"Get Wet" Instructor Training
World Kayak “Get Wet” instructor training curriculum
Class starts 40 minutes prior to the designated time. You must be the first one there, and be set up to receive students. This pre class time will set the tone for the day. Make the signing of the waiver a fun thing, don’t let it scare your students. Give your students proper attention when it comes to outfitting them. Take the time to get them comfortable, and it will cause fewer distractions later.
Discuss the importance of these commonly overlooked elements (proper personal introductions, class and personal expectations, and gear introductions). Have everyone do a mock introduction of at least one element. Make sure all are covered. After each one the class and instructor will give feedback on the presentation in the compliment sandwich. This is how you introduce this concept to the new instructors and explain how to bring it to their students in their class. Common things to look for are over teaching, lack of eye contact, and incomplete understanding of each element on the instructor’s part.
The wet exit. This stands to be one of the scariest moments of your students kayaking lives, but only if you let it be. Discuss the different learning types (doers, thinkers, and watchers) with the instructors. Break down the steps of the wet exit in a fun light manner (mooning someone). This is the time to look for a volunteer, who will be a doer. We need to dumb down this process. First ask the student how long they can hold their breath. Inform them that all we need them to do is hold it for 3 seconds. Make a big deal out of how long they say, usually 10-15 seconds. Let them know that they will have a bunch of time in reserve. Now is the time to prove it. Get the volunteer in a boat, and the instructor will stand in the water with a hand on the boat. Explain the hand signal for them to give you when they are ready to be rolled back up. Have the class count out loud the time upside down and inform the student how long it was when they come back up. Every instructor needs to practice the hand of god so that this roll up is effortless every time no matter if the instructor is in a boat or in the water. Cater to the volunteer, but don’t forget the class. They are the next to go. Talk to the students after everyone has completed a solid wet exit and introduce the hand of god to them as an option for the rest of the class as opposed to a wet exit. Let them know that it is ok if they don’t wait for you, but that they will be able to kayak more if they hang out for you.
Introduce paddle less kayak polo and have the instructor class play a game. This is self-guided discovery! It allows the students to concentrate on the game and to get over the awkward feel of a kayak right at the start. This process is often shorter when you approach it this way.
Have the instructor’s debate as to why the sweep is the first stroke? Talk about modeling the stroke and why that it is important. Model the stroke for the instructors. Have the instructors model the stroke and provide feedback to the instructors on how to improve their modeling of the stroke as well as their own sweep stroke. Why is this important to the student? Mock class. Teach the stroke to the class. Have instructors trouble shoot each other.
Introduce sharks and minnows and the rules. Minnows turn into a shark when a shark touches the front 1/3 or back 1/3 of the boat with the bow or stern of a shark boat. The winner is the last minnow. The class travels in waves from side to side as a group. Have the instructors play a round. This is an excellent practical use of the sweep stroke with out having to make the students think about it. Self guided discovery again!
Introduce the forward stroke. Warning, this is the most challenging stroke to teach and learn to its full potential. Do not over teach it! The 4 elements are the head, body, arms/paddle, and boat. What is each element, how is it supposed to work, and how do they affect the other components? How do we simplify this for a student? Work on instructors stokes and modeling. Provide feedback and then have the instructors teach each other and provide feedback in turn. Why is this stroke important to the student?
What time is it? How long have we been in class? Did you see me check my watch? Everyone should know the answers to the first two, but most will not. They should answer no to the last. Explain the importance of time management and the value on not being noticed. You never want the students to feel like they are being rushed.
Introduce the weaving Indian game. How does it help? It uses both the forward and sweep stroke. It sparks not only cooperation, but also friendly competition. Do you remember Indian runs in grade school? Take that and make the last person weave between the others on the way to the lead with out touching the other boats. As people progress you can make it go faster as you see fit. It uses both the forward and sweep strokes together. Have the instructors play a round. Self guided discovery!
Importance of the debrief! Give a how to continue your kayaking education speech (short and sweet). Every student should receive a personal what they did well, what they need to work on, and encouragement to continue.
Instructor development time. Work on hard skills and soft skills development. Common things to look for are accurate trouble shooting, compliment sandwich review to students, and correct modeling from the instructors.