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Would you like to form a high school mountain bike team or club? Starting and managing a high school mountain bike team is no small task – but incredibly rewarding work. Don’t let the list below overwhelm you, take it one step at a time using the following advice and documents to help ensure your effort is a success!
Are You Ready?
Take a look at the materials listed to the right. We have compiled the files needed to get you started.
Define Your Vision
As you approach school administrators, potential sponsors, student-athletes and parents, you will find that people have wildly differing views on what high school mountain biking looks like – as well as many who may not have any reference point at all. Having a defined vision will allow these people to see what you are working towards, while also giving you focus as you move forward.
There is no single model for what Wisconsin League high school mountain bike teams look like. Teams range in size and complexity. Some may only have one coach and a few riders while others have up to 73 riders and over a dozen coaches. In addition to ranging in size, teams also have many difference structures to their organization.
Walking through the front door of your school or the community center and asking for permission to start a mountain bike team is not the most successful way to go about it. Instead, seeking permission should be a longer process. Build up a list of students, parents and teachers (which can be especially powerful) so that the school administrators or community educators can see that there is demand and support for a mountain bike team.
Don’t just approach the first administrator you come across. Seek out a teacher, athletic director or community staff person who is receptive to healthy orientated initiatives. Being able to ask the right person, with a personal connection to either the people involved or the sport, can be the difference between “no” and an enthusiastic “yes”.
Get The Word Out And Recruit Riders
High school students who already ride, parents of interested high school students, teachers, bike shops and cycling community members can all get the word out about a new team, so get them involved early. If every student interested in cycling recruits two friends for the team, you will have a successful program in no time. The same concept applies to adults.
When talking with prospective riders, tell them about upcoming meetings, or another student to talk with if any questions.
Great Resource: Editable Recruitment Poster (PDF)
Have A Meeting For Riders and Parents
Have your students’ and parents sometime in the early evening; ideally at the school.
Seeing all the participants in one place will be an inspiration for everyone. Be prepared for the first meeting and keep your goals simple. In addition to introductions, present an idea of the club’s structure and goals, including the requirements of participation. Be ready to acknowledge students’ ideas and dreams; they serve as the impetus for achieving the single most important goal: getting them out on bikes.
Be sure to convey that participating in the club will be tons of fun but that there are risks involved with the sport. Establish early on that you have high expectations from the student-athletes. Set a tone of respect, safety and good sportsmanship. Be sure to arrange a second meeting and follow up plan with the students. Collect a list of names, student e-mail addresses, parent e-mail addresses and phone numbers.
More Information and Resources
If you have completed these steps, you are well on your way to a running a successful high school mountain bike team.