Saturday, August 8, 2009

Teaching others to kayak

Since I have received my certification to teach whitewater kayaking, I have taught five classes. It has been pretty good and I feel I am improving in both my delivery and my skill. I do know that I have a weak point in not being able to do a hand of God rescue, but as long as the person can T-rescue themselves, I am okay. We get all levels of kayaking ability in the classes. More so in the second level class then the intro class. But even in the intro class, there is a fairly large dichotomy of paddling ability. Some people seem to get things right away, and others have trouble working out how to best balance the boat. Many people, after taking the first class, then take advantage of the social paddles and really improve their abilities. Some people come out with rolls after a few socials and are ready to tackle more. It is great to see people improving over each class and social paddle. People I taught just a few weeks ago are now rolling and playing in the current. I remember I was there just a year ago.

Teaching is both harder and easier then I thought. It is harder to organize my thoughts in a cohesive flow to best describe a technique or drill. I also have to be careful to not over explain or simply bore people as they are trying to learn something. Some people require less instruction then others so I try to teach to them then give more individual help to those that require more help and explanations.

At the same time, I have fun doing it and seeing people understanding and applying the concepts and drills that it is easy to teach something to someone. Some people actually will self-discover something and I just have to guide them to improvements rather then teach the entire concept.

I have been enjoying helping with the flat water instruction as well and am looking forward to certifying in that soon too. I am not quite sure what I prefer teaching. Each sport has its perks. The whitewater play boats turn so easily and are fun to paddle, yet the sea kayaks require more technical skill and track nicely through the water. In either case, improving my teaching abilities and skills in both sports is well worth the effort.

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