Letter to the BMX community of Canada Here is the proposed plan for the development of our sport in Canada. Pleasetake the time to read through and see what we believe to be a good solution to ourfractured community. Its time to put behind us all the bad blood and move forward for the growth of the sport and our racers. The plan is open to new ideas and perspectives. If you have ideas that couldimprove upon it, please feel free to talk to your fellow riders and parents. The more we discuss these issues, the better we all will be. The central goal of the Plan is to unite our BMX community in Canada, to help itgrow, to foster cooperation and to help it achieve success it has never seen before. Just like the community you live in, all the members must have the same goals and work together to achieve those goals. After you have read the Plan, if you feel that this is a framework that you wouldlike to support, please sign the petition at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/cbu/ If the majority of the BMX community in Canada feels strongly that unity is the bestoption and would like to see the Plan implemented, then we can take steps to make that happen. Cycling in Canada needs to get behind what the majority in our sport want.
Pieces of the ProposalA BMX Plan for Canada1 Where It All Starts- The Tracks (slide 4)2 When Talent Emerges (slide 7)3 Junior Development Ideas (slide 9)4 Elite Development Ideas (slide 11)5 The New Race Series Explained (slide 12)6 Training, Coaching, Training Facilities (slide 15)7 How and Why All The Pieces Work Together (slide 17)8 Addressing Opposition to The Plan (slide 23)
Where It All Starts : The Tracks BMX begins at the local track. We discover a track, do a few laps and then decide to start racing. The parents, riders and volunteers at these local tracks are the bloodline in our sport. They keep the riders coming back again and again by creating a fun and safe environment for the kids to learn and ride at their own pace.•Keeping it fun for the kids (prizes and games) and you want your racers to go tell their friendshow much fun it is at the track•Ensuring that the local track focuses on all levels of participants, not any one particular groupand that programs are in place to meet the needs of all levels. It allows the novice rider tocome and race and have fun with their friends. As the intermediate rider is starting to get morefocussed and more competitive, having programs available to help he/she excel. As well, theexpert racer is being challenged and engaged and valued in the local track program•Ensuring that everyone feels included- parents and racers alike (get parents involved in helpingout, make it fun for them with social events or activities after racing, organizing group travel tobigger events such as Provincial race weekends)
Things that help make a local track successful are:• Encouraging higher level athletes to keep racing at the local level to help support the club and also to provide an example of high level racing for the novice and intermediate riders to strive for. Also to encourage those experienced racers to interact with young/new riders- chat with them, give them pointers, recognize how they did in their race• Offer open class or ProAms for the teenage riders, they can earn their race fees back in prize money or find sponsors for the series to increase the prizes• A support system that provides effective administration and assists the track in its efforts to recruit new members and run solid programs for existing members• A local track team program that all racers have the option to join to help everyone feel that they belong to a group, including track team jerseys and extra practice nights- because in BMX no one sits on the bench!• Special attention to brand new riders- first race trophies, move up certificates or mementos and time spent educating them on basic rules and racing information• A consistent and constant education process as BMX is often foreign to new people (talking about rules, providing clinics and instruction, mentoring, sharing information about development opportunities)• Having a good solid membership of a variety of ages which provides for motos of similar age and ability (new riders get discouraged when they have to race up in age too far or in a higher proficiency)• A good flow of riders between tracks that are in close proximity to each other (this also helps provide the more full classes of riders and can be enhanced with a local track race series/track team championship or educating about and providing incentives for district rankings)
For the true and absolute success of the BMX Plan all the tracks need to be operating under the same rules, points and membership system. This keeps costs for the family reasonable as there is only one type of membership to buy. It allows for thelocal inter track races series to be easily coordinated and for the flow of riders between tracks on regular race nights as everyone is racing under the same system. Additionally, It takes away the element of negativity that exists with two different sanctions which mostfamilies get exposed to at some point in their first or second season. The energy that is put into the sanction "war" will be eliminated and efforts put into doing things twice or two different ways can be funneled into improvement of a single program.The main advantage to all tracks working together is that efforts to improve the success of BMX are combined and can reach a broader number of new and old riders.
