Who has done a skills days / who hasn't?

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  • Who has done a skills days / who hasn't?
  • thomthumb

    with jedi. And I’d have happily paid double for the benefit I got from it.

    yeah. that.

    ski school is normal. bike coaching is weird. why?


    I’ve had a skills day and it was great. Because I’m the only one out of the pals I ride with that has much enthusiasm for jumping, dropping or general trail excitement, so I wasn’t learning much from them. Now they ask me!

    Never done one and don’t plan to.
    It’s not really relevant to the type of riding I like to do.

    Premier Icon Simon

    Been on a couple, both freebies.
    Came away feeling my riding was below average and didn’t feel I’d got any better TBH…………. 🙁


    booked for august, looking forward to being awesome.

    Premier Icon fathomer

    I’ve been Jedi’d and it was worth every penny, I’m now quicker on the trail and will have a go at things I’d have gone no where near or rolled before.

    Premier Icon nickjb

    Same as Simon. Done a couple of skills courses (not free). I felt some things helped a little but mostly came away feeling there was a lot more that before I went I thought I couldn’t, and now I know I can’t.

    Premier Icon weeksy

    I had a day, well a morning,… it was sorta useful… but mostly rubbish.


    jedi, he will change your riding for the better. Including you MTQ.

    Premier Icon theotherjonv

    Exactly as predicted, this thread went off in two directions


    I’m interested, but how many of the exponents of just getting out there and trying stuff, and working up from small beginnings, have actually done a skills day (with Jedi or anyone else)?

    And how many have done a skills day, and thought at the end it was a waste of money?

    For my side – I’ve done two. One was a bit basic (but it was the first of a set of 4 levels), the other was 4hrs 1:1 with jedi. And I’d have happily paid double for the benefit I got from it.

    I can’t understand why many seem to have a downer on coaching. Alistair Cook has daily sessions with his coach. Usain Bolt doesn’t just go out and run, in the hope it’ll make him faster. Why are (the collective) we so suspicious of coaching?

    Been riding an MTB since around ’91 have neither the courage or humility to be told just how bad and inadequate I really am, I can imagine perfectly well and the truth is only going to be worse!!

    But seriously, you can’t improve without coaching. Just doing it doesn’t work, it’s why professional and amateur sports teams and individuals have coaches, to improve their performance.

    Am considering a session for me and my 2 lads, I may be a bit past redemption but they are perfect raw material. Is Jedi the man to choose?


    I decided to take up down hill this year after 21years of riding and racing XC. Although id always found I was quick down hill for an expert level xc racer, I knew it was a massive leap in terms of skill. First thing i did after building a bike was book a DH skills course. It was the best thing ive done in ages, as my confidence on big stuff has increase massively. Since then ive started racing and using what I learned have improved race on race… Skills course worked for me

    Premier Icon ChrisI

    Until a year ago I hadnt done any formal training in my 20+yrs of biking (on and off). I was self taught, from reading things like MBUK and video’s like Tricks and Stunts. Got pretty good at biking, but not what I’d call using my full potential. I got bought a skills course with Cyclewise @ Whinlatter and wasnt expecting a lot, but the chaps there picked up on skills that I had an got me a lot further in a day than I had gotten myself in a past few years. Now looking to go and do a jumps course with Jedi at some point as we dont have anywhere local to build up the jumps/drops and get used to them. I’m sure he will work wonders too.

    I can see the pro’s and con’s of both sides of the argument. Self taught vs a bad instructor, I would say is about level pegging for how much you will improve. But you cant possibly learn what a good instructor can teach you in anywhere near the same timeframe IMO. Far better off to spend the money on coaching than new bits for the bike, however hard it is to admit.


    I had a session with Will Longden a few years ago. I think it helped but its no replacement for riding things yourself and practicing. I would rather spend the money on a trip away riding bigger hills

    mr plow

    I have had 1:1 coaching with Dirtschool. I found it a proper eye opener. I had been riding the same sheep lines and stiff body language for years not knowing why I was stalling, falling and not knowing how to go faster where I wanted to.

    Post coaching I have been able to think through the processes of my riding and why things work and why things don’t. It was a very positive experience for me. I still get lazy and make mistakes etc but I can now see what quite a few of them are and try to avoid making them in future.

