Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Higher levels

Leading the group in for a landing
I've said before that my favorite people to teach are other teachers. Some people like to teach beginners - it's hard to match the joy of introducing a new sport, one that can be life changing, to eager students. Some folks like to teach advanced courses - the chance to do some paddling that is truly fun and exciting while welcoming some new blood into the brotherhood. For me, instructor training is the highest level of coaching. It's more involved, more complicated, and more rewarding than any other class. At its best it delves into the minutia of how to transfer information from one person to another; it dissects the human psyche to develop systems and stratagems to help students learn as quickly and efficiently as possible. It's down right complicated and that's what makes it fun.

Apparently purple isn't visible enough
So this past weekend was a special treat as I assisted teaching an advanced open water ACA instructor certification course in Half Moon Bay. The advanced level cranks everything up a notch - the candidates are more experienced and motivated, the coaching is at a higher level, the conditions and locations are more challenging, overall it's just more fun! It was also a chance to work with Roger Schumann who I've known for years but never gotten to teach with before. And in addition, everyone in the class was a friend and paddling buddy. So it was really about workshopping with peers, where everyone is contributing ideas and sharing experiences.

Flat water fun
This being an advanced course we also got to go play in some fun conditions: a day of surfing 4-6' waves at Pillar Point; playing at Yellow Bluff and under the Golden Gate with4.5 knot currents; and a little rock gardening out at Pt. Diablo. The only disappointing thing about the weekend was the lack of wind - we needed at least 15 knots to create the proper conditions for the certification but in the three days of the course the wind never once reached that speed anywhere we could find. It's a sad day when December in San Francisco can't manage to stir up at least a little winter weather. But we made do with what we had and even at the end of a long weekend people were still playing around on the way back to CCK's classroom and the Princeton Boat Yard.

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