When Talent Emerges The potential of a racer seems to emerge at different times for different kids. Some racers are strong right from the get go. This may be because they have a size/strength advantage or it may be because they have focus that other kids their age dont yet have.For some racers BMX is more about fun than serious winning until they hit adolescence and then they start to get down to business, set a goal and work at it. The point is that winning when you are six doesn’t mean you will be a world champion when you are twenty one. Talent is going to emerge at varying ages and the BMX Plan has to have a program for each group. When that talent is identified it needs to have a program to go to so it may be nurtured for its full potential while the racer is still interested. Often we see kids come out to the local track who have a natural ability,they race for a year or so and then they disappear. BMX in Canada needs a formal program that can recognize the potential in a racer who participates at the local track and gives he/she the tools they need (and want) to take it to the next level.
There are a variety of different ways that this could be set up: A designated track volunteer who sees a rider with potential and then passes him/her off to a series oflocal clinics that are designed to help them improve their skills. These clinics could be run at the ProvincialCycling Association level. It might be that this program is for racers that are being prepared for the formal Junior Development Program.It could also be a Provincial Cycling Association coach who coordinates the monthly (or bi monthly clinics) and it would be up to them to spend time at each track on a regular basis looking for these racers. It could also be that each track has their own coach and that coach is watching for emerging talent on a regular basis and then working with those groups of kids at their home track. Somehow, when a rider shows promise at the local level we need to notice that rider and give them an opportunity to explore their potential. The developmental program need to be explained and that riderneeds to be recognized for their abilities or improvements. A coach that identifies an emerging talent could give that rider a “Coach’s Pass” for free racing at the next race. The development program at this levelneeds to absolutely maintain a fun atmosphere to keep it light but let them find out what their possibilities are in the sport. There are so many directions that this can be offered and working together we can discover new and innovative ways of enlarging our local pool of talent and keeping it fun at the same time. At this level of development it would be ideal to offer this program at no cost to the racer.
Junior Development Ideas Junior Development needs to be the next step for any racer that shows full interest and complete commitment at any age, but restricted to expert level riders. Junior Development should offer consistent interactive coaching. It should offer personalized basic training plans for the racers and a relationship between coach and racer should be developed that provides ongoing motivation, supportFor the younger racers, 5-9 yearsand advice. old, Junior Development needs to be tailored to that age group to make sure it doesnt overwork them but assists inmaintaining their interest in the sport and emphasizes fun. It should include the absolute basics of training plans and should be centered around a positive atmosphere and encouragement. Junior Development could also be offered in two tiers- one program for all engaged athletes who have been accepted and then another program for athletes that have been identified for potential at a high level and are being prepared for Elite Development. The second tier should have an age limit,perhaps accepting racers at 11-12 years of age and older. The first tier shouldhave a focus of preparing for the second tier, formalizing their training, gettingrace experience at easily accessible Canadian and US National events, working to be the top of their age group in Canada. But always keeping it fun and interesting to the athletes.
The second tier should have an elevated focus of gaining as much race experience as possible against the best riders- typically this will be at USNationals where the classes are large and the talent is deep. The second tier will learn about focus on their sport and hone their training processes for maximum benefit. Things like sport psychology and nutrition should be included in this phase. When younger racers travel to the UCI Worlds they also need a coach tosupport them at these large events. Often it is their first experience and it is rather different than what they experience at home. The Plan suggests that each year one coach is selected from amongst the Provincial Cycling Associations to travel to the UCI Worlds to assist, guide and coach the Canadian Challenge class entrants. It is acceptable at this level that a fee be associated with the Junior Development coaching services.
