Friday, April 18, 2014

SPH Student Contributes to Little 500 Tradition

Ren-Jay Shei is a life-long Bloomington resident, and as part of the local community developed a love for cycling early on. Having ridden since high school, it was a natural transition for Shei to become involved in the Little 500 when he became an IU student. “I grew up watching the race and knew that it was something that I wanted to be a part of.  It turns out that it was one of the best decisions I made.  The people I met through Little 500 are amazing and most of my best friends (and my fiance) from college are former Little 5 riders,” he said.

As an undergraduate student, Ren-Jay rode for the Black Key Bulls, a men’s independent team. He transitioned to coaching the team his senior year and serving as the assistant coach for the  Alpha Xi Delta sorority team when his USA Cycling category transitioned to “semi-pro”, making him ineligible to participate in the race as a competitor.

As a graduate student in the Department of Kinesiology, pursuing a PhD in Exercise Physiology, Shei has remained involved with both teams, currently serving as the Head Coach for the Alpha Xi Delta sorority team and Assistant Coach for the Black Key Bulls. He noted that his experiences and education from the School of Public Health has significantly contributed to his understanding of the sport.

“The most obvious contributions have been what I've learned about all aspects of sport science ranging from basic physiology and training program structure to motor learning and practice schedules, and sport psychology.  Every day I get the chance to apply the concepts and content that I learn in the classroom to two functioning, real-world cycling teams, which is incredible.  As an undergraduate student, I received a minor in coaching through the School, which really helped me recognize things that I could improve and gave me the tools to succeed as a coach.  It'd be fair to say that my education at the School of Public Health has had a positive and defining role in shaping me as a coach.”

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