The end of February, winter’s almost gone and the 2017 spring/summer season is now in sight. The month has also seen the first of this year’s coaching courses completed and another cohort of Level 1 Coaches prepared to go back to their clubs and centres and make a difference to the way canoeing and kayaking is introduced to beginners.
Looking back on my own experience I realise how lucky I was when I first went out onto the water. I wasn’t taught how to paddle, I was put afloat and given the freedom to experiment and enjoy the experience with a group of mates in a safe environment. I loved every moment of it and was hooked!
The person who put me afloat wasn’t a coach, but was a very experienced Scout leader. I suspect he couldn’t have taught me many technical skills even if I’d asked for them. What he did do however was give us a safe, enjoyable introduction to the sport. Which is just what we emphasise with our Level 1 Coaches today. While my Scout leader was using his years of experience to guide us through that first successful foray onto the water, the Level 1 Coach course provides a structure and a framework to enable new coaches to give a similar experience in only four days – and with plenty of fun and games along the way.
Whether you’re asking someone to duck under a paddle while steering between two boats or catch and throw a ball while standing on a paddleboard, it’s a joy to see familiarity with the equipment and the environment grow, and learning taking place, while people are having fun.