Becoming an MSF Instructor

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Lapchik, Nov 13, 2014.

  1. Lapchik

    Lapchik Tinkeritis posterboy

    Sep 5, 2012
    I have an opportunity to become an MSF instructor, and most likely teach at my old college. One of my past teachers [college degree classes, not motorcycle class teacher] is the only MSF instructor at the school, and they are wanting another one to help out and eventually teach solo.

    Just wondering if anyone has ever / is currently an MSF instructor and what that is like. So far what I know is that there are 3 weekends in a row that you get trained to be a trainer, then you do some sort of student-teaching, then you can teach on your own.

    I have two kids now so finding time to teach not going to happen.
  2. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Souped-Up Weasel

    Dec 24, 2001
    Jax, FL
    Do it! It's fun, not particularly hard, you make a few bucks, and you spend the day shooting the bull about motorcycles.
    Freddo, local1 and IBA270 like this.
  3. MGB

    MGB ex. BmwDuc

    Jan 30, 2005
    Hampton, Lexington, and Forks of Buffalo, VA
    I was an MSF Rider Coach for 9 years. I enjoyed it for the most part since I had a couple good friends I taught with and we synched very well during class. Even better if you get to teach classes alone ( I found some of our instructors too much of know it alls when they didn't really know it all).

    I found it was a good way to keep my skills up, too. Main reason I decided to teach.
  4. this is a RV

    this is a RV Been here awhile

    Apr 5, 2008
    Festus MO
    I had fun for 16 years as a Rider Coach, Just like others have said find someone to teach with that you click with.
    I got out of it when some of the Rider Coach's started making changes to the class.
    Check on insurance to over you as a coach on the range and affter the class. If someone you trained get's hurt they could come looking at you too.
  5. Andyvh1959

    Andyvh1959 Cheesehead Klompen Supporter

    Feb 16, 2012
    Da frozen tundra eh? 1.5 mile west of Lambeau
    I started as a MSF instructor 22 years ago in the old MSF RSS (Rider Safety School), then became certified for the BRC and ERC, later the updated BRC/BRC2, and just last September for the newest BRC (which includes the online training). Next is to get certified for the ARC.

    I have to say it has been a lot of work, challenging, give up a lot of fine riding time standing on hot parking lot ranges getting a great tan from my wrists down and neck up, but very rewarding. Must be or I wouldn't still be doing it. Keeps me sharp too, riding skills wise but especially riding strategies wise.

    Do it! A great adventure and give it back to the sport we love!
    GETTHUMPER2 likes this.
  6. tcall52

    tcall52 Been here awhile

    May 12, 2007
    Athens, GA
    Do it. As mentioned, teaching the basics will probably make you a more vigilant and careful rider. Plus, there is a lot of satisfaction in taking a terrified newbie and helping them become a rider. Riding a motorcycle is the easy part of instruction. Properly communicating with and coaching learners is the hard part...and you'll never stop learning yourself.
  7. bisbonian

    bisbonian Long timer

    Nov 8, 2007
    Bisbee, AZ & Banamichi, Sonora
    Be aware that being a coach can take up a whole lot of your time.

    If you like to spend your weekends doing something other than being at the range, then give it a lot of thought.

    I enjoy offering the classes, but there are a fairly large number of us who teach at the same location so I normally don't have to worry about teaching more than twice a month.

    My riding time with friends has gone way down.

    Coaching can be rewarding but be sure that you are prepared for the amount of time it can take.
  8. Capt Crash

    Capt Crash Motorcycle Bon Vivant

    Dec 8, 2009
    SW I...DOH! NO!
    Part of the decision should be made after auditing the course as an observer. Go, see what you have to do before you make a decision. Worst case you spend a couple of weekends around motivated students as they learn.
  9. Mr. B

    Mr. B Slowpoke

    Oct 19, 2004
    I have done it for seven years and I'm burning out; I'm probably going to quit this year. The RiderCoach Prep training was very hard; something like 70 hours, with lots of reading, studying and several do-or-die exams. About a third of my class washed out. One reason I hung on for a few more years is because it was so hard to get through the class in the first place.

    Like others mentioned, the job is a lot more fun if you find someone you can work with on a regular basis. I disagree about teaching alone, though. It's harder to do all the work yourself.

