Anyone running new Personal Performance Awards?

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andypagett
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Anyone running new Personal Performance Awards?

Post by andypagett » Mon Mar 04, 2019 5:10 pm

Is anyone else a coach involved in the running of the new Personal Performance Awards?

We've been getting up and running with the new awards at our club, having successfully run some days out based around the new Discover / Explore awards.

We wondered what other clubs were doing in terms of how they run the sessions, and what they would typically (obviously the awards are very individual, so the answer can only ever be general) expect people to know / be able to do at 'Discover' and 'Explore' level?

We've been running the sessions by meeting at a cafe beside the canal or river to discuss clothing, access, weather, river levels etc, then off to the car park for a look at kit, then off for a paddle.

At 'Discover' level we'd be expecting people to have suitable clothing (layers, not cotton etc), BA/helmet (club kit if needed), and food+drink for the day. Have some idea about the weather, how to check where to get on/off etc.

At 'Explore' level where the theme is 'independence', then depending on the group / craft we'd also expect things like a map, first aid, maybe sling+krab or other tow system, some knoweldge about how to adjust / outfit their boat. We'd expect a bit more knowledge about the weather, how to check river levels.

On the water, at 'Discover' level we'd expect them to be able to use some combination for forward strokes, sweeps + stern rudder to make their kayak go where they want it, plus stopping, and maybe some sort of draw stroke. At 'Explore' level we'd expect their forward paddling and manoeuvring to be more polished, showing trunk rotation, correct arm positions etc, and turns to be more fluid, e.g. using hanging stern draw, bow draw etc. Maybe some sort of support stroke appropriate to craft.

Rescues, at 'Discover' we'd expect that as they are not 'independent' the can be effectively rescued e.g. bail and swim. At 'Explore' we'd expect them to confidently be able to deal with someone else in the group being out of their boat (and rescue appropriately e.g. swim to side or deep water rescue).

Anyone else out there running these have any thoughts?

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Re: Anyone running new Personal Performance Awards?

Post by twopigs » Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:08 pm

Not got to the point of running the new awards yet but our thoughts are somewhat similar ....

At Discover we are expecting paddlers to be able to explain why they are wearing what they are wearing. "Mum told me to wear a wetsuit" will not be judged satisfactory! We are expecting to run Discover at a lake so we can experience a range of launching and landing spots. We are thinking it will be similar to the old 1* on the water with more emphasis on the "off water" elements.

At Explore we are thinking it will be similar to the old 2* on the water. Off the water I'm not convinced about the map and first aid stuff - it depends upon the age and maturity of the paddler .... adjusting their boat - certainly - I used to get 2* candidates out of their boat in the middle of the assessment and mal-adjust their boat to force them to sort it out! We are also thinking that candidates for Explore will have to log a number of trip to gain a variety of experience.

It is early days so we will have to see how it pans out. My fear is that we will have parents wanting their children to get awards and the degree of independence at Explore will be mediated by parental involvement ......
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Re: Anyone running new Personal Performance Awards?

Post by DaveB » Wed Mar 06, 2019 3:33 pm

andypagett wrote:
Mon Mar 04, 2019 5:10 pm
We wondered what other clubs were doing in terms of how they run the sessions, and what they would typically (obviously the awards are very individual, so the answer can only ever be general) expect people to know / be able to do at 'Discover' and 'Explore' level?

I would be interested to know whether you and your club see the lack of a precise syllabus as a strength or a weakness of the new system?
Do you foresee any risk that students who do not pass will find that their mate didnt have to do/show skillX but was still given the award ?

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Re: Anyone running new Personal Performance Awards?

Post by Adrian Cooper » Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:46 pm

The syllabus is entirely knowledge based on the subject of paddle strokes. It does not appear to state that you need to be able to paddle at Explore level, merely that you are in control and that you 'know' how to control your boat, not that you can.

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Re: Anyone running new Personal Performance Awards?

Post by andypagett » Fri Mar 08, 2019 7:41 pm

At Discover we are expecting paddlers to be able to explain why they are wearing what they are wearing. "Mum told me to wear a wetsuit" will not be judged satisfactory! We are expecting to run Discover at a lake so we can experience a range of launching and landing spots. We are thinking it will be similar to the old 1* on the water with more emphasis on the "off water" elements.
Yes I think that sums up exactly our view too.
At Explore we are thinking it will be similar to the old 2* on the water. Off the water I'm not convinced about the map and first aid stuff - it depends upon the age and maturity of the paddler .... adjusting their boat - certainly - I used to get 2* candidates out of their boat in the middle of the assessment and mal-adjust their boat to force them to sort it out! We are also thinking that candidates for Explore will have to log a number of trip to gain a variety of experience.
Yes this is interesting for us too. WIth the focus on 'independence', but also on 'paddler centric', we feel there can be a bit of conflict with this one. How 'independent' can a 12 year old be, for example?! So yes while my 'starting point' would be to have that stuff, I can see cases where good, younger paddlers might not have them (but we could talk about what other people in their group might carry, for example). For those around the age of 14 I think I'd expect it, because those guys can then go off and do the new Instructor Award if they are up to it.

