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The great thing about BMX is that it’s a sport that gives a rider – new or old – plenty of options with regards to the level you can compete at

The National Series has been revamped with more choices than ever to compete with the best riders in Australia. The biggest question I am hearing around the 2018 calendar is “what races should I be going to and how can we afford to do it all”.

The great thing about BMX is that it’s a sport that gives a rider – new or old – plenty of options with regards to the level you can compete at and how many races you can compete in.

So how can you get the most out of the year doing as many races as possible, without burning a rider out or blowing the budget?

Answer: Choose your pathway.

Listed below are four steps to help you plan your 2018, which will not only help you achieve your goals, but help you develop into a stronger rider.

Step 1.

Identify what level of rider you are. Are you racing at a club level, are you a state competitor? Will your focus be at a national level or are you aiming for international competition?

Identifying this will set your direction for the year.

Step 2.

Set a goal in what you would like to achieve in 2018.

Perhaps you want to be your club champion, or make a final at the State titles. Competing in the national series or qualifying for international events might be on the radar of others.

Step 3.

Prioritise the races you need to attend to help achieve these goals.

If you are a club rider new to the sport, not quite ready for the National rounds, you may want to start venturing out to open or state events.

A State rider may have grown in their development and might wish to step up and take on the National series in 2018. This may then mean that their focus isn’t primarily on state events anymore, and their focus is more towards heading to the Nationals in Bunbury.

National riders may have their sights set on representing Australia at international events. This means that their focus is on the National Series and National Championships.

Junior and elite riders looking to gain UCI points for that international selection will aim to hit the three UCI National Series rounds.

Step 4.

Don’t get greedy and try do it all.

If you believe you can race every event in your club, at state level and the National Series, there is a good chance that you will burn out and eventually get sick of the sport.

That’s not ideal.

BMX is a rare sport in that we can race at the highest level, with minimal qualification processes. If you take advantage of that and try race up the pathway missing a few steps on your way to the top, you will find yourself continually failing along the way and never reaching your true potential.

There is something to be said about patience, and managing your expectations.

Inevitably everyone needs to experience the sport at the highest level at some point, and that’s what is great about the National Series in 2018, every state has their chance of experiencing what racing is like at that top level.

With the Australian titles being open to all competitors, it means that everyone gets a chance to head to Bunbury to see where they sit with the rest of the country. But again, don’t be too hard on yourself results-wise if you’re still developing into a national level rider.

Now that we have an idea of what 2018 is looking like, you need to sit down and prepare a strategic plan of what races you need to attend to help reach your goals. This includes working out your budget for the year and the time in which you need to attend these events.

We don’t all have that endless money pit. That is why it is crucial to stay within your own pathway, rather than attend events because the calendar has one listed every weekend.

If you are struggling to work out what races are best for yourself or the family to attend, ask your local club, state or national coach to help you develop a performance plan that will guide you through the 2018 season.

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at the track in 2018. Good luck, and keep having fun in our sport.