My first session with my new long term students

Today I held the first session with my students who have kindly volunteered to be a part of my progression through the UKCC Level 3 course. I decided to go down the route of white water kayak for my Level 3 discipline and, after some emails bouncing around my club, my group came together for the first time today. All came along with open minds for a session on the Derwent at Matlock which allowed me to understand their objectives and needs, observe their current performance and agree a high level medium term plan.

We started off in the local tea room with a short presentation in which we got to know each other, I detailed the remit of the UKCC Level 3 Coach and then discussed the groups individual objectives over a cup of tea or coffee - the whole group bought into the fact that today would be predominantly observational from my perspective to aid my planning for future sessions. We then got changed and set off for the first session.

This intial time was useful for me to observe the group and help me understand what needs to be coached over the next 12 months to help them achieve the mutually agreed objectives at the end of the day. The levels at Matlock were good today, allowing some intial tasks to be set on the features at the get-in, setting some progressively harder challenges for the group using the eddies on either side for river crosses, then building in the use of river features such as surf waves to aid transitions and save energy!

After a bite of lunch we then moved our way down, pausing at the left hand bend in the river to talk about safety, line of sight and what could we do to improve on our view of the rapids, before moving downstream, eddy-hopping as we go.

We then moved into the slalom site and started a number of ferry-glide and S-turn drills before dropping down to the bottom of the rapid, making good use of the available group sized eddies before one by one making our way across to the get out on river right at the steps. After we'd all got off safely we got changed and headed back to the local tea room who were glad to see us again! It was obviously a quiet day in a wet Matlock! We discussed over a brew the next couple of sessions but to also lay out my high level 12 month plan that all agreed to...

This is the first step for UKCC Level 3 coaches... agreeing the objectives of the programme and getting buy-in from our students.. now it's down to us to pull together the sessions that will get us all there and across the line...

Thanks to all of you who took the time out to paddle with me today and I'm looking forward to our next session...