    Patience and understanding are important for a RiderCoach. You'd be surprised how many people have NO IDEA what a clutch does. The concept of shifting gears is foreign to so many people these days. Nobody buys a newer car with a manual transmission so there's no need to learn shifting as in the past. Teaching a 17 year old how to coordinate the throttle, clutch and shifter takes patience and teaching skill. You will also need patience for the 70 year old who just retired and bought that big Harley he always wanted--his first bike. MN has a very large immigrant population so there is often a language barrier you have to work through.

    I don't mean to be all gloom and doom. I enjoyed it for years and felt like I was doing a service for the community. I also feel that being an MSF instructor brings a certain amount of prestige, and I have gotten other gigs because of my MSF position.

    Good luck
  10. NinjaRider

    NinjaRider Been here awhile

    Feb 11, 2007
    Southern N.H.
    I thought about being an MSF Instructor several years ago. I had attended
    the Advance Rider Course and audited the Basic course so I had a pretty
    good idea of what it was about. In addition, I had been a flight instructor for
    several years including running group Ground Schools, so I felt I had a decent
    understanding about lesson plans / prep, the learning process, experience
    with different student personalities, explaining concepts, blah, blah,blah........
    At this point, I was very interested in a new, but not totally different type of
    challenge...... helping new riders learn.

    I sent application in and showed up at the site for the intro / meet
    instructors, etc. I couldn't believe what I stepped into. Right away, they had
    us running around setting up courses, jumping onto unfamiliar bikes, pushing
    us to hurry through everything, etc. The only positive thing I heard from the
    two "Instructors" was the other applicants should watch how I turn my head
    and look into the turn.

    When we were all done running around, they gave the speech about
    the time commitment ( figured this part ), the multiple levels of "do or die"
    testing that a previous poster eluded to, etc, etc.

    Honestly, if felt like they were running a friggin "boot camp". The impression
    I LEFT WITH was they all thought pretty highly of themselves and the whole
    thing seemed very "Clicky"

    I rode away that night thinking, screw this, I will just spend my weekends
    riding rather than having to deal with all of it. I sent an email to the
    administrators the next day stating I was no longer interested and also
    shared my impressions and feedback. I never heard anything back.

    I understand that a program needs a certain amount of "rigor" , but
    the system seems way too complex and "over the top" for what it needs to
    be. I felt I had something positive to offer, but not at the ridiculous level
    the program was presented as.

    If my reply sounds like "sour grapes" I apoligize, it really isn't meant to be.
    It is just my own experience and "two cents" for others who think they
    might be interested. It turned out not to be for me, but YMMV.
  11. reddirtjoe

    reddirtjoe motorcycle addict

    Dec 21, 2007
    Let's Ride some red dirt!!.... NorthCentOklahoma
    Can be lotsa fun
    Is lotsa work
    Rewards are great
    Pay isnt
    Sometimes frustrating

    Me and my wife coach together and have alot of fun with it.
    Our way of paying back to the lifestyle we love.
    She has to remind me sometimes that "basic skills" differ .
    I use to think ANYONE could learn to ride.......used to

    I've taught with quite a few different coaches....some make it fun...some not so much.
  12. PriapismSD

    PriapismSD Apply orally

    Feb 26, 2009
    SD, CA
    It definitely is not for everyone, but can be fun.

    I spent a summer as a cone monkey volunteering with a Rider's Edge MSF class, and it was a real good group of RC's. I was real interested in learning what MSF teaches, what they will not teach, what you can and cannot say, etc. And it was really good being with brand new riders, free from ego and looking to learn (not like those with 4-5 years of riding on a "Gixxer" that know it all). They were trying to talk me into doing the school to become an RC and the pay is not bad.

    But I am not the "coach" type of personality. I know I cannot be the guy in the corner giving "atta'boys" to every rider passing through. To me, if I don't say anything, it means you did it right, like I told you. But students need that positive feedback. They need someone to boost their confidence when learning a new skill, where as I am would be more the Great Santini and huck golf balls at them until the get it right. Which MSF would frown upon. (for instance I want to correct the guy above trying to use the word "clique") If I wasn't an asshole (certified with court stamped documents), it would be a fun job, but probably a side job for every other weekend.