Elite Development Ideas At this level the athletes should be assisted financially while securing the best coaching fit possible. Getting those riders to the required events is imperative and the only way to gain experience at the highest calibre. This can be Tier Two of the Junior Development, including racers of a certain age (suggesting 14+) right up to current elite racers. Elite development should be coordinated and executed by the National BMX Coach employed by CCC. This should be a person devoted solely for the ultimate success of our elite athletes. The National Coach wont necessarily directly coach the elite athletes, he/she will ensure they have a coach that complements the athlete, work with them to secure funding for this high level training, work with Junior Development riders to prepare for their elite path and ensure that all informationregarding funding, coaching and training is readily available. The National Coach’s should be accessibleto the BMX public and easy to understand. The National Coach should also have a system in place to monitor the effectiveness of each athlete’s coaching program and the progress they are making.Elite and Junior riders need as much financial support as possible to get to International UCI races and to fund their training and coaching programs. There is currently support through Sport Canada but the ideal would be to create a National Charity that seeks corporate sponsorship so we can provide the best in coaching and travel for our top athletes.
The New Race Series Explained This would look very similar to what the series across Canada currently looks like. The difference would be that under the BMX Plan, all racers would be able to race all series with only one license. There would be a new Regional (West and East) competition and title which is something that USABMX introduced in 2011 with the merger of ABA and NBL. Series would start at the local levels and move up toProvincial, East/West and National with additional series for fund-raising or specialty awards.Most importantly it would eliminate the double scheduling issues and the difficulty some families have when trying to race as much in both of the current programs as possible - financially and time wise. In 2012, two prime examples of scheduling conflict are:•The Canada Cup #1 and #2 races in Quebec being held the same weekend as the Great Salt Lake Nationals•The Canadian Championship and Canada Cup final being held the same weekend as the Black Jack Nationals in Reno.These two examples of schedule conflicts are a solid testament as to why we need to unify and work together.
District Point Racing This where it all starts, every race has points awarded and the rider can track their progress without having to race anywhere else. Intertrack Local Series- racers earn points between local tracks and earn champion titles based on these points, possibly coordinate Pro Am series races between tracks that are in close proximity, can also run track team competitions Provincial Race Series Provincial bodies with existing successful Provincial series are encouraged to maintain the framework that is currently working for them. Recommended that there be only one Provincial series within each Province. Regional Race Series (West and East) -based on the new series run in the USA with USABMX, points from the current National series are used to determine West and East Champions National Race Series- embrace the current BMXCanada model and try to develop it further with more excitement built around the Pro series. More advertising, bigger sponsors and create an event where spectators want to come out and watch the best that Canada has to offer. Possibly the Grand Nationals finale would be hosted in a Province that is more central so it ismore accessible to both sides of the country. A facility such as Evraz Place at the Brandt Centre in Regina, Saskatchewan could be considered to host the event annually.
Provincial Summer Games- all Provinces should make it a priority to have BMX entered as asport in their Summer Games. This is an excellent event that encourages the development oftrack officials and volunteers as well as racers.UCI races- BMXCanada has a complete staff of trained UCI commissaires so it would be anoption to have them assist in these events until there are enough qualified and experiencedofficials in Canada to do this when required. In the USA they host UCI events in conjunction withUSABMX National series events and the same can happen in Canada. The Provincial CyclingAssociation would assist in the process of application through the CCC to secure these events.Existing Canadian Championship races could be run the same as US National Championship races with a National weekend and open only to Canadian racers. This could be a weekend that runs aNational on Friday, a National on Saturday and the Canadian Championship on Sunday (the appeal of two National events for American racers would still be available).
