Sunday, 8 June 2014

Concepts, Confidence and Beliefs

I believe these words are closer as a working team than some may think. Confidence comes in believing you can do what has been asked of you in the concept being taught.
And once you understand the concept and try it, then get through it, the confidence starts to build. As the confidence builds the task slowly gets easier which builds the confidence.
And once you have the confidence that you can complete the concept, and then the circle has completed.
That may be deeper than a lowly cyclist and person with a Police background is allowed to go, but when both halves of the circle come together, then like Pipe Major Terry LEE used to say “It’s a beautiful Thing".
Cycling skills follows that same paradigm. 
We start cyclists out with the basics, slow speed skills based on balance and slow movements. Riding a straight line, then going around cones in a straight line to a more challenging slalom course.
We emphasize" the head is up, the back is straight". The students aren't totally sure why but try it just the same. They ride around trying these skills and once the concepts are recognized we move onto the next set, but continue to go back to those basics.
You can see the confidence start to build as we slowly add more cycling skills/ concepts.  When you explain that with the head up and back straight, the weight comes off the hands which allows the cyclist to do hand signals much easier than they had done so previously. That is when the light starts to dawn, and you can see it in their faces, they are starting "to get it".
As instructors it's our job to teach/ mentor/ encourage those we are working with. Once we show the concept, then convince them they can indeed to it, and we instill the confidence, then we have over half of the process successfully completed !!
We as instructors can go onto the next set of skills knowing those we are working with believe in us and are starting to believe in themselves.
We add the hand signals, they come through with no problem.  Then we add playing with gears and how to hold onto the handle bars, and how to let go with the knowledge they aren't going to crash - the circle comes closer to completing.
We then add the Figure 8 drill, and the parking stall drill. We show why the Head up-Back straight becomes even more important and how to use that knowledge to complete both these drills. They flip between those two and see the concept.  This leads into the rock dodge which leads into riding the planks.
To say total encouragement by the instructors is flying about, along with laughing and positive thoughts would be an understatement.
Words like “I always knew you could that, I just had to convince you”. Words like “I Believe!”, are very common, it almost sounds like a revival with high fives to all those trying, doing and succeeding.
They have grasped the concept, and are gaining the confidence, then add the positive banter, then you have a winning compilation and a very positive environment.
The circle completes.
We add the threshold braking, standing ready to catch. But more over as each person comes through positive words on how well they have done and how they can reach out to do even better.  Now their confidence is propelling them.
They believe because we have told them We believe, and know they are actually doing, so know they believe.  The circle is complete.
We put in the T Turn, our variation of the quick turn/emergency turn, that was taken out of the curriculum a number of years ago.
CAN-BIKE took the emergency turn out because it was thought to dangerous for beginners.
I use the T Turn variation, or also called the “decision maker”. I set up a wall of cones and a funnel of cones down to the wall for the riders to ride down the funnel and make the decision which way they will turn. The rider is instructed they must turn 90 degrees at minimum, straight out or even better back the way they came.
 As they approach the wall the rider must tell the instructor which way they will turn. It is done slowly enough for the rider to think through the concept, and the “What If, What If”. We also go over the other skills that have been shown/taught during the session and how they put it all together.
We have been in the parking lot for almost two hours, but it doesn't feel like it.
Each rider comes down with their head up, their back straight, weight off their hands, so the bike turns far more easily and gets around the corner, either right or left, the way they said they would. Once their confidence has built to a point and a few successful passes have been made, then the Instructor will stand behind the wall and point which way the rider will go. The rider has to be prepared to go left or right, thinking What If, and how will I make the turn they ask of me.
They have put together the concepts and are telling us which way they will turn, and go there, their confidence has jumped yet again.
The smiles from those doing the skills, which has now become as much a play on your bike session exudes with laughter, smiles and confidence in new concepts and skills tried and completed, and the confidence to try these skills again.
All the cones and planks and rocks and painted lines are no longer obstacles to go around, but objects to use to practice and hone new skills and yes concepts learned.
We have also shown how to build a do-able obstacle course that doesn't cost much money and brings skills, a sense of accomplishment, pride in skills done and yes confidence in themselves and their abilities.

At the end of the session I point out they have just gone through and learned about 20 to 25 new cycling skills.
Then I ask the question - If I had told you this morning when we first met you would have 25 new cycling skills by lunch you would have called me crazy, and they shake their heads and agree. I then tell them that is exactly where they are and they have, and they have had a blast doing and learning them. This time they shake their heads with a smile from ear to ear and a want to go out, practise and show their friends and family and co-riders what they have accomplished.

Concepts, Confidence, and Beliefs.

A day well spent in a parking and we only cycled about 200 meters. A pretty good return for distance into fun into skills/ concepts into confidence.

And for those wondering where the 25 skills are, as I am sure there are those that counted.  Each skill has two sides, left/right or strong side/weak side.
If you don’t think each side is a skill, try getting off your bike from the side you usually do, then try the side you usually don’t, or try riding into and around a regular size (8’6”) parking stall from each side, strong side/weak side and see how you do.

Thanks for stopping by
   Safe Ride Home.


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