Building the performance pyramid for cycling success

Making the difference! a targeted approach.

As we head towards another cycling season and there are dreams of great performances in races or personal best times for sportives how are those dreams going to be achieved?

The factors that will deliver the performances come under a few headings.

Physical – Mental – Tactical –Technical/ skill – lifestyle

The performance pyramid

THe pyramid for top cycling performance

Build strong foundations for big cycling performance results

You will notice that I have the Mental component running alongside the others.

The reason for that is that in my opinion mental fitness depends to a large extent on how all the other components are developed.

Skill development is the first step in feeling competent and boosting confidence.


Beginners Limiting factors

For beginners one of the most limiting factors that we when coaching newcomers to cycling is technique / skills.


Technique from the Oxford dictionary: “a way of carrying out a particular task, especially the execution or performance of an artistic work or a scientific procedure:”

Skills from the Oxford dictionary: “the ability to do something well; expertise”

Experienced cyclists limiting factors

A lot of experienced cyclists don’t know how to train correctly. They often have very poor knowledge of training principles and nutrition for sport.

Beginners should focus on skill

For the purpose of this blog we will concentrate on beginners.  A4 riders and riders who are training for sportive challenges.

Beginners will get huge improvements from improving techniques like being able to safely hold position in a group.

Using the best cadences and gears for different situations. Cornering safely, braking, learning how to sprint.

Without a good skill level the rider will be wasting energy by being poorly positioned and not getting shelter from the wind.

They will also lose also time on corners or climbs. They will then burn lots of energy to get back to the group .

This also impacts on the amount of stress which leads to further fatigue and lessens enjoyment of the cycling experience.

The good news is that in most cases with good coaching this can be improved very quickly.

The difference it makes to a cyclists confidence and enjoyment of cycling is huge.

So if you are a beginner put some time and effort into technical development.

How to improve

Join a good cycling club who cater for different abilities and have experienced mentors on their club sessions and ask them for advice.


Introduce working in smaller groups at higher speeds as technique improves.

Improve some of the skills while out cycling alone. For example try different cadences at various speeds to develop a feel for what cadence best suits you. 

Practice changing gears and braking until everything is happening automically.

Do these sessions in a safe environment away from traffic.

A small local traffic free circuit would be ideal and if the circuit has plenty of corners your cornering can be improved also.

Women should go to or to the Biggest race in Ireland Ras Na Mban  There there are usually notices about specific coaching sessions for women that cater for all abilities and level of experience.

Organise coaching sessions through the club or as an individual, look for some coaching sessions with qualified coaches.

Experienced cyclists

Work with an experienced qualified coach. learn the principles of training and nutrition with a peak endurance coaching club seminar.

Ask the simple question is what you or your club doing making improvements in performances and results year on year.

Paddy Doran coach at is a very successful level 3 cycling coach and tutor.

See testimonials here  Contact here

 Whatever level your beginning at, get a great start with our introduction To Cycling Booklet here

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