Skills courses, and instructors, can be a hard thing to assess in advance, unless they already have a glowing reputation and loads of people raving about them in forums. Sometimes, there’s a glossy website; sometimes you just meet them in your local woods after a recommendation from a friend, get a bit of work done on your cornering then hand over some crisp tenners.
A collection of instructors from Scotland have gathered together under one umbrella (figuratively that is, not literally), including a couple of our own contributors, Tom Nash and Rab Wardell. As well as offering in person coaching, they’ve launched a YouTube channel with lots of quick tips: Dirt School.
Here’s Rab talking through line choices on a slippery course:
(No video showing for you? Here’s a link).
And here’s Andy Barlow talking through bunny hop height, and how they’re useful for creating traction either side of an obstacle:
(Can’t see the video? Follow this link).
Not only are these useful for people brushing up on techniques in their own time, they seem like they’ll at least be somewhat be helpful in figuring out if you’ll get on with a particular instructor or not. They started building the channel up around a year ago, but as of now are posting weekly tips videos like the ones above. You can find more videos like these on the channel.
Here’s what they say about themselves:
“We have one simple ethos at Dirt School. To make sure your coach has not just the paperwork but the riding credentials to match. Whether that’s at the head of a terrifying trail, on the start line of a big race or even just finding your feet on the bike again after a little crash, we’ve been there. It’s this feet-on-the-ground and real world experienced approach to mountain bike coaching that’s earned us respect at the top. Whether that’s writing books and developing our own mountain bike tuition techniques or coaching World Champions.
Our work has taken us all over the world and we have been fortunate enough to work in partnerships that have given us great insight. The ability to fully deconstruct our sport and develop an in depth coaching knowledge, based not just in textbooks, but on clear results from our work with psychologists, physiologists, top riders and people around the world. Making you have more fun is our passion not just our jobs.
Whether it’s standing trackside at the World Championships, or trailside on the Blue Route at Glentress, we’re working with riders. Come and join us, whatever you ride we’ll make this amazing sport better for you. We promise.”