Training, Coaching & Facilities Different levels of coaching are starting to appear within the local tracks and in BMX in general. These coaches are what every tack and rider needs to improve the talent pool. In years past, riders have had to look for coaching on an individual basis but having a coach that is available to all riders is a necessity. Traditional sports such ashockey and soccer offer coaching on a regular basis and this has always been lacking in Canadian BMX.The process as it stands is fractured and the goals and visions are varied. We need to formalize the coaching process on all of the levels. One philosophy is that there should be less racing and more coaching at the local track level. The suggestion of the Plan is that the amount of available racing stays thesame but the coaching increases. Racing is the sport and the experience of it is vital tothe athlete, especially racing on different tracks, against different racers and challenging yourself against the best competition you can find.The program could hire, train and mentor coaches from each Province. It could be set up under the current Cycling Canada National Coach. There would be one NationalCoach Program coordinator under the CCC National Coach, and then one Provincial Coach Coordinator with each Provincial Body. Each Provincial coordinator wouldensure there are coaches, coordinate their efforts for the tracks and also oversee and
BMX in Canada currently has one Supercross hill in Abbotsford and two more in development stages, one in Alberta and one in Ontario. It is fantastic that CanadianBMX understands the importance of having these easily accessible to our higher level riders. All three can be designated training facilities. The ideal is that each Province would have its own centre but if that is not the case the closest centre must be readily available to nearby Provinces.Billeting programs could be created with families in the area to assist in getting racers to the training facilities and help keep costs reasonable.
How and Why All the Pieces Work TogetherIn The BMX Plan the goal is to create cohesive community working toward a common goal.•Canadian Cycling recommends that everyone which it currently is. Basically the role of CCC The Plan Cyclisme is the National body, comes together in this framework:stays the same with the exception of it now encompasses ALL BMX tracks in Canada asmembers under this proposed framework.•A Canadian BMX Committee is created. The role of this committee is to oversee the constantimplementation of The BMX Plan. They would ensure the plan is in place, take ideas forenhancement of the plan, report to CCC on the effectiveness of the plan. The Committee wouldbe made up of one elected member representative from each Province. That member wouldmonitor the Plan’s success in their Province.•A Canadian BMX Non Profit is created with the sole focus of securing funding for programsand working with the Canadian BMX Committee and the Provincial Cycling Associations todetermine how funds raised will be disbursed.•The Provincial Cycling Associations oversee BMX coaching, rider development and trainingfacilities in each Province. Each track is affiliated with the Provincial Cycling Association. TrackOperators work with the Provincial Cycling Association to generate ideas and plans to constantlyimprove the development program. At least an annual Track Operator meeting is hosted by theProvincial Association to keep this process moving forward.
•One BMXCanada employee. The role of this Canadian employee might be toassist at the National series events, to be a Track Director to Canadian tracks, toassist with membership marketing (as an additional resource to help the localtracks with increasing their membership bases, possibly working in partnershipwith the Provincial Cycling Association)•The Local Tracks are non profit incorporated societies, all affiliated with theirProvincial Cycling Association but their programs are sanctioned by BMXCanada.The BMXCanada system is used for membership, moto building, races seriescoordination, racing rules, points tracking, insurance. The tracks have apartnership with the Provincial Cycling Association.•The National Coach- one goal of the National coach would be to make sure thatCanada is producing top level coaches, even to the point that they are sought afteroutside of Canada. Works with Elite and Junior level riders as this role currentlydoes (discussed in slide 14).
The Provincial Cycling Association maintains the current Board of Director position that is specific to BMX but the role is more centered around development and making sure that the BMX Plan is being implemented effectively in their Province. The BMX Plan recommends at least one staff member dedicated to BMX who works under the Board of Directors executing development. Coaches would be hired, certified and scheduled through the ProvincialCycling Association. Additionally, there could be one or two coaches whosejob description is to circulate among local tracks looking for emerging talent (as described above). Possibly their role would be to increase membershipand interest to BMX for all of the tracks that are their responsibility as well. This would take the pressure off of the existing Track Operators who have enough on their plates keeping their own kids interested in races, getting them to races, running the operation of their track as well as working andmaintaining their own families. This might look like one coach per region (ie; In BC- Lower Mainland, Okanagan+ PG and Kootenay, Vancouver Island)With insurance, membership, race organization marketing and awards being taken care of under BMXCanada, this frees up funds that the ProvincialCycling Association previously spent to help toward development programs or employing more coaches/staff for BMX.