    I used to watch videos and think I was doing the same sorts of things as people I was watching. I would say I was an OK rider when actually I was very poor. Coaching opened my eyes to how much body language you can use to increase flow and stability on the trail. It also opened my eyes to many different lines I would not usually consider and what the benefits may be for taking them. Made riding even more fun.

    The coaching was a couple of years ago but I am still working on some of the things shown to me. It planted a seed.

    I think some people can find their way to their own solutions easier than others. If you have strongly set bad habits a coach should be able to show you them and teach the benefits of trying other/better approaches.

    Coaching is proven in so many areas that it seems odd to dismiss it as not being able to offer benefits.

    Premier Icon Taz

    Done 2 with Andy Barlow at Dirt School

    1st one – Jump School. Got me back jumping & dropping after a bad stack killed my confidence

    2nd one – All Mountain peronalized for me and a few mates preparing for Mega this year. Learned heeaps and still trying to implement the learnings into my daily riding

    Both were great and would happily recommend. Will do it again in the future. All of my mates would echo that.

    A day of skills coaching & practice is very, very worthwhile and better VFM than any shiny bike bits IMO.


    I already know what I’m doing wrong & my riding is on par with my mates so when the course I’d booked got cancelled I wasn’t overly fussed

    I had a day at Lee Quarry with Ed Oxley , found it both useful , good fun and confidence improving . What other activity would you expect to develop skills in without some form of tutoring .Apart from anything else we all develope bad habits .Anyone can benefit from advice.


    Rab’s World: Coaching Smiles…

    Was enough to convince me to sign up for some coaching as I seem to have reached an impasse where my fitness has came into form on the road, but I can’t back it up at all with adequate skill on the trails.

    Premier Icon postierich

    I need, to out of my comfort zone riding in the lakes now 😕


    I’m doing mine next week with Emmy Hoyes at Roman Lakes in Marple, NW Peak District

    Look forward to..

    Premier Icon ahwiles

    i haven’t.

    i’m sure they’re a good idea for normal people* but i’m beyond help.

    think; ‘pi55ed pig on stilts’ – that’s me that is.

    (*people with some sense of balance, people whose limbs go roughly where they’re intended, people who aren’t a total coward)

    Premier Icon bowglie

    I’ve been riding bikes off-road in one form or another for donks – since my early teens in the 1970’s (cyclo-X, off-road touring…on a touring bike with X tyres, mucking around bomb holes in the woods on home brewed dirt bikes, then ‘proper’ mountain bikes). Until the early noughties, I’d never given a second thought to doing mtn bike skills training. Didn’t crash any more often than my riding buddies, so I thought I was OK – read the magazines/books and watched videos, and just went out riding lots. However, following a particularly spectacular crash, I thought it might be an idea to try a skills lesson as part of my getting back on the bike rehab program.

    In the last 10 years, I’ve done a few skills courses, these have ranged from more XC race focussed type to ones that are more useful for harder trail centre and natural terrain. The lessons have truly revolutionised my riding – I’m no World Cup winning skills king, but I feel smoother, more confident and in control, and way faster down, up & around than I was before. Apart from one lesson, where the group size and mix of abilities was too great, I think that I’ve learnt something useful on every course I’ve done. Personally, I think if you get a 1:1 or 1:2 lesson, then go in with an open mind, then you’ll get maximum benefit. (oh, and don’t forget to practice the techniques/exercises you’re given 😉 )


    I’ve done one with forest freeride. It was good, the instructor was a top, top bloke and his passion for biking was infectious.
    I was hoping that he was going to appraise my riding and start from there but he started a bit too basic really, maybe a bit generic (it was a one to one).
    I did improve from the day but I feel that I could have improved more and frustratingly, we didn’t cover all of the things which I had hoped to.

    I would rather spend the money on a trip away riding bigger hills

    Potentialy true, but:

    a) would the trip not be even better after a skills course?
    b) is coaching rally that expensive. If I drove 2 hours to ride somewhere different that’s about £35 in petrol, or about half a skils course. Add in some mechanicals, food, etc (Ok you potentialy need these on a skills day as well).

    I actualy recon that a days 1:3 with Jedi would probbaly work out cheeper than 1/6th of the cost of a weeks guided riding (£550 accom + guiding, £200 flights, £40 train etc, I usualy reckon it costs about £1000 to go away for a weeks riding, which seems ridiculous when you think about it!


