5 Tips to Practice MTB Skills on a Busy Schedule
RLC founder Ryan Leech shares advice drawing from a 27-year pro riding & coaching career. Ryan has performed thousands of stunt shows around the world, including Cirque du Soleil, IMBA World Summit and Crankworx.
Are you too busy to progress your mountain biking skills? You’re not alone. It’s something we hear quite often from riders before they join our community. For many, it can be surprising how much you can achieve in very little time. You may just need to rethink your practice strategy.
That’s why I want to share a few tips on how you can improve your skills on a tight schedule.
- Try short riding sessions
Some riders put way too much pressure on themselves to get out and do long rides, usually resulting in in-frequent rides. If you’re able to get out for lengthy rides regularly, that’s awesome, but if you're busy, try carving out more frequent but short rides or practice sessions. These regular rides train our brain and muscles so that complex movements become second nature much more quickly. As a pro, my learning skyrocketed with daily practice, and I'd notice a loss of ability if I had 7 or more days off the bike. Our students are always surprised how attainable 20-30 minutes of practice a few times a week is and are blown away by the results.
- Practice away from the trail, year-round
There are so many skills that can be developed close to home - in a local park, garage, underground parking, or your basement - all year-round. If you improve skills like trackstands, hopping, drops, and riding skinnies, you’ll be able to spend less time getting on and off your bike and devote more energy to the fun stuff. When we say 20-30 minute practice sessions, we really mean it - that's all it takes - but again, consistency is key!
- Ask for help if you get stuck
There are so many riders that come to us saying that they gave up on a skill years ago and they thought they would just never be able to acquire it. The reality is, it’s really difficult to isolate the body and bike movements without a trained eye. No need to reinvent the wheel! It’s a huge reason why so many riders are finally able to reach their goals and why short riding sessions really do work. Instead of hours of trial and error, ask a coach for help to speed things up.
- Mix up the skills you’re learning
If you’re working on a skill and it starts to feel like... work... There’s no harm in putting that skill on pause and trying something new. For one, riding should be fun. Secondly, learning different skills all contribute to your overall bike/body control, and will loop back around and help you re-engage that skill you put 'on pause' with more gusto. Our coaches often ask riders to hop from one course to another to work on specific skill areas.
- Don’t be so hard on yourself if you skip practice
As a coach, I really want riders to focus on consistent practice. While it’s important to ride regularly, don’t be so hard on yourself if you miss a week. Don’t throw in the towel. Maybe you’ve set out a routine that’s a little more ambitious than you can stick to. There’s no shame in adjusting your practice schedule - this is a hobby that we choose to do after all!
Want to take your riding to the next level? Whether you want to master the manual, the bunny hop, or just want to safely get down the hill, we’ve got you covered. Each of our online masterclasses are broken down into a series of step-by-step progressions with unlimited video & photo reviews from a team of 30+ coaches.
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