Natalie Lew is the head coach for the Southern Wake Trailhawks who started her NICA coaching career at the 2016 Leaders Summit in Greensboro. Here’s what she had to say about her first season:
Coaching these kids and getting to know them and their families….it was a total blast! It is 1,000 times more than what I thought it could be. Last year, I only envisioned assisting a team and I thought the team would have 4 or 5 high school riders. As fate had it, after some went in other directions, I ended up as the head coach of the Southern Wake Trail Hawks with a roster of about 25 middle and high school riders.
Boy, was I scared! Can I really do this and what did I get myself into? Well, what I got myself into was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. The student-athletes and their families were all such a joy. For sure, this endeavor was only successful because of the parents and community members who stepped up to be rider leaders, ride sweepers, and assistants.
So, if you have any inkling of wanting to help out these awesome student-athletes and be a part of laying the ground work for this awesome league (something we ALL wish we had when we were in middle and high school), then attend the Leaders Summit. The Leader’s Summit will give you the necessary background on the league and its goals and some basic skills to help out a head coach…or, like me, to walk the path of becoming a head coach. Do it!!!
If you’d like to help get #morekidsonbikes please consider attending our Leaders Summit on September 16-17, 2017 in Wilkesboro, NC. Registration is open – so please take the next step and register here.
The Profiles in Leadership article below was originally published in the fall of 2016.
Where are you from/what is/are your “home” trails?
I’m from Cary, NC and now live in Raleigh, NC. My home trails are Crabtree, Harris Lake, Beaver Dam, New Light…
How long have you been mountain biking?
I returned to mountain biking in 2013 after a 12 year hiatus. Before that, I participated in mountain biking for about 2 or 3 years.
What involvement do you have in the cycling or youth development community?
In the past, I have been involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Trips for Kids of the Triangle, and Women and Math. I am currently active with TORC/IMBA and my nephews (ages 8,9, and 14).
What’s your motivation for getting #morekidsonbikes?
It’s a life-long activity that can be done at many levels (from casual to racing), done solo or with a group, done with family or friends. In addition to involving physical fitness and obvious bike handling skills, it also presents with the opportunity to learn mechanical skills, nutritional awareness, environmental awareness, group/social skills, and independence/personal responsibility. Also, it is a great confidence builder.
Tell us about a kid that inspires you.
My nephew Thomas inspires me. In the short time he has been mountain biking, I have seen his fitness and skills improve tremendously. But mostly, I am amazed at the mechanical and bike skills stuff he has taken the time to learn of his own volition!
What have you learned about yourself through cycling?
Perseverance. No matter what happens, if you keep moving forward, you move past the obstacle. If you fall down, get up and keep going, it will soon pass.