Start a Team
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 it’s incredibly rewarding. 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!
Define Your Vision
You will likely find that people have wildly differing views about what high school mountain biking looks like, as well as some who may not have have any reference 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 different 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, 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. Once you have that, 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 a “no” and an enthusiastic “yes”.
Spread the Word, Recruit Riders
High school students who already ride, parents of interested high school students, teachers, bike shops, and cycling community members can all help spread the word 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. When talking with prospective riders, tell them about upcoming meetings, or another student to talk with if they have any questions. This same concept applies to adults interested in coaching.
Great Resource: Editable Recruitment Poster (PDF)
Have A Meeting For Riders and Parents
Have your students’ and parents get together sometime in the early evening; ideally at the school. Seeing all the participants in one place will 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 aspirations; 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. At the end, collect a list of names, student e-mail addresses, parent e-mail addresses, and phone numbers.
More Information and Resources
Downloadable Team Materials
- Editable Recruitment Poster (PDF)
- Team Meeting Sign-In Sheet
- Join Team Sign-Up Form
- Team Tasks Outline
- Team Fees
- Wisconsin NICA Youtube
- Wisconsin High School League Video of Inaugural Race at Minooka Park 2014
- Utah High School League Video of Student-Athlete Interviews
- Carter Warren Multi-Sport Athlete Starts Mountain Bike Team
For additional resources and information, log onto the NICA website. If you have any questions, check out the contact us page for assistance. Looking for Wisconsin League logos to use? Head to the Wisconsin League Media Center or the NICA Media Center.