About Us
 

Why choose Dirtschool?

We have one simple ethos at Dirt School. To make sure your coach has not just the paperwork but the riding credentials to match. Whether that's at the head of a terrifying trail, on the start line of a big race or even just finding your feet on the bike again after a little crash, we've been there. It's this feet-on-the-ground and real world experienced approach to mountain bike coaching that's earned us respect at the top. Whether that's writing books and developing our own mountain bike tuition techniques or coaching World Champions.

Our work has taken us all over the world and we have been fortunate enough to work in partnerships that have given us great insight. The ability to fully deconstruct our sport and develop an in depth coaching knowledge, based not just in textbooks, but on clear results from our work with psychologists, physiologists, top riders and people around the world. Making you have more fun is our passion not just our jobs.

Whether it's standing trackside at the World Championships, or trailside on the Blue Route at Glentress, we’re working with riders. Come and join us, whatever you ride we'll make this amazing sport better for you. We promise.

Chris Ball

The founder of Dirt School, Chris has roots in sport science, competition and international governing body level work. When he founded Dirt School his ethos was simple. He wanted to pass on all that he had learnt, not just from riding and competing but from the psychologists, physiologists and coaches he works with. But, more importantly, he wanted to pass this on to every rider, through people who had the experience and skill level themselves.

Other Stuff

  • Managing Director of the Enduro World Series and the Enduro MTB Association
  • Founder and National Coach of the Scottish Downhill Academy (2006 - present)
  • UCI Gravity Sports Coordinator and UCI Technical Delegate ('08 - '12)
  • British Cycling and Scottish Cycling DH coach
  • Author: The Manual - Mountain Biking and MBR Skills expert
  • BSc Hons Sports Science
  • MBLA Mountain Bike Leader
  • British Cycling MTB Coach Qualification
  • BASP Emergency Outdoor First Aid qualified
Andy Barlow

Andy Barlow joined Chris as a partner in Dirt School in 2009. His motivation to help as many people as possible get the most out of their time on their bikes made him the perfect match. A well celebrated rider himself, Andy adds his pragmatic attention to detail, his excellent riding ability and his love of all things cycling into his mountain bike coaching.

Other Stuff

  • Dirt School partner
  • Scottish and GB XC mountain bike Champion 2009
  • Trans Scotland 07 Winner (Solo)
  • Scottish Junior Downhill mountain bike Champion 1997
  • British Cycling MTB Coach qualified
  • BASP Emergency Outdoor first aid qualified
  • MBLA Mountain Bike Leader
Rab Wardell

Rab is a core member of our coaching team. Bringing not only well considered coaching principles but a whole lot of riding experience. A champion cyclocross rider and World Cup XC racer, Rab also has a background in developmental cycling work, pathway building and club level coaching through his time with various professional teams and federations over the past decade.

Career Highlights

  • Ridden in the Commonwealth games for Scotland both on and off road
  • World Cup XC and international Cyclocross racer
  • Scottish medalist in MTB, Road, Cyclocross and Time Trial
  • Represented GB in mountain bike cross country
  • Ex Scottish Cycling development coach
  • 10 Under the Ben Winner
  • Singletrack magazine columnist
  • Ridden the West Highland way in 12 hours (that's got to be an unofficial record)
  • MBLA qualified
  • British Cycling MTB, Road and Track qualified coach
  • BASP Outdoor First Aid trained
Tom Nash

Tom is a Tweed Valley local and our most experienced teacher, yet one of the most recent to have been bitten by the MTB bug. Having spent years training RAF Tornado pilots, Tom's used to teaching complex skills in a simple way and has found a recent love for racing enduro.

Other Stuff

  • RAF fast jet teaching experience
  • MBLA Mountain Bike Leader Qualified
  • Delivered team building and team dynamics training for the RAF using MTB as the teaching medium
  • Outdoor First Aid trained
  • Tweed Valley Bike Patrol volunteer
Ruaridh Cunningham

Ruaridh needs little introduction. 2007 Junior World Champion, Ru has been working with Chris since 2006 as an integral part of the Scottish Downhill Academy while racing professionally in the UCI Downhill World Cup.

Ruaridh isn't just a full time racer though. Qualified with the MBLA, he's the assistant coach on our Borders Academy of Sporting Excellence (BASE) Downhill course and runs our Downhill Race Craft days. He is sometimes available for private sessions. You can inquire via Ru@dirtschool.co.uk

Career Highlights

  • Junior World Champion
  • 2011 British Downhill Champion
  • Top ten World Cup rider
  • Assistant coach to BASE Academy course
  • Longest standing athlete on the Scottish Downhill Academy
  • Competed for GB in 2007, 2010, 2011 World Championships
  • HNC in Sport Studies
  • BASP Emergency Outdoor first aid trained
  • MBLA Qualified