Yes, the recommendation is that an American company runs the racing program. They have an incredible product developed and fine tuned over the last three decades that we would be foolish not to take advantage of. BMXCanada is operated by and employs staff with extensive BMX experience who have been actual racers, track operators and/or BMX parents. Any association that is considering spending time and money reinventing grassroots programs, especiallythe administrative process, is doing an injustice to the Canadian BMX community. We need to move forward and stop wasting energy and resources on areas thatalready have highly effective processes in place that are being readily offered for us to use to our advantage. The program needs to support Canada in as many ways as possible.. Things like using Canadian manufacturers for awards such as plates, jerseys, tshirts, etc. Securing Canadian companies for sponsorship and actively promoting those companies (including finding companies that are promotable to our community). Training our own coaches to an international level so that at some point our athletes may choose them over coaches from other countries. Using local talent as much as possible for things like announcing large races and track building. The Provincial Cycling Associations would end up employing more BMX specific staff,in particular coaches. And BMXCanada would be asked to also employ a Canadianstaff member who would assist in all aspects of their program operating in Canada.
The other vital piece to BMXCanada being the race program sanctioning body in The BMX Plan is that having their services allows for the flow of American riders into Canada to happen. And for Canadian riders to easily participate in their races south of the border.It doesnt take long for a BMX family to see the benefits of racing riders thatare better than you and challenging yourself to try and beat those riders. US riders take their BMX very seriously and they set the bar high forperformance. If Canadian riders did not have access to this program (and US riders were not interested in participating in our National series races) it would be highly detrimental to the development of our racers. We have racers in Canada that can go and compete in the USABMX National races, some that make mains, some can make the top three and some can even win. This would not happen if we lock ourselves intoCanadian only racing and not expose our athletes to the fierce competition our southern neighbors provide.In turn, when those riders return from the USABMX races they bring back their experience and set that bar within their race community. Having the
These are the pieces. This is the way they work together and why it will help our program in Canada meet its full potential.If we have a proper structure and plan as laid out above we will be able to effectively increase membership and interest in our awesome sport.We will be able to provide professional and highly respectable services from the local track racing program, to multi level development opportunities to identifying our best racers and supporting them in their ultimate goals of competing internationally for Canada.By working together and supporting each other and the different levels within the plan we will be better able to make improvements to what we currently have and to set goals and achieve them as a cohesive community.
Addressing Opposition to the Plan to the Plan "All Canadian tracks operating under one sanction" This will be the largest point of opposition to the Plan as it has been a constant issue for almost as long as BMX has been alive in Canada. When you read the Plan you need totake away all of your biases and your past experiences and instead keep in your mind the ultimate goal of a successful, growing BMX program in Canada which provides the opportunity for development of all BMX athletes to the level that they wish to attain.If you keep that at the forefront and expel any tunnel vision (regardless of which sanction you support) you will see that with our relatively small community of approximately3000-4000 racers across Canada it does not make sense to have two separate systems. It does makes sense to pool our resources and drive our efforts together. Some will say itis healthy to have competition, maybe like McDonalds versus Burger King, but the reality is we are a very small market. We simply do not have the numbers to support two separate ways of doing things. With any sport in Canada, government funding is a necessity to build facilities, train coaches and athletes. Our tracks, programs and riders should all feel the benefit of thisresource, it should not be limited to those that are part of a certain group. It needs to be inclusive of every racer in Canada. That is part of what makes us Canadian.
