I recently was asked by an old alumni of the club, “Why do you do this?”
This weekend for the first time ever I forced a young man on the team to do a race. He had never done a road bike race before and he had sworn to me that he would never do one because he hated the idea and he was sure he would not like it.
I accepted this answer for 2 long years. Always allowing him to make that call.
I as coach am always trying to be aware of that fine line between encourage and push. Everybody feeds off of good encouragement; however, the moment we are pushed, we push back. Usually in a negative way.
So making him do this race was really tiptoeing that line. Since he had never done a race, I thought, “How does he know he doesn’t like it?” In fact, I was pretty sure he would like it, and that he just had to get over his nerves.
So this time I told him he had to race. There was no option. Then, if he hated it, he would never have to do it again, and he would have ample reason.
Once Friday and the time trial came around I was a bit nervous about the whole affair. But he showed up and was ready at the right place and time. We rode as a team to the start and I cheered on each rider as s/he safely rode down the “scary” ramp – the majority of them for their first time. “The bigger your smile the faster you go,” I said to this rider and others. He made it down the ramp and all I could do was hope for the best. He had done it – the hard part was over.
About 30 minutes later the young man came back and directly approached me to say, “Hey, I went a X:XX time, and next year I am sure I can go even faster!”
I walked the tight rope and had been right.
It’s a scary rope to walk.
So when this morning the same young man called me and said, “I can’t do it. I don’t feel good,” I again mandated that he come. I gave him no option.
Again he showed up, and again he rode great.
Then, after the race I asked him, “How was it?”
He proudly said, “I feel like I can do anything!”
That is why I do it.
Great job to everyone for an outstanding weekend!