It is early days so we will have to see how it pans out. My fear is that we will have parents wanting their children to get awards and the degree of independence at Explore will be mediated by parental involvement ......
Yes, early days. Reassuring to know that others have similar interpretations to us. I assume you're paddling with a club too then?

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Re: Anyone running new Personal Performance Awards?

Post by andypagett » Fri Mar 08, 2019 7:44 pm

DaveB wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 3:33 pm
I would be interested to know whether you and your club see the lack of a precise syllabus as a strength or a weakness of the new system?
Do you foresee any risk that students who do not pass will find that their mate didnt have to do/show skillX but was still given the award ?
I think overall the jury is still out. Personally I love it, and I think provided the general standard is well moderated (we'll see if it is....!) then it's great. I know I can take someone out for day, meeting somewhere to talk about kit, prep etc, going paddling a bit of grade 2, and doing some rescues etc, and know at the end of it if they're up to 'being independent on grade 2', without having a checklist. We'll see how it pans out!

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Re: Anyone running new Personal Performance Awards?

Post by twopigs » Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:04 am

andypagett wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 7:44 pm
DaveB wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 3:33 pm
I would be interested to know whether you and your club see the lack of a precise syllabus as a strength or a weakness of the new system?
Do you foresee any risk that students who do not pass will find that their mate didnt have to do/show skillX but was still given the award ?
I think overall the jury is still out. Personally I love it, and I think provided the general standard is well moderated (we'll see if it is....!) then it's great. I know I can take someone out for day, meeting somewhere to talk about kit, prep etc, going paddling a bit of grade 2, and doing some rescues etc, and know at the end of it if they're up to 'being independent on grade 2', without having a checklist. We'll see how it pans out!
But if you're meeting somebody somewhere that already suggests a degree of independence ..... my concern are those younger paddlers who are delivered by parents to a club session who use club kit.
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Re: Anyone running new Personal Performance Awards?

Post by gp.girl » Sun Mar 10, 2019 8:51 pm

andypagett wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 7:44 pm
DaveB wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 3:33 pm
I would be interested to know whether you and your club see the lack of a precise syllabus as a strength or a weakness of the new system?
Do you foresee any risk that students who do not pass will find that their mate didnt have to do/show skillX but was still given the award ?
I think overall the jury is still out. Personally I love it, and I think provided the general standard is well moderated (we'll see if it is....!) then it's great. I know I can take someone out for day, meeting somewhere to talk about kit, prep etc, going paddling a bit of grade 2, and doing some rescues etc, and know at the end of it if they're up to 'being independent on grade 2', without having a checklist. We'll see how it pans out!
Totally certain that the standards for passing were a bit hit and miss on the old system too :) The lack of rules is challenging. Had a go and covered the old 2 star with more attention to skills needed for WW. Changed rescues as one paddler could not do certain areas due to a bad back and shoulder, they still managed to be rescued and rescue a boat and paddler just using a different method to normal.

I'm not sure most people would be independant on grade 2 in a day and if they have previous experience they can pass the old box ticking exercise with a bit of common sense. For me independant would mean a group of people of the same ability who would be fine by themselves. As long as you need a better paddler in the group you're not independant (I'm ignoring solo paddling as thats a different debate). You'd define it differently?
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Re: Anyone running new Personal Performance Awards?

Post by Adrian Cooper » Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:43 am

Are we still talking about the Explore Award? This is aimed at 'sheltered water' defined as still or slow moving which you could paddle against and wind conditions below force 3. We are not considering grade 2, this is for the first level of the white water awards.

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Re: Anyone running new Personal Performance Awards?

Post by andypagett » Mon Mar 11, 2019 12:31 pm

Apologies Adrian, I think it was me who caused confusion by bringing in the reference to Grade 2 whitewater above. That's from the extended award description for the new White Water Award which I'd temporarily got distracted by:
Your White Water Award endorses your skill, judgment and decision making to ensure a successful day on rivers up to grade 2. You will be confident in planning and undertaking journeys on moving water with proficient skills to be in control throughout.
My point was that given that information alone, I could spend a day with someone and know whether they had the "skill, judgment and decision making to ensure a successful day on rivers up to grade 2", without needing a checklist telling me what that might be.

