Interview: Mark Young Scottish Cycling coach

Mark Young is a Scottish cycling coach but he is also Scottish Cycling coach.

Scottish Cycling coach Mark Young

How did you first get into cycling?
I have been cycling since 1984; I did BMX freestyle till 1991. Once when I was riding an MTB between work I stumbled across a time trial. I did TT’s and road racing mostly, in the era when Graham Moore (former VC Olympia, now Stirling Bike Club vet) and Neil Cameron (Falkirk BC, former Scottish Champion) were top dogs.

What were your best results?
My personals are 21.53, 54.01, 1.51.30, and 4.07.59. Best results in road racing were a stage win in the Forres Easter stage race and two 5ths in the Tour of the Kingdom and Speyside – always up a hill!!

What led you to coaching then?
In 1999, with marriage and children taking more of a priority, I decided to find ways of making more of my training time. This led me to coaching, and after reading Joe Friel’s Training Bible, I wanted to learn more. I took the British Cycling Club coach award and was subsequently asked by Graeme Herd at SC to work with some of the Under 23s; Gary Hand and Dave Smith come to mind.

You seem to have got the coaching bug pretty quickly…
I gave up my job as a manager of a Ceramic Tile Store and went full-time doing coaching. I had paying clients and the rest of my wage was from the SC work. Now this is where things get interesting, since I was looking for some coach admin software and stumbled across The long and the short of it is, that I became friends with Joe, Joyce and Dirk Friel, and have even had Joe and his wife over to Scotland for some coaching work. I still keep in touch with them even after 6 years or so.

When I first met you, you were a development coach- how did that come about?
In 2006, Graeme Herd left the SC and it was all change in the direction of the funding. An opening in development came up and I grabbed the opportunity. This is where my work with Donald Maclean and the merry band of volunteers began, and Wallace Warriors was born.

But then you moved towards working with the top athletes?
With Dehli 2010 looming large, in 2009 the Elite Athlete Programme was restarted, Graeme Herd once again at the helm. I applied for a support coach role and restarted my working relationship with Herdy once again. The support coach role is a secondment, and in October (post Delhi I think), unless funding is forthcoming, I will once again become a Regional Development Coach.

The Warriors are a strong part of Stirling Bike Club- any thoughts on the local and youth scene?
The future for the kids in Wallace Warriors is looking good, they have an excellent coaching team, and with talent like Jane Barr, Jack Barrett, Rob Wilkins and Eddie Addis, SBC is well represented in the ranks of the elite. I do hope that funding will make it possible to support an extended programme of support for the Jnrs (u23s and women would be nice too), and with initiatives like the Braveheart Fund, it will be possible to help our boys and girls reach their potential.

Dehli 2010: what do you think Scotland can achieve?
The cycling team for the games is huge, possibly the biggest ever assembled to represent Scotland. With previous medallists and current top performing elites the potential for medals in Delhi is there, however, lets not forget that the Games have countries like Australia, Canada and England to name a few who will make the standard of competition extremely high. Our medal haul from Melbourne was the best we have had so far and it will be a tall order to match or exceed this. Personally I think a few surprises may be on the cards.

Many thanks to Mark for this interview.
You can connect with him on Twitter

edit– in November 2010 I posted Mark Young’s Delhi video log