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20 February 2007

Boredom alert

Tonight I stood in at the last minute to coach a group of twelve working towards their Two Star award. It was a challenge to manage such a large group, despite having some help from our L1 coach.

We spent an hour and a half working on some technical strokes and skills: draws, stern rudders, low brace, low brace turns etc. While I had the group working on a particular stroke I was able to single out individuals and do some good one on one coaching but there was not time to attend to everyone and I sensed that they were getting bored.

Thinking about the session afterwards (and reading the BCU Coaching Handbook) I realised that this is a critical stage for learners where they are likely to loose interest. the quick wins, in terms of skill gains, of the complete novice have passed but the more advanced skills take a lot longer to acquire. Practising strokes for practice sake is especially boring at this stage and, ideally, people need to start putting what they are learning to work for real for it to seem worthwhile.

I would really like to organise a canal trip for this group to give them a bit of a change and a real world opportunity to practice an important skill: forward paddling.

Coaching hours: 1.5

13 February 2007

Rainy trip to Greenwich

A tough paddle against the tide tonight to Greenwich. The weather was wet and the river was rolling with some sizeable swell. Passing Deptford we were overtaken by a large tug and this produced the biggest wash I have seen on the river. I was afraid that the resultant clapotis might catch out some of the group, who were hugging the bank to cheat the tide, but they were fine and seemed to enjoy the thrill.

Eight of us made the 10km round trip.