Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bad practices

At a recently concluded 1 Star course, I was one of the 4 coaches who coached 50 participants.
If I had known there were going to be that many students, I wouldn't have said ok. So much time is spent transporting equipment, reducing the practice time. Large classes also means lesser individual attention and when the participants aren't too interested, its kinda tough on the coach.
I find a class size of 6-10 ideal.

I didn't agree with the other coaches practices too. There were not enough single kayaks. So we got 1 double in each group while the rest used singles. I don't find this practice ideal. Instead, I would rather have the entire group on doubles instead of just one pair.
Also, they tried to teach dry paddling on a narrow path. The participants were so spread out that those at the extreme ends hardly knew what was going on. To make things worse the person teaching was not even a coach.

I have adopted a "teach-if-interested" style when dealing with school students "forced" to attend the course. What it means is, if they're interested, I teach if not I let them sit out. This was the case of one of the participants in my group, he really didn't care much for paddling and when my group paddled 30m to raft up, he gave up and just sat there in the water. He said he wasn't interested so I towed him back, where he sat on shore and waited.

The question now is, did I do the right thing? Should I have persuaded him to try?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Muddy mud mud

Joined Mary's Ubin mangrove trip today, apparently a highly experienced coach told her that this week was ideal for going through the mangrove.
Well, either she got the direction wrong or its plain BOLLOCKS! We got stuck when we were so damned near the exit point because there was no water!!!

Here's a preview.

Rest of the pictures here

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Secret Training & Limiting Mindsets

I've secretly taught 4 friends who to roll in a kayak. I feel like I have to apologize to the first person I've ever tried teaching because he was like a guinea pig to me. It took him quite some time before he successfully managed to roll. Don't think I helped much.
But when I can get Huan Da the jelly belly up and rolling, I know for sure Im getting somewhere. Earlier on, I had a more rigid approach, teaching only the C to C roll. But recently, I showed both the Sweep and C to C letting whoever was trying to learn to have a feel of both.
Although Huan Da's roll isn't perfect, its a start. He has at least a 70% chance of successfully completing the roll. Not bombproof, but an important step nonetheless. This allows him to concentrate more on improving technique rather than trying to get out of the water.
I also taught a "technique" where he floats himself to the surface after a failed rolling attempt to get a breath before attempting to roll again.

Regarding the issue on fiberglass kayaks on sand, I've spoken to a few people and it just seems that some coaches have very rigid mindsets. Since most coaches learn by emulating, it is only natural for them to emulate their instructors or mentors. I guess its a matter of whether they question the methods and filter out the useless stuff.
I am still new to coaching, so I will stick around Water-Venture for a little longer. Gaining experience till the time I feel that Im stagnating.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Something New

I've decided to try something new. And that is to join the SIM canoeing team. You might ask what is so new about me joining a canoeing club, but this is competitive canoeing which I have never done before.
In fact I've only tried the T1 twice and a wing paddle once. With training 3 times a week, it will take alot of commitment. I am considering putting Scouting on hold.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Hat Trick

Literally... a hat trick. The Top Hat Roll.

"This can be performed with any prop, but a top hat is traditional. The paddler must be able to roll one-handed. For a right-handed roll he removes the top hat from his head with his right hand and capsizes to the left. As the boat settles upside-down the still-dry hat is placed on the upturned hull with the right hand. It is retrieved with the left hand as the roll is completed with the right hand and placed, still dry, back on the head"

A Stroke of Luck

After being pissed off on Saturday while I was at Pasir Ris, I decided not to go back again yesterday. Instead I went paddling in Kallang with Huan Da and Edwin. It was yet another day full of coincidences, we met Sam, Kian Seng and some canoeists from the SIM canoeing team. I previously sent an email to them trying to get more info because I was interested in joining.

Anyway, here are some pics

The rest of them can be found here

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Crummy Weather

Was supposed to paddle round Ubin today but there were delays due to the foul weather. This led us to change the plan and we paddled through the mangrove swamp instead.

Found this toy floating in the water...
Rest of the pics are here

Quite pissed with the staff at the club though.
For a simple 3hr paddle round Ubin, the expedition leader must show a expedition plan and brief the club manager and the club manager must give a briefing to the participants.
I was planning to paddle at Pasir Ris more often and so wanted to leave my PFD in their trainer's room. But the CM say cannot! Huh? I not trainer meh? Only can put overnight?
Also, got reprimanded by Bernard for allowing one of the paddlers to do a solo emptying of the kayak by placing the bow on the beach while lifting the stern. I told him it was perfectly fine but he insists that it isnt. In the end, I just told him I would not accept anything w/o any justification so I'll check first. If I'm wrong I'll apologise and begin advocating his recommendation of not allow paddlers to empty the kayak with one end on the beach.

Monday, June 2, 2008

New personal record

The last time I went on an kayak expedition was in 2007. Im not including the trips I've made to the Merlion because, thats not really considered a sea journey.
I decided to join the SAFYC Changi to East Coast kayaking trip organised by Asian Detours to give myself a rough idea of how I would fair in next week's round Ubin paddle. A return trip is approximately 20km, which is the farthest I have ever paddled in a day.
It took me about 1.5hrs to paddle 10km so I think the round Ubin trip will last at least 4 hours including time for lunch and rest.

Rest of the pics are here