So your kids are ready to ride and you are excited to start teaching them. Here are 11 awesome tips for coaching your kids that will ensure that they learn to ride in the most enjoyable and safe manner possible.
1. Make it fun: No child is going to learn if they aren’t enjoying themselves and having fun first. Don’t force them to ride if they don’t want to. If your kid would rather play in the dirt and run around then let them.
2. Keep it short: Kids get tired and lose focus quickly! Limit riding sessions to roughly 10-15 mins at a time for new riders and watch them carefully for signs of fatigue or loss of concentration. Pull them off the track or trail immediately at the first signs of inattention or carelessness as crashes and accidents occur more easily when kids are tired. Young children can’t recognize this by themselves so it is our job as parents to keep them safe and focused.
3. Give ONE instruction at a time. Don’t overload your kids with too much information all at once. Give them one simple instruction at a time.
For example, Have your child show you how to roll on and off the gas. Get him to practice this a few times statically. Then walk beside him (two adults is best) and have him practice rolling on and off. Teach him to roll off the gas before reaching for the brake.
Then show him how to apply the front brake. Again, do this statically a few times for practice and then walk beside him to ensure he knows how to do it.
When he goes out onto the track let him practice that one thing. If you need to tell him something else call him in and give him one short instruction. Don’t overload his little brain with multiple instructions at a time. Keep them short, simple and easy to understand.
4. Speak to them on their level: Get down on your knees and speak to them at eye level and from in front of them. If you are talking to them make sure they give eye contact and some form of acknowledgement that they have understood you. Don’t yell at them from across the track, pull them in and talk to them if you see something that needs correcting or addressing.
5. Chill out: Always remember that they are KIDS and that they make mistakes. Don’t get mad at your child for making an error, crashing, or not understanding your instructions. Don’t lose your temper or get frustrated as it will only make your child feel ashamed and more likely to give up.
6. Keep them hydrated: Make sure your kid is drinking tons of water, especially while riding. Dehydration can cause a lack of focus and concentration and kids just aren’t mature enough to know how much water they need. Every time they take a break make it a rule that they have to have some water, even if it is small sip. Again it is your responsibility as a parent to make sure that they stay hydrated. Same goes for being fuelled up with healthy snacks. Low blood sugar can also cause inattention and loss of focus. Always have a variety of quick and healthy snacks on hand that they can graze on throughout the day.
7. Give plenty of encouragement and positive reinforcement. Kids get frustrated easily and want to feel like they are accomplishing something. Make sure you show them you are proud of them. Point out the little things that they are doing correctly and give them tons of positive reinforcement. Don’t criticize or point out what they are doing wrong.
8. Teach them the rules: Go over the rules of the track and proper riding etiquette and give them the reasons WHY. Instead of saying don’t do that, explain why it is important to follow the rules. “Always go this direction on the track so that everyone is riding the same way.” “Don’t stop in the middle of the track because you could get hit by someone.” “Put your hand up when you are going to exit so that people know where you are going,” etc.
9. Always wear the proper gear: Make sure your kid is always always wearing their safety gear and that things like helmet and boot straps are done up properly. Your child should at the very least have a proper fitting DOT approved helmet, goggles, gloves, long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy boots and preferably a chest protector, elbow pads and knee pads as well.
10. Skills before Speed. I cannot stress this enough. Make sure your kid knows how to ride properly BEFORE he tries to ride fast. I’ve seen too many kids out there ripping it up on the track without a clue of how to do it right.
Start with something like throttle control and how to roll on the gas smoothly and evenly throughout the turn. Then teach him about looking ahead through the corner instead of down at the ground. Adjust his body position. Slow him down if he is riding above his ability. He may be going slower than other kids out there but at least he is riding right.
11: Know when to ask for help: If you are an inexperienced rider yourself you might want to have your child coached by a professional. Know your own limits as a parent and ask for help. Other parents at the track can be great resources or look into professional coaching options like the Honda Junior Red Riders Program.
Do you have any other tips for coaching your kids? Leave a comment below!