Archive for the ‘Coaching’ Category

Paddle the Bann 22/04/2010

April 23, 2010

Ok Ok I know! Its been a lifetime since I have posted anything on here!!  Well what have I been at? Work, started a PhD, got romantically attached and well did very little kayaking!!

Fresh start now alone with a fresh paddling season!  My first outing was with UUC and CCKA last night and what a beautiful evening it was.  The “other half” towed along assuring me he had “paddled once or twice before”  as we travelled into the Uni.  In total there was 9 of us, Gary a coach from CCKA (I’m sure its 3 or more!) Heather, Matt and myself (level 1coaches), Steph, Roy, Clare, Elaine and Jason.

Before even getting on the water, we couldn’t get boats- the powers that be had decided to chance locks to the doors and then not give us the correct key!!  After a mere 45 mins of flaffing about we eventually got on the water.

We travelled from the watersports centre heading the direction of the Barrmouth. I dont think I have ever been on the Bann in such a calm and beautiful day.  Even so it was apparent by the wobbles Jason had never been in a “kayak” before and it was “them open boat things” he had been in.  After 15 mins or so he was paddling like a pro!

Everyone had a great time – including the seal who followed us down stream for most of the way.

A beautiful evening – may there be many more


Level 1 Coach in Paddlesport day 4, 31st May2009

May 31, 2009

Arms brown, legs white, got to love two days paddlin in the lovely sun! 

Today I had to give a lesson on paddling in reverse canoe stylee!  I actually was looking forward to this lesson. Canoe isn’t my bag, or wasn’t.  This course has forced me to embrace the canoe.  I even found myself asking Hugh about suitable paddles for me as I know that paddle size has been detrimental to my performance in all my previous canoe sessions.

The group I have been “coaching” have been great craic throughout and even though they are 2* paddlers and above they all took genuine interest when the strokes were being carried out by the other would be coaches.  My session went very well with no major critisim – all good all good!  It is a real buzz when you have done a few games with students and seen that they are learning and enjoying wat you have created.


Before the course rounded up there was a future planning session- where do you see yourself going and what do you need to get there, well…

* my technical skills need worked on, I can talk rubbish and play games, I need to perfect the paddle —-3* in kayak and canoe what a task I’m setting myself

*I plan to make a compedium of strokes for quick reference based on the fundementals – body, boat and blade.

*my “bum in boat” policy still applies – if someone offers me to go out, to try a new boat or something new,  I am forbidden to say no (work permitting, have to pay for the habit after all!).


I had never coached before doing the course and to be honest I had never really planned to be on this course- I wanted my two star then, I had planned to paddle along at my leisure, maybe ticking off star awards, maybe not.  The coaching opportunity arose and I was convienced it was the right thing to do by a few members of the uni club.  The uni club at Coleraine had no coaches and have been depending on the amazing coaches from CCKA and from Xplore outdoors to take us all through the 1* and 2 * tests.


The training included coaching to coach, various models of learning and lots of on water time either carrying out rescues, demos or being assessed.  It was  very intense and I was glad at the end it was over two separate weekends rather than 4 days of slaughter!!

It was quite strange watching as myself and other participants change from being nervous and unconfident in the first week to becoming leaders in the final day.  I am really proud of everyone on the course for doing so well and passing.  I  want to thank CCKA tutors, Robin, Robert and Keith for their time and mentoring and also Hugh and Harry for their invaluable coaching tips.

I would certainly reccommend this course to anyone even pondering the idea of coaching.  As I said before- I never planned to coach  I just want to paddle, now I have done the course I  want others to share the fun I am having paddling!!

UKCC level 1 certificate in Coaching paddlesport – day 3

May 30, 2009

I am exhausted, relieved and (now) no longer hungry.  Bit of advice to anyone planning of doing this course- make sure you dont have to work in the evenings post course- it will probably kill you.

The day got off to a good start, getting out of bed that is to see a beautiful big sun shinning.  There is nothing as miserable as being herded to do rescues in the teaming rain bah.  The course started with Keith reviewing the last weekends worth of course followed by the harsh truth that this was assessment weekend!! 

Everyone did very well on the coaching assessment today.  It was great to see everyone progress fom very nervous the last weekend to being competant coaches this week!! Well done everyone.

The wind gave everyone hell during the rescue session, especially the poor canoes.  Towing, X-rescues and haulling fat swimmers to shore were all part of the assessments.   I will be honest, I hate doing them but the same as the open canoe once i am competent I probably wont anymore.  I met an Soter just the other night who told me he didnt want to take his sea kayak out as he didnt know how to do any of the rescues.  I dont blame him, i learnt the hard way- fall out then be fished out.  I have offered to take him through all the rescues, I would hate for anyone to get into trouble on account of me being to selfish to show them.

The last part of todays assessment was the dreaded test.  Everyone frantically crammed before hand and as the test commenced you could smell the tension in the air (it could equally have been the stench of the Bann water all of us were now christened by!!).  Everyone passed with flying colours!!

One more assesment on the coaching tomorrow and then fingers crossed there will be a new load of level 1 coaches on the water!!  Paddling backward in a canoe for me eep!! Best crack on and get my lessson plan done!