New to Sea Kayking Coaching Workshop

We recently had the pleasure of volunteering with the North Shore Paddlers Network, to coach the pool session for those who attended the "New to Sea Kayaking" workshop that NSPN holds each year.

Kevin and I brought our extra Neckys, pfd's and paddles for those that didn't have them and we started with some quick introductions and then right into the pool to get wet exits out of the way so we could move on to some fun moves. I was impressed and surprised that folks successfully did their wet exits with little trepidation - some of our guest had never kayaked before but everyone was over and wet within the first 20minutes.

After the wet exit we partnered everyone up and tasked them with getting back into their boats with no hints or tips - surprisingly and not without a few bruises everyone made it back in, and all those new to kayaking got their first taste of kayaker butt in the face At this point with everyone excited and heart rates up, we split the group into 2 pods in a somewhat crowded pool while another volunteer worked one one with a kayaker on their roll.

Within the two hours we worked on sweep strokes, edging, loose paddle grips, tandem rescues, cowboy entries and as much as we could on forward and backward strokes even though that resulted in bumper boats more than anything.

By the end of the session everyone had successfully performed a t rescue and been rescued, most a few times! Everyone could go sideways using a draw to the hip, elbows were down and secure, grips were open, and a few folks even had some really nice graceful strokes! One highlight was that one of our kayakers got their roll!

Speaking of smiles, we all had them - I think based on comments after the class that everyone had a blast and learned more than they were expecting.

From a coaching standpoint the class reminded me of how much I love introducing folks to proper paddling technique and having fun. One thing I'll continue to work on is being able to coach folks who learn differently. Kevin does a great job with folks who like to understand the biomechanics and the "why's" of certain paddle and hand positions, while I like to tell folks to "just do it and see what happens" - both are valuable ways to coach, but the best coaches are the ones who can recognize how a person tends to learn, and tailors his or her style to the person.

All in all a great volunteer coaching experience and we look forward to working with NSPN next year too!