That was a mistake for me to let that get tangled up in the original discussion, which was about differentiating between what people might expect of participants and 'Discover' and 'Explore' level, with Explore clearly being 'independent', but Discover 'taking you on the next steps towards becoming a proficient and independent paddler.'.

I have the same concern as twopigs:
But if you're meeting somebody somewhere that already suggests a degree of independence ..... my concern are those younger paddlers who are delivered by parents to a club session who use club kit.
With the theme of the Explor award being 'independence' (I've bolded the bit that Lee Pooley, Head of Coaching repeated over and again at the presentation I went to at BC HQ)...
Your Explore Award gives you ownership; allowing you to choose where you move next in the world of paddlesport. Working with a coach you will be able to develop a programme that suits what you need. Learning to make confident choices with this individualised approach. Recognising your ability to independently paddle your chosen craft in a sheltered water environment.
...to what degree can those younger paddlers be considered 'independent' (especially when you read through the full award content, in terms of planning, access etc). They may well be able to paddle to 'two star' standard, but are they independent enough to cover all of the 'off the water' stuff 'independently'? (or do we make a concession because of their age)?
gp.girl wrote:Had a go and covered the old 2 star with more attention to skills needed for WW.
I am slightly confused as to what you did here... the 2 star was a sheltered water award, are you saying that you did a sheltered water session, but with more focus on skills which would be useful when they move on to WW? (this is what tends to happen in our club... 90%+ of our sheltered water paddlers move to WW within a few months so our coaching leans a little towards that for the majority).
gp.girl wrote:I'm not sure most people would be independant on grade 2 in a day
I'm sure most people would not be independent in a day. What I meant was that if I did paddle with somoene for a day, I would be able to see over the course of that day whether or not they did have the necessarily skill, judgment, ability etc to demonstrate that independence.
gp,girl wrote:For me independant would mean a group of people of the same ability who would be fine by themselves. As long as you need a better paddler in the group you're not independant (I'm ignoring solo paddling as thats a different debate). You'd define it differently?
Nope, I'd define it exactly the same... which brings us back to the same questions of what concession we would / should make for those younger paddlers who are not 'independent'. What degree of planning, checking, kit etc ought they to have to get an 'Explore' award. I'd expect an independent sheltered water to paddler to check weather, bring right kit for the weather, check river levels and know the effect that might have on our trip, bring map, first aid kit etc as appropriate for the trip, be able to lead their own way down the river, deal with (portage?) any obstacles (weirs / locks?).... Is that standard too high even for an adult, or is it about right? What about for a kid?

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Re: Anyone running new Personal Performance Awards?

Post by gp.girl » Mon Mar 11, 2019 5:31 pm

Obvious bit was no canoeing. Thats what we did - even found some moving water for a bit of fun. Most was done on gently moving water. They can both plan and run a flat water peer trip no problem so passed the independant paddler with flying colours.

Younger paddlers are a bit tricky although they should be able to do everything except drive the car to the get in. Most of the planning can be done on the internet and they are better at it than me! Some stuff they only need to make sure the group has one so no need get parents to buy lots of stuff. Kit wise they often struggle with just in case planning as well as just being prepared ie turn up on a hot day with no hat/water/sun cream. I don't think they get many oppertunities to actuall plan stuff in this way. Then again a lot of adults don't do this too! Strength can be interesting, some struggle others are unwilling to take the easier ie less lifting option. We only need 2 on this canoe....nope get 2 more. It's perfectly normal to have kids stronger or at least more willing to go for it than me on a trip.

The same applies to people who just cannot do certain tasks. If you're loading cars most of the time I won't even be asked. I'm short and its a people carrier :)
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Re: Anyone running new Personal Performance Awards?

Post by twopigs » Mon Mar 11, 2019 5:33 pm

andypagett wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 12:31 pm
With the theme of the Explor award being 'independence' (I've bolded the bit that Lee Pooley, Head of Coaching repeated over and again at the presentation I went to at BC HQ)...
Your Explore Award gives you ownership; allowing you to choose where you move next in the world of paddlesport. Working with a coach you will be able to develop a programme that suits what you need. Learning to make confident choices with this individualised approach. Recognising your ability to independently paddle your chosen craft in a sheltered water environment.
...to what degree can those younger paddlers be considered 'independent' (especially when you read through the full award content, in terms of planning, access etc). They may well be able to paddle to 'two star' standard, but are they independent enough to cover all of the 'off the water' stuff 'independently'? (or do we make a concession because of their age)?

