AusCycling | Ferris' Coaching Silver Lining

Ferris' Coaching Silver Lining

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If Michelle Ferris speaks you listen.

A two time silver medalist in the track sprint at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics, medals at two Commonwealth Games and seven World Championships.

So it's no suprise that a number of riders at the Western Sydney Academy of Sport are all ears as Ferris has taken on a role as Assistant Mentor Coach to the cycling squad.

"I had started showing up to Monday night training sessions with Bankstown sports and was really impressed with the junior program. The kids kept showing up week to week, always smiling and having fun."

"They kept asking me back which felt great, so I asked if there was an opportunity to get on board with the Academy as I felt it would be a great coaching development step for me, to work with young passionate athletes and a committed coaching group who can help guide me working with junior athletes."

It's a new concept for the 44 year old, who only had her coach Gary West during her racing career in the 90's and early 2000's.

"I never really had a mentor, someone that I could really connect with apart from my coach. I think he carried most of the roles for me. Coach, mentor and friend. I do wish I had a mentor that was not my coach, but in saying that it did work for me."

"I have some coaching mentors assisting me through my development now, more than one and I actually find they are a great help, sounding boards and great minds to throw ideas around."

The Hall of Fame rider, who has a cabinet of silverware wants her athletes to not primarly focus on results but to learn from the experiences.

She has fond memories of the track carnivals where riders learnt their craft and their showmanship, and she is hopeful the hedy days of packed velodromes around the country at all levels returns.

"I want to teach our young riders to reach out, talk, discuss with their coaches, their peers. To allow the athlete to have a voice and say in their process and development not just be told what to do."

"Our bikes can take us to the most amazing places in the world and here in Australia."

"I want all athletes in all disciplines to remember why they ride a bike and that not all of us will become elite athletes but we are all capable of racing and continuing to ride because we love cycling."

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