    Haven’t yet, but keep meaning to book a 1-1 with someone. Would quite like to try Ed or Jedi. I like the cut of their jib. But it would mean some travel for me and I just haven’t got around to it yet. One day…


    Had a session with Tony and it was great. Not a completely instant improvement but its all sank in now. Haven’t had a proper crash since (year and half ago now!) and its been a steady improvement. Now doing gaps and drops I thought I’d never do – I still remember going to woburn for the first time and being so intimidated by the easy bits that I dont even think about now! Next up is getting over the fear or proper dirt jumps/doubles so i can start riding the main lines in the woburn DJ area 😀



    But seriously, you can’t improve without coaching. Just doing it doesn’t work

    Might not have worked for you, but (made up stat) 97.4% of people get on just fine without paying for riding a bike lessons.

    Premier Icon Green

    I had a 1:1 with Jedi about two years ago, and a group session with someone else about a year before that.

    1:1 with Jedi was more expensive, but deffinately worth it, the guy has great coaching skills. Got me riding faster through corners, landing drops more consistently and jumping doubles.

    I guess everyone is different, but I’ve read mags and watched dvds before, but never picked anything up as well.

    Premier Icon ahwiles

    Euro – Member
    (made up stat) 97.4% of people get on just fine without paying for riding a bike lessons.

    for the kind of riding that 97.4% of people actually do; there’s little required beyond ‘stand up for the lumpy bits – don’t forget to pedal’.

    don’t listen to me, i’m an idiot, and i’m crap at riding bikes.


    Paid for my kids to be Jedi’d 🙂 wish I’d booked myself in as well but still came away enthused & now learn stuff off my kids. Think I’d have to find Tony’s mute button before I contemplated a 1:1 session 😉

    MTQ .
    You will be faster through a technical section after a skills session.
    You should also be able to ride further and faster for less effort .
    There is also the outside possibilty you will crash less ( or be less likely to crash).

    Rob Hilton

    It’s not really relevant to the type of riding I like to do

    How would you know? MTB coaching totally changed the way I rode my delivery bike when I was a postman – for the better I might add :mrgreen:

    I also ride other bikes & the techniques are very transferable.

    Edric 64

    I dont ride technical stuff, just xc and bridleways so cant see the point in a skills day.Also im past all that jumpy stuff at my age.


    Not me.

    I think ‘skills’ training is great, and that jedi does a great job; the testimonials on here are enough evidence to prove that.

    It’s just not for me; I’m good enough at the riding I do, lots of road, more cyclocross later in the year for the 3 peaks. The limiting factor is not my skill, it’s my training and the time I have to devote to it while working full time on a variety of shifts including nights.

    I’ve not ridden a mountain bike for a year or so due to them being knackered and not wanting to invest the cash when I’m enjoying the road, but I never felt that a lack of skill held me back.

    I think it helped but its no replacement for riding things yourself and practicing.

    What are you practicing? How do you know youre doing it right? I’ve been riding 18yrs*, and after several trips to the alps was getting pretty “good” (ie. brave) compared to my previous basic XC type riding, doing reasonable size drops (5-6foot) and gaps (18 foot*).

    I had a serious injury in the alps (not on a gap/jump) and as a result started riding flats. This made me re-assess my riding from scratch, which is where the session with tony came in. I had all sorts of awful technique, putting my weight too far back on jumps (harking back to being a 9yr old trying not to go over the bars) amongst other things.

    Tony highlighted the problems, and fixed them. I am now a better rider all round, and would rather do a 6 foot gap stylishly than an 18foot and just get away with it.

    My point being I’d spent 8 trips to the Alps “practicing” my skills, in fact I was engraining bad practice and technique.

    A good skills session will be a better use of money than any bling bike part. As others have observed, it’s interesting that people are so happy to spend money on snow sports lessons but sniff at bikes. Maybe its easier to accept that youre actually cr@p at something you only do once a year?

    *trying to give context on the impact of good coaching, not an attempt at willy waving.

    Edric 64

    Jumps? gaps? ive lived a sheltered life as I have not bothered trying either in 28 years of mtbing ,I dont want to break me or a bike.

    I went up to see Tony/Jedi for something other than a skills day. in passing he changed by brake level position and explained why and got me to clear the double he uses for training courses.

    His skills lie in communicating how to ride*

    *i guess he has reasonable bike skills too

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