Kayak Coaching Philosophy and Guidelines
Our paddle programs are offered as ACA instructional programs to provide a structured and safe environment for participants to learn paddlesports. The fundamentals of ACA coaching are: Safe, Effective, and Fun. Our teaching style is to allow the student to set personal goals and objectives for their paddling. We then create the environment and coaching to meet those goals. We identify core strengths and weaknesses, as well as opportunity for development. We also push students to think about the next rung on the ladder in fitness and technique to keep you passionate about being on the water.
We use a variety of coaching techniques to meet different learning styles and student need including:
Structured Demonstrations with Repetition
This approach works great for many skills and techniques in paddlesports, especially for many visual analytical learners. Some things you just need to see done properly and then have time to repeat them in front of a coach who can tweak your approach. Some examples of skills that match to this technique include: rolling, rescues, directional strokes.
Demonstration, Activity, Do!
The world is full of “doers”, I’m one of them. Sometimes you have to just give somebody an idea of how to do something, and then they will be able to figure the rest out, so for a “doer” we give them a technique or a concept, and an activity. This is also where we feature games heavily. And we are BIG believers in games. Yes, games for adults in kayaks. Games are great tools for getting your trepidation and fear of failure out of the way and letting fun do the talking. This technique works great for reinforcing skills, or combining skills into a capability. Some examples of skills that work great for this approach include, blending strokes, bracing, positioning strokes, surfing.
Sometimes listening to us talk is not the solution. Some learning styles, such as kinesthetic learners, have to experience something to understand it. We present a problem or scenario and allow the student to try and solve it or demonstrate skills. We then provide structure to observed technique and approach. Some great examples where this technique works great are: forward stroke, edging your kayak, using the environment advantage (wind, waves, and current).
Course Pre-Requisites – For Your Safety and Ours.
- All participants must sign the Liability Waiver Provided by Lee’s Paddlesports Center.
- All participants must wear a Coastguard Type III Approved Lifejacket during the course.
- We always ask about medical conditions and concerns prior to the course, and reserve the right to refuse instruction if we deem a student unfit to participate.
- If I have not personally seen you do a wet exit before, I will ask you to do one with instruction prior to beginning the course. We always ask for your safety. (Remember that part about getting wet!).
- Kids under the age of 7 must be in a tandem canoe or kayak with an adult.
- For some classes we may require that all kayaks have bulkheads and full rescue lines. We denote these courses as *Advanced.
- For some courses, based on time of year or conditions we may require wetsuit/drysuit, we will list these courses as *Advanced
- No dogs, (Dude don’t ask why. There’s a story, we’ll tell you over pints).
- No alcohol, tobacco, or drug use during the program.
- No cellphones or electronic devices.
Course Suggestions – For Your Comfort
There is a saying in paddlesports, boaters like boats, paddlers love the water. This means we ALWAYS plan on being wet. A day on the water where you stay dry is a wasted trip. So plan on being wet.
- Bring a towel and a change of clothing.
- A bathing suit, wetsuit, warm hat, gloves, and paddlejacket will never go astray to keep you warm.
- Bring shoes you can get wet, sandals and flip-flops are not so hot, neoprene wetshoes are recommended. Crocs/Keens are fine.
- Sunscreen and a tethered hat are great.
- If you wear eyeglasses and need them to see, bring croakies, or some sort of glass retainer to attach glasses to your face. Murphy’s Law indicates that if you bring new untethered eyeware to a lake or river they will be lost. I have seen more sunglasses go to the bottom from lack of croakies, so I now just tell people to either tether them or not wear them. I stopped snorkeling for student eyewear in my first year as a coach.
- Neoprene spraydeck (skirt). These make life so much easier when you have a skirt fitted to your kayak that will stay on the kayak.
- Bring water and food. I never leave the house without water and a granola bar.