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The NICA Coaches License Program strives to ensure that coaches are sufficiently knowledgable so as to have a positive impact on NICA student-athletes.  The Professional Development requirements are intended to educate NICA coaches, both new and experienced, in the industry best-practices for a wide range of topics. A number of formats are provided to allow the greatest opportunity for coach participation.

Head Coach Asst. Coach Ride Leader
9 units, including MTB 101 and Risk Management 6 units, including Risk Management 3 units, including Risk Management

*MTB 101 is 3 units
*A full day of seminars at a Leaders’ Summit is 6 units (units for each course varies)

Leaders’ Summits

The annual Leaders’ Summits, hosted by each NICA League, bring together coaches, assistant coaches, ride leaders, and parent volunteers—both new and experienced—to develop skills and knowledge, share strategies, and build community. These conferences promote a holistic approach to coaching that creates an environment in which young people can grow and thrive.

These summits are the best opportunity for new coaches to become acquainted with the best practices of coaching NICA student-athletes. As such, the NICA Leaders’ Summits are a required event for individuals looking to obtain an Assistant Coach or Head Coach License. Individuals looking to obtain a NICA Ride Leader License may gain Professional Development Units through a series of online courses (see below). The two day event includes both on-the-bike skills instruction and classroom style seminars.

Below are some typical agendas for Leaders’ Summit courses.

MTB 101: Learn the Skills to Teach the Skills

This clinic offers a “behind the scenes” look at the NICA’s mountain bike skills clinics. Participants learn the progressive steps needed to teach anyone (even yourself) both basic and advanced mountain biking skills. You will also learn about experiential teaching techniques, how to accommodate different learning styles, and how to create a positive learning environment for young riders. Much of this workshop is experiential and on the bike.

Professional Development Seminars

Multiple sessions designed to help coaches successfully manage, lead, and work with high school mountain bike teams. These seminars will cover numerous aspects of coaching and leadership. Below is a list of sample seminar topics:

Management and Leadership of a High School team

Culturally Competent Coaching

Engaging and Motivating Adolescents

Securing and Sustaining Sponsorships

New Head Coach Orientation

Training and Sports Psychology for the Teenage Athlete

Maximizing Recruiting, Coaching and Retaining Girls

Race Day: Structure, Support and Success

Seasoned Coaches’ Dialogue

Online Webinars

The NICA Ride Leader License requires 3 Professional Development Units.  These units may be obtained by attending the Leaders’ Summit or by participating in a series of online webinars provided by NICA and partnering organizations.

Risk Management Webinar

The NICA Risk Management Webinar is a 1 hour interactive online course.  The material covers the current best-practices for mitigating risk for high school mountain bike teams.  The course uses various scenarios to demonstrate important points, followed by group discussion.

Please contact Tyler Dibble to find when the next NICA Risk Management Webinar will take place.  This webinar also counts toward Continuing Education Units.

Positive Coaching Alliance “The Double-Goal Coach” Webinar

NICA has partnered with the Positive Coaching Alliance ( which offers “The Double-Goal Coach” online webinar to NICA Coaches.  The interactive workshop introduces PCA’s Double-Goal Coach model and provides an in-depth review of the three principles around which it is built: Honor the Game, Fill Emotional Tanks, Re-define “Winner”. The course costs $30.

To take the PCA’s “Double-Goal Coach” webinar, please go to PCA Double-Goal Coach.

After completion of the webinar, please contact Tyler Dibble .

Coaches Exam

The Coaches Exam is a requirement for NICA Ride Leader, Assistant Coach and Head Coach Licenses.  NICA recommends coaches complete their Professional Development prior to taking the exam.

The Coaches Exam may be taken online or at a Leaders’ Summit.  To take the exam online, follow the instructions below.

Only take one exam.  If you are working toward a NICAHead Coach License, take the Head Coach Exam.  If you are working toward a NICA Assistant Coach License or NICA Ride Leader License, you may take either exam.  The Head Coach exam is longer and more difficult.

Contact Tyler Dibble for details on how to take the exam online.

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