Kevin, Brian and I spent a fun filled PACKED 2 Hours in the Haverhill Pool with 9 or 10? new to kayaking participants from the workshop (hmm I guess I really should know if it was 9 or 10 - maybe I should have attended the CAM training instead lol!)
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 very crowded pool, with Kevin leading one, me leading the other, and Brian working with *&%^& (that's code for the person's name that I've forgotten sorry) on his 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 rescues, 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! The highlight for *&^$%* and Brian was that *&^%* got his roll! I saw him do at least 6 myself and I've never seen a bigger smile. It brought me back to the day I finally got my roll after all that hard work.
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 and Brian do 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.
Thanks again to our kayakers and to Kevin and Brian for their coaching! I hope to see everyone on the water soon!