THE COACH is an important figure within a club, often one of the first people introduced to new members and often a person who plays a vital role in people’s perceptions of a club.
It can also be a rewarding role for those that enjoy seeing the enjoyment and improvement in young juniors right up to the senior riders.
This time we turn our focus to Mansfield Motorcycle Club where Greg Johnson is a coach.
How long have you been a member of Mansfield Motorcycle Club?
I have been involved with the Mansfield Junior Motorcycle Club for seven years.
What have been some of the great changes you’ve seen at your club?
Over this time the club has grown from 40 members to 106 this year and the main growth has been with the 50cc group.
We’ve also increased our coaching staff and first aid accredited members.
Our Grass Track Tri Series has also been a fantastic addition to the club calendar, allowing the juniors and seniors to participate in a natural terrain series of competition and rec races, around the local Mansfield area.
We have also incorporated the MV Come & Try Days into our schedule. We advertise at the local area schools, kids sporting venues and local paper and get a great turnout. This new MV initiative has been great in getting potential members down to the club to see what it’s all about.
How long have you been a coach at Mansfield Motorcycle Club?
What have been some of the challenges you’ve had to face while coaching?
When I first started at the club, the club coaches children were heavily involved in racing and on some days we struggled to get the staff to manage the day. The committee was great, they identified the issue and looked at training up more coaches to assist.
Now with ongoing great committee’s and fantastic parent support, the coaching staff has increased and the club is able to provide coaches for a variety of ability levels.
How would you describe your style of coaching?
Friendly and compassionate.
At the end of the day the kids are learning to ride in a safe environment, with proper techniques. This has to be a fun experience!
What do you enjoy most about coaching?
Watching the smaller kids improve.
Our bush camp weekends are great. All year the little kids work hard on technique and riding skills, it is fantastic to see them riding around and keeping up with their parents on bikes at our bush camp weekend. The kids lead the way and even manage to teach the novice parent riders a thing or two!
What could someone expect to find themselves doing when they come to Mansfield Motorcycle Club and participate in a Coaching Day?
As a parent, you would be spending a lot of time track side marshaling and assisting. The parents at Mansfield Junior Motorcycle Club are heavily involved. We try and put the parents in area’s where their children aren’t! It makes it a lot easier for the coaches with the little kids.
As a rider you have the riders briefing, go out on the tracks alternating between a coaching session and a riding session – putting what you’ve just learnt into practice. The skills are then reinforced and built on during the day. The kids get a couple of breaks, then lunch, then generally some organised free riding in the afternoon. We have three tracks and group the kids by bike size and ability.
As a Club Coach, how do you make members feel welcome at Mansfield Motorcycle Club.
We get everyone involved. There are always jobs to do and marshaling that is required, I think the background of a great club is the club members. Our members are keen on their kids learning to ride in a safe and fun environment and I think that because the members ideals match so well to the committee, it all just works.