"BMXCanada is an American company" Yes it is. Consider a few things:•BMXCanada is a customer service oriented company whose success comes from offering asuperior program and continually striving to improve it•BMXCanada has spent the last 9 years improving the quality of the product that they offer inCanada and will continue to do so. The bigger our program is the more money they will invest.•Having an American based company sanction our racing programs and members allows for theirUS riders to participate in our races and visa versa which only assists in the improvement ofCanadian racers•Having BMXCanada take care of the administration of race schedules, memberships, insuranceand track support allows our program and our money to focus on development of racers.•BMX Canada is a company that is here to help our program. It is not planning a takeover thateats up small operations. The tracks in Canada are all non profit incorporated societies. Thismeans that the majority of their income stays in their own programs and supports the growth ofBMX in Canada. BMX Canada wants to support the tracks and help them and the membershipgrow. This produces more income, some of which goes to their company but most of whichstays at the track and within Canada and gives us the resources to improve. Ultimately, you canthink of it as contracting a portion of the program to an American company. To find more information about what BMXCanada currently offers to their tracks and racers please have a look at: www.whybmxcanada.org
There are many other aspects to our sport (and any sport) that happen outside of Canada.•Abbotsford BMX just employed Tom Ritzenhaler to rebuild their track, he is American.•Tory Nyhaug uses a French coach and has for years.•Canadian BMX coach, Ken Cools, lives in New Zealand and trains their riders.•Most of the bikes, parts and gear for racing comes from American companies.•The company that is putting on the first Supercross event in Abbotsford, BC thisSeptember is an American for profit company called Global SX Events Canada cannot simply sit inside our country using our own products, our own people andour own racers and create our program within our country only and then expect our racers to be able to compete internationally. When BMXCanada hosts a National event at a Canadian track the local tourism economy gets a boost in that location from all of the racers that come from out of town.
"But it’s fine the way it is" Actually no it is not.There are currently numerous different things going on in Canada which are interrupting the flow ofprogress that we could be making in a National effort to move forward.•BC has 12 tracks operating under BMXCanada and 4 under CCC*•Alberta has all of their tracks operating under CCC*•Ontario has all of their tracks sanctioned by BMXCanada and are partnered with CCC*•Quebec has all of their tracks sanctioned by CCC*•There has not been a National series in the last 10+ years that is inclusive of all tracks/racers inCanadaThis situation between Alberta and BC is not currently effective as BC riders do not typically go toAlberta for very many races. Although an increased number of Alberta riders have been attendingBMXCanada races in BC. Under one sanction, the racers would see benefit from racing in each other’sProvince and would be able to easily support one another’s programs. With the current separate pointstructures there is little interest in traveling out of Province. The best thing we currently see is theincrease of Alberta racers in the BMX Canada National series but the ideal would be that BMXCanadahosts Nationals in Alberta that would draw racers from BC, the US and possibly the east side ofCanada. Alberta racers are increasingly attending USABMX Nationals but USA racers are not attendingAlberta races.
"What is in it for my Provincial Cycling Association if we implement the Plan?" The biggest win for the Provincial Cycling Associations is the formalization oftheir development programs. Layers to the programs will be defined and steps to accessing those programs will be clear and will be available to all racers equally regardless of where they live. Each Provincial Cycling Association will be able to run their programs individually with their own ideas and initiatives for success but the basic structure will be similar from Province to Province.If all the tracks are working together to grow their programs and are receiving support from their Provincial Cycling Associations AND from BMXCanadathen the membership will grow. With a larger membership, the opportunity to secure funding and grants at the Provincial level will improve. If we have professional and respectable development programs that are actually seeing results for their racers, then racers will be more likely to stay committed to the sport in general.
Yes, part of this proposed Plan for BMX in Canada is to expand the amount of tracks that are sanctioned under BMXCanada. This is for the good of the sport in our country. This isso that we can take advantage of a superior track/grassroots racing system that is already in place and allow our community to spend more time and money on increasing membership and on racer development. This is so that we can finally end the “Sanction Wars’ that havegone on since the beginning of BMX in Canada and we can lay it to rest and move forward. We hope that you will support this goal for the good of our sport and our racers. Canadians racing BMX are ALL proud of our Canadian heritage and are ALL patrioticpeople, but we recognize that it is impossible to not engage American products and services in our sport. Let’s use what they offer to our advantage and expand what we do in Canada and make this all happen together. Sports are community, BMX is community, communities need to work together to reap progress. The sport of cycling in Canada needs to get behind a master plan for BMX andensure that it is inclusive, fair and effective. Our community needs to lay down the weapons that create destruction and engage in cohesive efforts to see success from the local track and novice rider right on up to Tory Nyhaug and the other elite racers such as Connor McCormack, Jimmy Brown, Amelia Walsh and Mischa Partridge.