One of our very own, ZVC Zia racer, Marcel Berger, attended the USA Cycling Coaching Summit, held once every two years in Colorado Springs, at the USAC headquarters. This four-day summit began Friday, November 4, with Kevin Dessart, USAC Director of Coaching Education and Athlete Development, covering topics about new science on muscle cramping, women’s nutrition, collegiate cycling, and application of science to optimal performance. Marcel’s highlight of the first day was the presentation from Dr. Eric Yelsa about mental preparation for cyclists. The importance of the mind on human performance was emphasized, and how to effectively develop mental toughness through proper goal setting in athletes. It was discussed that since the physical limits of the human body are almost reached, the mental side of human performance will be become more and more crucial in the future.
This event also included several presentations from leading coaches, sport directors, and scientists, with topics including analytics and the application of science in endurance sports, cardiovascular risks, anti-doping, and disordered eating in sports. Exercise physiologist, Micheal D. Weiss’s presentation about exertional heat stress was very revealing. He explained the physiological responses and strategies to optimize acclimatization in humans, and stressed the importance to have always the correct hydration strategy on hand to conform the environmental demands.
The most uniquely informative day shifted its focus to junior development, and how to foster the next cycling generation of the United States, with topics including junior training plans, adolescent development and psychology, and age specific strength and conditioning. Marcel was able to gain valuable insights on projects and developing programs of all five major cycling disciplines.
On the final day, Jim Miller, VP Athletics USAC, introduced the Women Team Pursuit Program. He reported the current state of the project, and explained the future challenges to make this program the best in the world. USAC CEO, Derek Bouchard-Hall’s, closing remarks concluded the summit, with a reminder to all coaches of their conscientious role to assist athletes to develop their full potential.
Marcel is looking forward to the next summit in 2018.