Using visualization and imagery coaching techniques to inspire your students allows you to connect with your students on a much deeper level. Part 1 discusses the immense power of using visualization. Part 2 will provide colorful examples of expanding your coaching language. Parts 3–7 will give specific cues for flats, climbs, high-intensity efforts, and warm-up and cool-down. You will never run out of things to say again!
The next installment of our Creative Visualization and Imagery series focuses on coaching your riders to focus on their breath, how to connect their breath with their pedal strokes, and how to talk about pedal stroke dynamics. These are the tricks that help athletes ignore any possible negative thoughts such as doubt and fear, and lead them to success. While these are exceptional for sub-threshold intensity cueing (like endurance classes), they put your riders into the right mental space to take on higher intensities.
In this chapter, I discuss the use of metaphors and similes to add color and personality to your coaching. These spark your riders to be more creative and to use their imagination. They are an incredibly powerful coaching method and will set you apart from the typical bootcamp-style instructor who only shouts out commands, telling people specifically what to do. Here are 52 metaphors and similes to spice up your cueing.
The language techniques described here will help you to greatly expand your vocabulary, use different ways for expressing a similar idea, and will add color and excitement to your coaching. In part 1, I discussed the physiological effects of visualization and imagery techniques and how the mind doesn’t know the difference between a real or imagined event. Your creative cueing will take advantage of this fact to help guide them to higher levels of performance and success.
What is a Journey Ride? I like to think of them as rides in which a challenging profile, combined with empowering coaching, compels the rider to look inward and examine his thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations during the ride. Often incorporating visualization, they transcend the physical act of riding an indoor bike and become metaphors for challenges faced outside of the cycling studio. During the course of the ride, the rider develops a much greater sense of self, often leaving with heightened confidence and a desire to take on any challenge the world throws at them. Journey rides are magical! Go experience one for yourself at Charleston Ride!
One of my favorite visualizations for endurance rides for fifteen years now has been the image of a cheetah running in slow motion. I’d have my students close their eyes and watch the cheetah in their mind’s eye and then seek to be catlike in their own motion. Well…you won’t believe the stunning video that I discovered!
I had a strange dream about teaching Spinning. It was an instructor’s nightmare, kind of like Groundhog Day—I kept coming back to the same room, same people, same situation, but different things kept going wrong. It was exasperating! However, something very good came from this dream, and I woke at 5 am to write down the lesson I learned: the yin and yang of the pedal stroke.
To a cyclist, climbing represents baring one’s soul, enduring and overcoming suffering, and realizing accomplishments beyond what you’ve ever done in the past–all rolled into one. Climbing is the Zen of cycling. Bring some of these motivational visualizations and encouragements into your own coaching and empower your students like never