Talking Junior Coaching With Shane Metcalfe

Author: Aaryn Minerds

Author: Aaryn Minerds


The annual Y-AIM Shane Metcalfe 25 50cc/65cc school held in South Australia is always popular with a large number of young riders in attendance.
Shane Metcalfe is a well know name in the sport of motocross and Supercross in Australia with plenty of national senior podium results to his name.

Racing on the national circuit at the pointy end of the field from the late 90s through to 2007 the South Australian spent time racing for the Factory Honda, Yamaha and Kawaski teams before ending his time as a professional at a relativley early age.

Still with a passion for his chosen sport and some positive memories from attending a Stephen Gall coaching school back in 1997, Metcalfe moved his focus to coaching during his final year of racing, becoming the South Australian coach for the highly credentialed and still widley regarded today, Yamaha Australian Institue of Motocross schools.

In fact I actually attended one of his early schools held in the lead up to a stadium-X event held at the Murray Bridge speedway back in 2007 and have attended a handful more of his schools over the years.

One of Shane's big focuses at his Schools is saftey and wearing the correct saftey equipment. Metcalfe is no stranger to injuries and knows all to well that something completely out of your own control can quickly have and adverse affect on your racing career.
The youngest and even first time riders can gain a lot of confidence with a few basic riding tips.
Shane himself lost 70% of vision in one eye after throwing his googles during a race, then copping a rock to the eye and getting caught not wearing goggles at one of his schools will cost you more than a few push-ups!

Last year with my son moving onto a 50 mini I took him to his first 50/65cc YAIM school at Gilman in South Australia, seeing the amount of confidence he picked up on that one day was pretty cool and to watch him try to mimic Shane's style and technique really bought to my attention just how much a young rider can pick up in such a short period of time.

It really should not have surprised me, both my kids started swimming lessons at a very early age and were competent swimmers by the age of 5, so the theory of being able to teach kids proper tequniuqe and saftey skills from an early age is something that is well and truley put into practice in other sports, so it only makes sense that it would have the same benefits for our chosen sport.

After heading back this year on the bigger 50 for another school I talked to Shane about the importance of his 50/65cc schools which you can read below.
There is no quicker way to for a rider to pick up new skills than riding on track and following instructions from a rider they look up to.
How important do you feel it is for someone starting out as a young rider to learn the basics of riding

In my opinion it is the most important time for a new young rider to learn the basic of riding. If they learn the correct things straight up they become fairly safe in my opinion.

When i get some kids come to me after riding for a bit of time and they have developed the wrong techniques, it always makes me a little nervous but it can also be very hard to break those bad habits if they don’t understand why and how the basics works.

You start your 50 / 65cc school off by running through all the safety gear needed to ride and the importance of wearing correct saftey equipemnt.

What would tell parents are the must have essential riding gear to have before their child’s rides a bike for the very first time.

Well first things first, Helmet is the number one thing, the fit of a helmet for a child is really important, you should never grow into a helmet.

All kids under 16 are supposed to have body armour and i would encourage this as it covers the other major organs. Boots are important for ankle and shin protection, gloves and goggles, race gear (pants and top) are great but for a first ever ride there is no problems with jeans and a long sleeve shirt.
No question is left un-answered at a Shane Metcalfe school with all riders encouraged to give their thoughts and ask as many quesitons as they can.
The school we attended had a wide variety of young riders, from PW50 riders just starting out, kids that have done a little riding on KTM Mini’s and SX bikes and some faster 65cc riders. How hard is it to plan out a school that will benefit a wide variety of young junior riders

That school was a bit of a challenge, it was a very big variety for sure.

I’d love to tell you i have every school planned before i get there but reality is i have never seen half the kids that were there that day, i have a rough plan but it changed a lot that day on the fly.

After doing the basics with the kids and then starting to get a bit of confidence into the littler kids then we could get out onto the track itself. I am lucky that i have a group of guys that i can use as assistant coaches, and that makes life pretty easy as well.

As you mention above, safety gear is very important to a young rider, during the school there is a lot of focus on safe riding as well, and it is fair to say the 50 / 65cc school is more aimed at safe riding and basic technics than riding fast, would you say it is more important for a young rider learning to ride to focus on riding safely and correctly.

Yes 100%, with correct technique and riding safely as a youngster, confidence grows, and with that confidence come speed when that kid is ready to use it all. No one wants to see young kids with broken bones or other serious injuries, by learning all the basics and getting that right it reduces the chances of these things happening.
From group schools to one on one coaching starting your child off on the right foot by learning to be safe on a motorcycle is the very first and most important step in their riding life.
Continuing on with the safety aspect, both of my kids both learned to swim to give them both confidence and myself piece of mind when they are around water, the aim was never for them to be world champion swimmers, would you say your junior riding schools are structured in the same way, giving both rider and parent the confidence that their child is riding in a controlled and safe manner.

When you put it like that, yes thats exactly right. If you put your kid into footy, they have practice once a week and learn how to do things with the correct technique, once they have enough skills they can get picked in a team.

Riding bikes is dangerous, there is no hiding that, so with that i’d want my kids to understand every aspect of riding to help make them as safe as possible.

For my son, he really enjoys the group schools and it is great seeing him paying complete attention to you when you talk or tell him to do something, he doesn't always do that for me!

But not all young riders feel as comfortable or can struggle to focus in bigger groups, do you also offer one on one coaching for younger riders who might want to learn in a more focused atmosphere or for riders who might feel more comfortable with less riders around?

Yeah for sure I do, the main problem i have is fitting these days in with my normal Monday to Friday job, normal scheduled riding schools, races and my family time, but I do a lot of private schools each year and am happy to do smaller or one on one training for sure.

Cheers for you time Shane and once again thanks for having us at one of your Schools, is there anything else you would like to add for the young rider and their parents that are looking at getting into riding?

No worries at all mate, always a pleasure having yourself and young J Man along. There is not much more to say mate, but if you are new and looking to get into riding, dont be afraid to ask questions, I get a lot of enquiries through my website, i’m always happy to try and help guide people into it the best way possible.

To contact Shane via his website to either book in for one of his schools, or to simply email him a question - CLICK HERE

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