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27 June 2006

One star assessments

Tonight was the culmination of the beginners course on Shadwell Basin, as this was the first assessment I have done, I was anxious to set the correct standard and not quite sure what that should be.

Luckily, I had a more experienced coach working with me which was very helpful as we were able to discuss the students' standards together. Of course, the one star award is all about encouragement rather than a strict technical appraisal but it is still helpful to get input from other coaches on assessment standards in general. Happily, everyone passed!

Students: 7
Coaches: 2 (myself and one other L2)
Coaching hours: 2

20 June 2006

Beginners course part two

For the second week of my first beginners course we had, inevitably, lost a few of the students but those who remained were very eager to learn. Having spent the previous session getting used to being on the water, we moved on to some of the more technical controlling strokes including draws and stern rudders.

We ended the session by joining in with a game of polo but this was perhaps a bit too much too soon.

Students: 6
Coaching hours: 2

13 June 2006

Beginners course

Today was the start of a three week long beginners course comprising two coaching sessions followed by a one star assessment.

I was glad to have the opportunity to run a course for complete novices from start to finish and was determined to incorporate all of the good things I have seen other coaches do.

I felt a bit self conscious to begin with as, once we had everyone kitted out, I got them all gathered around on dry land and tried to demonstrate the elements of a good forward stroke before getting them all doing some air paddling. I think our regular club paddlers found this rather amusing (I picked up this particular coaching tool in the US). It was useful to do this before getting on the water, however, as it is much easier to explain when everyone is standing still and not drifting away. It also served as a useful warm up!

Once we got on the water we worked on the basics of forward and backwards paddling, and simply enjoying being out on the water.

Students: 9
Coaches: me plus one L2
Coaching hours: 2

7 June 2006

Sundown behind the City

Last night was a beautiful evening for a paddle on the Thames and, as it was a neap flooding tide, we took the opportunity to invite some of the club's newer 2 star paddlers along to gain some river experience. Two groups, totalling 16, made the trip from Wapping to Greenwich and back - the largest number I can remember for a regular Tuesday night club paddle

We paddled leisurely, savouring the privilege of being out on the river under our own steam and taking about an hour to get to Greenwich and forty five minutes for the return leg of the 10km round trip.

On the way back we enjoyed the spectacular site of the sun going down behind the Swiss Re tower and the skyline of the City. We were also shamed by a small boy whose football had fallen into the river below a high embankment. Despite many attempts, no one had a strong enough throw to get it back up to him. More polo practice is definitely required!