A friend of mine recently asked if I could coach him and his friends and I was off course as always interested. It’s a challenge and a fun job to have a group of keen riders eager to learn. It made me think and I decided to do a little brush up on why I coach. Too often in life, people (= I) do things unconsciously, and I decided to dig deep and write these words about “WHY I COACH”.
So why do I coach? Do I love coaching? Do I do it for the money? Do I think I’m a good coach? Am I worth the money? Do I make a difference?
All these questions are valid ones and deserve an answer – at least to myself. Especially since the majority of coaches today are riders with big international results. But while not mentioning any of their names, I know people who feel like they’ve wasted money on rock-star-bullshit-coaching and felt that they’ve had their best coaching ever, with a “no-name” guy like me. Being a champ doesn’t equal being a good teacher/coach. In fact, some of my best coaches or trainers would never have stood a chance in a real competition, but they were great listeners, real people-persons, constructive and creative.
My story is that I started coaching in 2010 because I needed the money and I had credentials to my name. I had 4 national titles (Denmark), I was one of the first Enduro riders to take on Trials and therefore had an obvious technical advantage over basically everyone else in my country. But I didn’t know anything about teaching back then and I even had a hard time putting words to why, what, when and where to do this, that and everything in between – to me, it just happened sort of naturally (I’m not talking Jarvis-naturally :-) ). Nevertheless, people showed up to my training weekends in some small yet exclusive pieces of forest and gave me a chance to teach them. I soon realised that I was inspired by inspiring them, and this turned out to be a very key point in my drive during all these years working with the sport. I’ll get back to that later.
So my first few riding schools had an offspring in Trials. My background, however, was 12 years doing motocross and at the time only 3 years doing Enduro and 1 year with Trials. But Trials stuck with me as the most important technical tool so I decided that it had to be the foundation of my coaching. And while most people were reluctant to pull the trigger and purchase their own Trials bike and really get onto the technical train, the majority enjoyed training with me on their Enduro bikes while doing trials inspired exercises.
I kept doing riding schools for a few years in Denmark while also having my debut doing Freestyle Trials Shows. Actually the only freestyle part of the show, was the backflip, but I guess that counts as well. This combo of teaching and entertaining all of a sudden became my main source of income and as the years went by, I started travelling more and more, doing bigger international competitions and my network expanded quicker than I ever imagined. Working with RedBull Romaniacs grew my name on the international scene, competing (yet performing horribly) at the X-Games, doing the Scottish 6Days Trials and a bunch of other world-known competitions all helped solidify my name as a worthy rider.
And here we are fast forward to today, nearly 3 years after my first visit to South America where I’ve enjoyed more teaching and coaching than anywhere else. South America has proven to be a fertile playground for events and offroad coaching. For me, not only does it pay the bills, but it also brings me lots of joy having been able to do so many riding schools in remote places of south america. And I haven’t even seen anything yet!
So why do I coach? I enjoy it. It makes me happy to see people improve. I make friends. I get to experience the world. I get to share a common passion. And it pays the bills :-)
More about my riding schools can be found by clicking this link.