australian BMX coach Sean Dwight with Connor Fields and Chase/LUXBMX riders Shannon Petre and Ashlee Miller at a recent session at the Sleeman SX track in Brisbane. Training in a group elevates all of the riders with the right environment.
Finding the Edge – I’ve been very fortunate to have insight into the world of Australia’s foremost BMX coach, Sean Dwight, and it has been very surprising that the coach of the current Olympic gold medallist Connor Fields (amongst many other champions) talks at length about the artistry of riding a BMX race bike and the similarity of racing skills and freestyle (or vice versa). Touching on points such as the connective points of the body to the bike through the hands and feet, and the irrefutable proof that big-bowl riders have the sort of spatial awareness that BMX racers could only dream of.
Track speed is much more than simple horsepower out of the gate and out of the corners. Modern BMX tracks demand a very high level of bike handling skills and it’s perplexing that many current BMX racers, young or old, are looking for the edge in the gym, or doing road sprints. The paradox is that that approach would be applicable in the 80s when most track’s total jump count equalled (or more likely to be less than) the jump count on the third straight of most modern tracks.
The real science of BMX coaching is breaking down the physical and mental elements of a BMX lap, and presenting them in a format where a rider can work on those individual elements, then reform them to start banking all the skills to build a perfect lap.
Chase rider Connor Fields and BOX BMX's Trent Jones applying maximum focus before hitting the 8m hill at a recent Sleeman SX track session.
Where do you start? Let’s start at the gate and look at rethinking our approach to what is typically 99% of the Australian BMX racer’s training methodology of smashing out a 100 starts at “gate night” in as short of time as possible. So changing our mindset with regards to “training”.
Let’s try this… before you pack the bike in the car, have a plan of what you want to achieve from the session that day/night. Are you going to do the same thing as last week, and the week before? Or are there some other skills that you could work on to give you track speed advantage? Plan rest periods and don’t rush! Of course, the gate start is vital, but are you going to work on your reactive ability tonight and break it right down to just the first pedal out of the gate? Combined with a 5 or so first straight efforts.
Or maybe you don’t go near the gate and work on nailing the backsides on the rhythm straight at over-speed. Just have a plan before you get there to make the most of the time on the track and apply focus to your session. Don't just don't wing it because it's virtually impossible to train all of the elements of a BMX race in one session with the various energy and skill requirements compromising the outcome of the session. Not to mention the risk of craching. You'll be amazed at the change in your riding after a few weeks of focused sessions.
So, there’s a little bit about my background and hopefully you’ll realise there’s plenty to talk about when it comes to making you a better racer. Progression isn’t just about the results’ sheet, it’s about evolving your riding and training sessions as well. Identifying your strengths and weaknesses and making a plan to work on them. Not just following the others.
Catch you next time
Bruce Morris - LUXBMX