It had been a long time since I had visited Springfield for coaching, but an impromptu request to coach for two days, meant I was on my way to a hidden paradise. While snow fell on the mountains, and cold rain in nearby Christchurch, we had sunshine with no wind. The slippery ground had been ripped and harrowed into plasticine perfection, and it was an epic two days of coaching for the locals.
Even though this was a private session, another dad had noticed I was coming down and booked us for their own session nearby. So we moved my arrival flight to be earlier in the day, and fit in an extra one on one session with Ben Wall while we were at it.
This formula of one group session and a 1 on 1 was repeated for all three days, with some riders doing multiple sessions. This was very welcome as it became almost like a camp- the chance to really lock in what they learned. Tom and Kane both did two consecutive days of coaching, practically becoming experts at starts and standing by the end of day two.
Eldon was a 1 on 1, a very fast one at that- having finished second in the recent TT champs and 5th in the MX2 of last years’ Michael Godfrey. He mentioned after our training that he was surprised at how quickly I could pick out what he needed to work on the most- along with expressing the wish that he had done a session with me before the TT series so he could have done even better.
A skill that really worked was actually a story that I told to Jordan. He had a seemingly unbreakable habit of pre loading off the upramp of every jump. I had tried everything I knew to help him avoid doing that, because it made his jumping quite unpredictable. Sometimes his front wheel would be high, often it would be low. I managed to get him staying low enough to the bike that his arms never went straight but we really needed to get rid of that lift.
After almost an hour of trying, his dad swung by to see how he was going. With Jordan within earshot, I told the story once again of how I learned to jump a mountain bike better when someone suggested that I just stay with the bike instead of lifting off every upramp. I figured it was worth trying because I couldn’t get any worse, and straight away found jumping to be so much easier.
While I continued to talk to his dad, Jordan cruised off for another go, and suddenly he nailed it! We were both shocked, then he did it over and over. I asked what it was that finally made him click, and he said it was hearing the story again. I was relieved and so we finished the day there, also ending our epic three days of coaching.