Junior Development Squad

The Taupo MTB Club is proud to organise and run a development program for our junior riders as well as skills sessions for all our members catering to all ages and abilities.

The Programme

  • Ages 12-14 years
  • Registrations open annually in August for this 10 member Development Squad

Thinking of joining the Squad?

Here is what you need to know…

APPLICATIONS FOR 2020/21 SEASON ARE OPEN NOW.   You will need to complete an application form and then attend a selection session with the squad coach at Craters MTB Park (date to be advised).  Successful applicants will be notified in early September. Application forms available here.

This year we have a new coach, Paula Pietersma from Mountain Bike Skills Taupo.  Paula is a qualifed MTB coach and holds Cycling New Zealand accreditation.  She has an extensive background in mountain biking and cross country racing and is looking forward to sharing her passion and knowledge for riding with the 2020/21 squad.

The squad will be running at least 6 skills sessions this season with the coach to develop the Squad riders – these sessions will be held in Taupo, Rotorua and/or Tokoroa.  They will be spread throughout the season and take place on the weekends (dates to be advised).  Additional squad rides will be held every weekend to development fitness, confidence, skills and friendship amongst the squad members.  Parent assistance will be required for supervision of these weekly rides.

Applications  will open in July with the Squad for the coming season named in early September . The Club’s objective with the Squad is to help our kids better themselves as both bike riders and athletes and help them work towards achieving goals that they set in mountain biking.

The Junior Development Squad (JDS) has been extremely successful since its inception in 2015 and with each year has evolved and adapted to the changing MTB environment in order to give our young Club members the best support we can.


The primary focus of the Taupo MTB Club Junior Development Squad is to give club riders aged 12–14 years an opportunity to:

  1. broaden their MTB skills, ability and confidence in mountain biking; and
  2. introduce riders to the cross country (XC) racing environment in a safe and supportive manner. The focus in terms of racing will be to get the riders to a level where they are confident racing in the National Secondary School Championships.

NOTE: riders that are already experienced in XC racing at a national or international level are likely to require a more detailed training and coaching plan to achieve their specific goals.  We encourage these athletes to seek one on one coaching assistance from an approved and certified MTB coach.

Riders must:

  • Be 12 – 14 years of age*;
  • Be a current paid-up member of the Taupo MTB Club;
  • Be an active Club member participating in Club events.

All applicants must follow the same selection process.

All applicants are subject to the same attendance requirements for selection.

The maximum term for a rider in the Squad is 3 years.

* Applicants must turn 12 years old before 31st December of the year in which they are applying

  • Applicants will be required to attend a selection session at Craters MTB Park;
  • Riders will be selected based on both ability and attitude; and
  • The Squad will be limited to a maximum of 10 riders.

The Squad commences in September and ends mid April.  As the purpose of the squad is to introduce and prepare riders for XC racing, members must register and compete in XC races suitable to their ability with the minimum requirements being:

  • Mid-North Island Junior Series Race 1 (October), Race 2 ( tbc- November) and Race 3 (December)
  • Taupo MTB Club Summer Series (January – March)
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty School Champs (April)

Other recommended races (based on ability) may include:

  • MTBNZ North Island Champs (January/February)
  • Cycling NZ North Island Secondary School Championships (March)
  • MTBNZ National Championships (March)
  • Cycling NZ National Secondary School Championship (October)
  • Weekly Squad Ride (normally Sundays)
  • Minimum of 3 day trips outside of Taupo (ie Tokoroa or Rotorua) to develop skills on varying trail types and terrains (own transport required)
  • Event attendance for those members registered to race specific events (often outside of Taupo)
  • Riders are expected to have a very high level of attendance to all planned team rides and skills sessions;
  • The Squad will have weekly team rides on Sundays mornings (1 – 2 hours duration). These may increase to twice weekly leading up to an event.  Attendance is essential;
  • Coached skills sessions will be provided monthly focusing on improving riders skills and ability and learning the basics of racing (dates to be advised);
  • Squad members are expected to consistently work on improving their skills and fitness throughout the season;  it is recommended that members ride a minimum of twice a week
  • Riders are expected to attend and compete in all races on the agenda (except for injury or sickness);
  • Riders need to acknowledge and appreciate the opportunity they have been given and help out the Taupo MTB Club by mentoring other riders, marshalling at events etc where possible;
  • Riders will conduct themselves in a professional manner both on and off the bike – before, during and after events. A positive attitude, a healthy competitiveness and good sportsmanship is essential;
  • If a Squad member finds that they can no longer commit to consistently ride and attend the weekly Squad sessions they will forfeit their position in the Squad to enable another Taupo MTB Club rider the opportunity to join the Team (except for injury or sickness); and
  • If a Squad member does not attend 3 sessions during the season they will forfeit their position in the Squad to enable another Taupo MTB Club rider the opportunity to join the Team (except for injury or sickness).
  • Each rider will be given a Team Kit to wear for their registered races
  • Riders must wear the Team Kit at events and on the podium;
  • The Kit remains the property of the Taupo MTB Club and is to be cleaned and returned to the Club at the next training squad ride after their event.
  • The JDS is a Club initiative run by volunteers and as we will be responsible for up to 10 children of varying abilities, we will need parents to take turns riding with the Squad on the weekly sessions.  A roster will be developed at the beginning of the season and distributed to parents.  This is an essential part of the squad rides, and should insufficient number of parents be available to assist with these weekly rides, session cancelations may be required for health and safety reasons
  • Other ways parents can help out is with registration/marshalling at Club events;
  • Parents will need to ensure their children are able to ride in addition to the weekly Squad sessions to improve their fitness, skills and technique (the aim would be 2 rides per week minimum);
  • Parents are responsible for providing transport for their child to events and sessions; and
  • Parents are to help with the transport of and set up of the Club tent at events (where applicable).

The Taupo MTB Club is committed  to providing:

  • A supportive team environment where riders have the opportunity to learn from each other;
  • A Coach for monthly skills sessions to improve members ability and confidence;
  • Taupo MTB Club JDS Team Kit for use by members during XC events;
  • Complimentary entry to Club run events (subject to attendance level).


$150 per rider for the season.   (payable to the Taupo MTB Club upon the naming of the Squad)

This cost contributes to the overall cost of running the Development Squad and dedicated coaching sessions by a certified MTB coach.  This costs is heavily subsidised by the club.

Interested in joining the Junior Development Squad?


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