What do you go over in Team meetings?

Do any of you have especially effective team meetings? I’m in a fairly grass roots hobby team and we don’t efficiently discuss what our race principles or strategy is. How do you format questions, dictate responsibilities, etc? We want to race together but rarely work together.

Obvious topics

  • course considerations. Weather, winds, profile and features

But what discussion have you found effective that’s necessary to start actually working together, not individuals with matching kit?

Without it there is no team.

Do you have teammates who actually want to race as a team? That’s the key part, in my limited experience. If you have people who just want to do their own thing, they’re just in it for the kit. That’s fine, but there’s no point in having a team meeting with them.

For the rest, analyze the course, weather, and potentially competition. Then figure who on your team is best suited to capitalize given those conditions. Pick your designated rider(s), and map out your game plan based on that. When the race starts, try to stick to it, but know it has a strong chance of going sideways.

My team is fairly clear on who’s who in regards to fitness. We basically do the above, but also change up our designated rider as the season progresses. That way everyone gets a chance to be “the guy”. It’s key to have people that are happy to be lead outs, and be willing to fill different roles on the team. If you have people that think their only place is on the podium, the plan has a knack for falling apart when they aren’t catered to.

Also, take this all with a grain of salt. I’m new to the team stuff.

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So what does that look like? Mid race someone is authoritatively able to make calls with hand signals or shout with the expectation the other mates follow through?

We definitely have intentions of working together haha.

Do you all have race experience? If not, you may want to just get in some races and get a feel for the environment.

Otherwise, pick your designated rider, pick a strategy, and figure out how you’re going to pull it off. Planning it is half the fun. Having it fall apart, and piecing something together on the fly is where the stories come from.

Racing as a team or as individuals you can still have fun with this.

Pre race - anyone done it before? Ask them to recap that story, key course spots, risks, etc. even if they got Dfl it’s an experience to share.

Pre race- what is your goal or objective ? Have each person share and encourage PROCESS goals. Such as practice drafting more, less brakes in corners, staying in the front more. Don’t make this about results.

Pre - race tactics- with those goals - or if racing as a team among for a goal- what’s the tactic to get there. Going from the gun? Send someone up to a break? Keep it together for a sprint?

Non results tactics can be more about who to follow or observe.

Last pre race. Roles. Who is doing what out there. If you want a sprint - who is the sprinter and who is pulling first. Etc.

Post race is shorter. What went well. What could have gone better. Person by person.

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Yes, but midrace actions are too late. Only needed in a crisis.
A plan is made and orders are given before the race. And team follows through.

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What category are you all?

Mostly 4s. I’m a 3. There’s about 6 of us, 3 are more experienced. 2 are able to cat up but hanging out in 4s to help the other guys.

Of course getting everybody with work schedules to the same race is a challenge in itself, I want to maximize the last couple races this year that we can actually coordinate

Most experienced racers I’ve talked to say that tactics don’t really work at the cat 4 level, a little more at the 3 level, but not really effective until the 2 level. I think the wide variances in fitness, experience, etc. make it difficult to effective execute tactics at the 4 level by itself, much less throwing stronger (presumably) and more experienced 3s into the mix…

Probably true, however I’d think that practicing communication and strategy is still worthwhile and is a skill that could be practiced at any echelon. It’d probably help with decision making in support of each other

As a team, and particularly for the pre race meeting, you need to have a leader/on field coach, and that might not be the same guy who’s the team leader/designated sprinter. Unlike a pro team director who is basically calling plays, the club team race director is basically a teacher.

First off everyone needs to understand what basic tactics are. Don’t underestimate how little folks actually know about tactics in a lower level crit (as opposed to what they have learned on TV about how to race a mid TdF mountain stage . . .). So start with the basics like we’d like to cover attacks, we might like to initiate some attacks at some point. Then you can get into who’s going to do what. Of course, nothing will go as planned but, repeatedly coming up with plans as a team will eventually get everyone tuned in and used to thinking tactics, even if they don’t work, and someday that will pay off.

For sure go over the wind (and explain what it means about where you want to be) and any special course features. Go over what you’d like to have happen on the last lap or two if you still have some teammates together. Everyone should at a minimum know what side of the course to be on where and what and when we’d like things to happen.

I did a lot of lower level races and one thing that was almost always the case is that everyone really did want to do something to help the team (Its way more fun than racing solo) even if the body could not deliver. Try and come up with something for everyone to do. Long term you want to cultivate a team attitude that for each individual everything they do should be for a reason and done to help the team. That starts by everyone, right down to the slowest guy, having a couple things in mind they can do for the team.

If you are in the lower categories, get one of the higher cat folks on the team to talk to the group before your race. You all may not be able to pull off Cat 1 team tactics but its helpful when you’re all geeked up pre race to hear them as it helps you all learn.

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