There are a few things that can make coaching unpleasant for me.
Unwilling participants, learning environments not condusive for learning and coaches with very conflicting techniques are just some of them.
I dont enjoy coaching at Macritchie, in fact I think its a horrible place for leisure paddling or to conduct a 1 star course.
First of all, the kayak sheds are located far away from the launching area. Bringing 10-15 kayaks over takes up quite abit of time especially when working with secondary school kids there as part of a school programme. These students are usually not interested in taking part to begin with.
Also, there are joggers/runners using the same path. You can imagine the congestion carrying boats will cause.
Secondly, the launch area is a pontoon. I dont have a problem with pontoons, however, I feel that launching from the shore is better for beginners. Using the pontoon to teach is a problem when there are 20 other schools using the same pontoon to launch. This means having to put the kayaks a distance away from the launch site after taking them out from the shed and then bringing them to the pontoon one by one to launch in order to avoid congestion.
As the newbies launch off one by one, does the coach stay on the pontoon to help or go into the water to herd those who have launched?
Thirdly, the place is full of racers. Racers are there to train, they want to go all out. That usually means expecting everyone else to give way and lots of yelling.
However, telling a newbie touching the kayak for the first time to "Hold water" doesnt really do much. The newbies have no idea what hold water means and lack the ability to control their kayak well even if they do understand.
This situation is similar to triathletes on $5000 bicycles running red lights and expecting cars to give way to them at all times in the sense that both parties lose out in the event of a collision. Crashing the K boats would definitely result in a capsize and some damage, depending on the speed.
Lastly, Peter Chai the guy who runs Paddle Lodge and is basically the guy in charge of watersports there is a jaded old man.
He just doesnt give a shit about other people and has a perpetual scowl on his face. The only time I've seen him smile is when he thought he could gain a benefit from someone which quickly turned into his usual scowl and a look of disgust when he realise no benefit was to be gained. Very calculative guy. Like the stereotypical chinese businessman.
Dont bother to apologize to him when you have made a mistake or if he misunderstood something you did. He will ignore you and any explanations you have anyway. Just let him say his peace and carry on.
Telling him you wont do it again next time will merely get the response that there is no next time. Telling him you were given wrong info would result in him saying no such thing.
Typical bureaucrat eh?
Oh and dont be late when returning keys, he needs to close shop and rush off to moonlight.