Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Coaching Refinement

After conducting a KOP for Fajar Sec at MOE JBAC, I had coffee with Bernard at Lot 1. We discussed about coaching techniques while drinking coffee and eating Ya Kun toast.

Some things I've learnt after that day.

ALWAYS conduct dry paddling
And not just moving the paddle on land, move to knee depth water and let the students know how it feels like when they are paddling properly. If they were to slice the blade, it would be evident as they would feel a sudden lack of resistance.
Dry paddling also saves you the trouble of running all over the place herding the students after you set them loose in the water.

Gain attention
Pick the rowdy ones and sit them in the front, this lets everyone know you want their full attention and you'll have lesser distractions.

Avoid multi-tasking
It helps get work done quickly, but there I can only be at one place at a time.
Say I am washing the kayak, how can I ensure if the students are putting the kayaks on the rack safely? Instead, it would be prudent to let a more responsible student do the washing which is a low risk activity. While I watch over those carrying the kayaks and bringing them to the racks.

No sharp turns during expeditions
When bringing a group on an expedition, it is best to keep the last person in view. This is to prevent the group from splitting up and in the event of any capsize where rescue is needed, the expedition leader will know that there is a need to stop. Preventing the group from spreading farther apart.

Bernard also mentioned that my coaching style is more suitable for an adult group. I guess its because the principal considerations when I coach are to provide a non-threatening environment and to be as informal as possible. I feel that an informal and non-threatening environment encourages students to ask for help when they can't perform a skill. This beats having them sit quietly in their kayak, afraid to ask for guidance.

Bernard's coaching concept is to quickly run thru the entire syllabus on the first day, leaving the 2nd day for refinement. His method is to touch and go on all the strokes, spending more time on capsize drills and rescue techniques.
I think I'll adapt his concept, with a little tweaking because I think that rushing through everything on the first day might be a bit too taxing for the students. They'll probably forget the main points on the 2nd session.

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