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Coaching E-Zine - Track Stand for Intermediates - by Kelvin Batey

By:  Kelvin Batey
Date:  01st September 2014

Track Stand for Intermediates

The term "track stand" comes from track racing. Although these days it seems the velodrome racers have assistants hold their seats for them, BMXers still carry on the tradition and racers from all disciplines still find the track stand useful on different occasion. Even if you don't race, it is very handy at road crossing when you are riding to the BMX track or even riding down the street to fetch a loaf of bread! The kids in the cars next to you dig it, and certainly not having to fumble around clipping in or putting your feet back on the pedals when the light turns green is to everyone's advantage, especially yours!
In a BMX race the track stand will come in useful as it will teach you balance while in a static position. This comes right at the start of a race where you are balancing on the start gate ready to snap out of the gate. With good practice of a track stand the balancing on a gate will feel a lot easier as the gradient of the hill and having your wheel up against the gate will aid you being able to balance. Having this skill will help you be able to concentrate on your timing and technique out the gate rather than having all your thoughts on the balancing. You will also sometimes get hit by another rider or get bunched in a big group of riders in a corner so having good balance on the bike in the way of a track stand will be vital for you to stay on your bike on these situations.
To make the skill easier to beginner riders can find a slightly uphill piece of ground so they don't have to worry about using the brakes for the skill. Once ready to do the track stand riders must have the pedals level (at 3 and 9 o'clock) with feet placed on the pedals on the balls of their foot.  Body must be in an upright position with arms and legs slightly bent to give you a good, solid base on the bike. Keep your head looking forward at all-time despite it being tempting to look down at the front wheel as this will give you a good equilibrium. Press your front pedal just hard enough to hold your position. It may be tempting to grab the brakes to still yourself, but resist anything more than an occasional light feathering....... let the slope do the work. At first, don't try to be perfectly still. Gently touch your left pedal back a few degrees to release pressure before pushing down again so your bike moves forward a little. Try one back-and-forth and then step off the bike. Then try the move with more back-and-forth before stepping off. Staying relaxed through this skill is key as if you are too tense this will unstable you on the bike.
Once confident on the uphill ground move this onto the flat and then downhill which will be good progression and testers of the skill.

1) Once confident on doing a track stand coaches can take their riders to a flat piece of ground marking out a 5m area. Riders will ride towards the marked area before trying to stop for as long as possible inside it without putting their feet down. The rider that stays in the area for the longest without coming off the bike wins.

2) To advance the activity riders can go to their track and start a "slow race" race from the start gate. They will be balanced on the gate before the gate is released and they have to try and get to the first jump on the track or a marked position on there as slow as possible with other riders around them. The rider who gets to the marked position the slowest is the winner.
3) An activity that is BMX race specific is to have riders balancing on the start gate for as long as possible. See which rider can do it for the longest. To make things more interesting when they are confident doing this skill, have them look up and get their eyes following wherever your finger or an object you are holding moves. This will unbalance their equilibrium but really test their skill of balancing on the start gate.

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