On Sunday 9th April I took part in a ‘Coaching Matters’ course at the Sea Cadets base in the Royal Albert docks in East London, opposite City Airport on the North side of the dock. It was organised by Sam Saunders, Regional Coaching Representative. To see about the course and to see what RCRs do see www.britishcanoeing.org.uk
Russell Smith gave an up-beat talk in a classroom on recent developments in British Canoeing (BC) that are designed to help paddlers at all levels. He is newly appointed to the BC post of Area Development Officer – South East and has loads of experience of organising and delivering paddle coaching, which he is keen to share. This includes many years managing the Teeside International White Water Centre.
Russell will be contacting clubs to ask how he can help them, especially ones that include and develop young people of all abilities; and clubs are welcome to contact him for help on [email protected] and you can read Russell’s presentation on Coaching Matters here. It mentions ‘CR’ forms. These refer to Central Registration for courses. Russell mentioned many BC initiatives e.g. the ‘How to’ videos on YouTube and on the BC web site e.g. search for ‘British canoeing YouTube how to video 2 star.’ Another improvement is that the open hours of the BC office have been extended. Some weekend cover may also be provided at some future date.
For the morning session I chose a wet session – Stand Up Paddling as I’ve never tried this before. See the photo. I’m the one with the light-coloured cap. For the afternoon session I joined the wet group practising rescue techniques in a variety of different boats. The other afternoon group was mainly shore-based. I am told they “looked at observation and analysis of paddlers, using flags and markers to deduce faults in performance, and looked at holistic, deductive and analytical levels of observation!”
It was a glorious, hot sunny day, perfect for having fun getting wet, but instead I concentrated on not falling in. What a daft thing to do. I would have got much more practical skills out of the course if I’d been more adventurous. That’s my aim for the next time. Carpe diem
The coaching staff were so helpful before, during and after the course and I was able to hire centre boats/boards and kit for a nominal £5. This freed me up to travel by fast public transport from my home In West London to Docklands.