    If you have the positive attitude, it looks very rewarding, as long as you follow their doctrine TO THE LETTER and never go off script. I tend to go off on tangents 'esplaining, so I am not the material they are looking for...
  13. hardwaregrrl

    hardwaregrrl ignore list Supporter

    Jan 26, 2006
    I've been an MSF coach since '07. One of the hardest things I've ever had to do was getting through RCP....I was also certified to teach Rider's Edge with Harley. I mainly work for HD now at the same place. I love it but find that I'm burning out and have to rethink everything. I love the job, you'll realize quickly that you talk too much and that not everyone should ride. Lots of "know it all's" in the teaching world, just ignore them...if they suggest you do something that is not in the cards....ignore them.:lol3 As posted earlier, a lot of people like to add things to the curriculum thinking they know better than the folks at MSF. I hope if you go through with it you are taught the 2014 curriculum, the riding portion will be more difficult than it currently is and will make people self asses more.

    Good luck with your decision. It was a hard one for me, but after 7 years, I'm glad I did it.
  14. vaara

    vaara Been here awhile

    Jan 11, 2013
    San Francisco
    I became a RiderCoach just a few months ago. I'll echo what others have said re: the time commitment, which is substantial. Another aspect that is not entirely enjoyable is having to deal with difficult students: the crusty old know-it-alls; the 19-year-old know-it-alls; the students with severely limited English proficiency; the ones who show up 3 hours late to the range and demand to be allowed to ride (this has actually happened), etc.

    But if you can get past all that, and if you have plenty of patience, plenty of spare time, and a sincere desire to watch baby motorcyclists progress from "never ridden" to "doing offset weaves and figure-8s" within a few hours, then it can be very rewarding.

    Even though I sometimes dread those 25-hour weekends on the range, I'd like to keep on doing it for a while, but the moto training landscape here in CA is changing drastically as of 1/1/15 ... that's all I'm gonna say for now. :uhoh
  15. dwoodward

    dwoodward Long timer Supporter

    Dec 1, 2005
    Pacific NorthWet, Napa Valley North
    While I've seen a number of students be self-asses, I'm pretty sure you meant "self assess"
    IBA270 likes this.
  16. PrkChps

    PrkChps Mirth Is King

    May 2, 2011
    New England - Underrated MC Paradise
    Do not underestimate the time commitment. It is not an easy thing to become a Rider Coach. My RCP was pretty dang difficult, in fact. It is not something you can, or should, skate into easily.

    Actual coaching involves all previously said about crusty veterans, newbies, and the dude who buys the new bike, the new wardrobe, and then washes out during the evaluation. It will demand all your patience and people skills.

    I don't teach alone. Ever. Twice the work, same pay.

    I have just added S/TEP to my certifications, and hope to mix up MSF with that next season. Endless MSF BRC can get dull.

    Best wishes. Look before you leap, is all.
  17. Reverend12

    Reverend12 Well there it is..

    Nov 21, 2008
    As an MSF Instructor for 8 years it was certainly one of the most rewarding experiences I've ever had. Taking a bunch of noobs in on Friday night and having them riding around a parking lot on Sunday afternoon smiling from ear to ear is pretty cool. Too many politics has ruined it for me and I'm giving it up, but is is rewarding if You have a lot of patience.
    IBA270 likes this.
  18. Mr. B

    Mr. B Slowpoke

    Oct 19, 2004
    I'll add something else. YMMV, as they say and this is coming from a fairly active 62 year old who exercises daily. Anyway, you need to be relatively fit to teach a BRC. Don't underestimate the energy required for being on your feet all day, picking up and moving dozens of cones between the exercises. Sometimes you jog across the range to pick the bike up off a student. Then there's loading and unloading the twelve bikes in the trailer.

    You don't notice it when you're out teaching, but when you get home and sit down you may have a hard time getting up out of that chair! If you have a beer, it's worse. If you have a real job on Monday morning you may find it a lot harder to roll out of bed.

    Like I said, I'm getting to be an old fart, so take that into consideration. But I do think one reason so many instructors quit after a couple years is because it is more work than they expected.
  19. MotoBoss

    MotoBoss Old Dog

    Apr 15, 2009
    46151 USA
    I have been a certified Instructor for MSF and Harley-Davidson Riding Academy, a Program Manager and Track Coach for 10 years.

    I recently gave it up.........

    Coaching is very rewarding if your looking for personal fulfilment but is a severe time drain on your time. Your working when most are riding which gets old after time. The reason I left was I was done physically. Pounding the concert for hours every weekend took a toll on my ankles and knees. The average teaching life of most Instructors is about 5 years, then the strain of time commitment and physical exhaustion starts to overcome the desire..

    If you go after it forthe money, your in thr wrong profession.

    Go for it, just remember it's not a lifetime ordeal. Have fun.
  20. Norty01


    Jan 30, 2014
    Very true. You'll feel a bit older by EX. 12!:eek1