By Molly Hurford - Coach & Ambassador
You’ve already signed up for the Ryan Leech Connection (RLC), so you’ve taken the first step towards improving your bike skills. But unfortunately, just signing up doesn’t guarantee results: you have to show up consistently, both in terms of watching the skills videos and moving through the courses, and actually getting outside to practice. Whether you’ve been training for years already or you’re a complete newbie, there are a few ways to get the most out of your membership. Let’s dive in!
Make It Easy
Why don’t people get outside to practice, or watch a new video every day? Because life gets in the way. The bike is dirty. I forgot my password. I got sidetracked checking email. Set yourself up for success instead. Have your bike and necessary gear (helmet, shoes) by the door so you’re always ready to get outside at a moment’s notice. If you’re the type of person who gets distracted by emails if you use your computer to watch the videos, consider using a different browser where RLC is set as your homepage, and that’s the only thing you ever open on it.
Do you have five courses going all at once? It's not uncommon to bite off more than we can chew. In perfect world we'd only concentrate on one skill at a time, however, it's important to avoid overdoing a skill in a single session. For example, how many bunnyhops can you do before fatigue sets in and you start re-enforcing poor technique? Rather than pushing through the fatigue, switch to a less dynamic skill such as track stands. But limit the number of switches per session. Having one or two courses going simultaneously is fine, but avoid random unfocused practice that bounces from one skill to the next rapidly. Research has shown that multitasking can reduce productivity by up to 40 percent.
Be Consistent with Skills & Video-Watching
Jerry Seinfeld isn’t someone you’d consider a productivity guru, but he does have one huge secret for success. He famously has a calendar that he marks with an X every day that he writes a joke—just one joke—and says that the secret to staying consistent is that once you’ve racked up a few Xs, you won’t want to break the chain. Start your own calendar, on paper or online somewhere, and give yourself an X for every day that you watch a video and get in some practice. Once you have a streak going, you won’t want to stop!
Mix It Up
The one caveat to single-tasking: there are days when getting outside and practicing on the bike might just be impossible. So, instead of writing off the day (and ruining your streak!), have a backup plan. Ryan has some great yoga flows for cyclists, and getting your zen on and stretching your (probably tight) hip flexors won’t interfere with your ability to nail a wheelie, so swap your bike for a yoga mat during the thunderstorm and do a quick flow. Have these easier, gentler videos as easy to cue up as the skills-focused ones so you’re never struggling to find the right thing to do.
Be the Star
Ryan isn’t the only one who can make videos. Enlist a friend or just balance your phone against something to make a DIY tripod so you can shoot a video of yourself practicing whatever skill you’re trying to nail. Trust me when I say that it will highlight a ton of things that you’re doing right, and doing wrong! Don’t just hit delete once you’ve watched it, though: if you upload it to the RLC website or Facebook group, you’ll get tons of feedback and encouragement that will not only help you correct any minor mistakes, but it will also spur you on to keep practicing so you can post that “nailed it!” video in a few weeks.
Make a list of the skills that you truly want to master and goals you want to achieve by the end of the year. That might be holding a wheelie for 5 seconds, or crossing the parking lot while holding a wheelie. It could also mean doing at least one full yoga session every single week. The more specific you can be about those goals, the better. Write them on a list and keep it somewhere you can see (like right above where you stash your bike and your yoga mat!).
Nail Down Practice Time
If you have a busy schedule, don’t just rely on “sometime” for your video-watching and skills-practicing sessions. Find a time during the day and add that 15-30 minutes to your schedule. Let your family know that every morning or right after work is going to be devoted to practicing your skills, so they know that you’re going to walk in, grab your bike, and head back out. Having that time blocked off makes it a lot easier to stick to your practicing—it’s a lot easier to get out the door at 7AM than it is at 10PM after a long day!
Get Addicted to Facebook
Studies have shown that people who use social media to post about their exercise accomplishments are more likely to stay motivated and exercising regularly, and the same is true of practicing bike skills. When interviewing high-performers using the Ryan Leech Connection, they all said that the Facebook group was a big part of how they got motivated, and kept their motivation high. Even if you’re too shy to share a video of your practice (yet), you can still hop on, say hi, ask questions, and get involved in discussions.
Read the Comments
When it comes to mastering a new skill, asking questions and getting feedback is huge. Within each course on the Ryan Leech Connection, you can ask questions in the comments sections, and a coach or ambassador will answer them. If something in a video isn’t clicking for you, or you’ve stalled out at a certain point in a course, don’t be afraid to ask questions. You can also ask on Facebook to see what other people have done, but for a more coach-based answer, the site is a great place to start. Bonus: you can see what other people have asked, because it’s likely that someone else has had the same sticking points as you, and you can see how they corrected their practice.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
You’ve been crushing it, getting in practice every day. But then… the boss piled on a huge project and you ended up at the office until 11PM, came home, and couldn’t bear the thought of dragging your bike out for practice. So you missed a day because you had to work late? No big deal. The problem is, when we do break that successful streak, it sometimes can feel hard to get back on track. Don’t let one minor roadblock completely stop your momentum, though. Get going again as soon as possible, and don’t let your one day turn into a week without practice.