[cutting out a bit]

...... what concession we would / should make for those younger paddlers who are not 'independent'. What degree of planning, checking, kit etc ought they to have to get an 'Explore' award. I'd expect an independent sheltered water to paddler to check weather, bring right kit for the weather, check river levels and know the effect that might have on our trip, bring map, first aid kit etc as appropriate for the trip, be able to lead their own way down the river, deal with (portage?) any obstacles (weirs / locks?).... Is that standard too high even for an adult, or is it about right? What about for a kid?
If we are to take the words of Lee Pooley to heart we can not make allowances for age ...... and the level is about right for the sheltered water environment.

Great discussion BTW
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Re: Anyone running new Personal Performance Awards?

Post by scottdog007 » Wed Mar 13, 2019 10:56 am

My concern at the moment as there is very little description showing what is expected in the syllabus document, so details of what strokes are expected, as it is left to student to choose what they want to do.

Now in the past we had say for 2 star, we had a syllabus, we had Training notes and Assessment Notes, that helped the coach follow something. Sure us old coaches can now run the new awards without referring back to these, but as new paddlers come on board and become coaches, technique will not be a high priority because it is not stated anymore other than when they go for assessment.

It was nice to have Training Notes so remind coaches what standard of technique they should be aiming for.

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Re: Anyone running new Personal Performance Awards?

Post by twopigs » Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:22 am

scottdog007 wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 10:56 am
My concern at the moment as there is very little description showing what is expected in the syllabus document, so details of what strokes are expected, as it is left to student to choose what they want to do.

Now in the past we had say for 2 star, we had a syllabus, we had Training notes and Assessment Notes, that helped the coach follow something. Sure us old coaches can now run the new awards without referring back to these, but as new paddlers come on board and become coaches, technique will not be a high priority because it is not stated anymore other than when they go for assessment.

It was nice to have Training Notes so remind coaches what standard of technique they should be aiming for.
British Canoeing are trusting the coaches to maintain standards ...... If you work backwards from the old 4 and 5 star Leader awards (okay now renamed) the personal skills content is now what is expected for the Leadership Awards and benchmarked as the upper levels of the Personal Performance Awards. So Discover and Explore should approximate to the old 1 and 2 star awards ..... As you say Peter - fine for us "old" - experienced coaches but so not good for newly qualified coaches. I guess clubs and other organisations delivering the new Personal Performance Awards will have to create their own expectations. I know from experience that those standards will differ .... I am sure at my club Explore will be set at a higher standard than the old 2* - not in terms of technical paddling skills but in terms of all those things we do before and after our time on the water!
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Re: Anyone running new Personal Performance Awards?

Post by scottdog007 » Wed Mar 13, 2019 12:22 pm

twopigs wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:22 am
............ I guess clubs and other organisations delivering the new Personal Performance Awards will have to create their own expectations. I know from experience that those standards will differ ....
Yep these PP Awards can very so differently from club to club, or provider to provider which doesn't go well with me. But there is still time for BC to add to the syllabus or give addition coaching notes like the old training and assessors notes.

BC please do this because at the moment you have just killed my enthusiasm as a coach!

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Re: Anyone running new Personal Performance Awards?

Post by andynormancx » Wed Mar 13, 2019 1:24 pm

I did specifically ask Lee Pooley at the conference if there was any more documentation to come. He was very clear that those wordy, kind of vague, documents aimed at the paddler being coached is all we are going to get. I do wish there was something along the lines of the 1*/2* assessors notes.

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Re: Anyone running new Personal Performance Awards?

Post by andypagett » Wed Mar 13, 2019 1:33 pm

I think the closet we are going to get is this - https://www.britishcanoeingawarding.org ... nload/399/ It's a shame we can't get such a thing for all of the points on the awards.

When I have a moment I might copy out the headings from the Discover and Explore documents and write my thoughts under each point, and post them here to see if people agree / disagree

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Re: Anyone running new Personal Performance Awards?

Post by Chris Bolton » Wed Mar 13, 2019 2:11 pm

He was very clear that those wordy, kind of vague, documents aimed at the paddler being coached is all we are going to get
That suggests to me that the vagueness is intentional, so that providers can be flexible in their interpretation to suit the paddler - for example, the ability of younger paddlers to be truly independent. There's a certain logic to that for personal awards; the leadership and coaching awards are intended to demonstrate competence to other people, for their benefit, while the personal award is for the benefit of the paddler alone.

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Re: Anyone running new Personal Performance Awards?

Post by Adrian Cooper » Wed Mar 13, 2019 2:41 pm

For many people wanting to 'get into' canoeing or kayaking, what they are after is the very independence described in the first three awards. They don't need a list of fancy strokes to be performed to perfection, they just need to be able to get about the river in a controlled manner. The awards describe in some detail all of the other elements of this independent approach which one might have felt was missing from the old star awards which seemed to expect that anyone under 3* needed to be guided at every juncture by someone with a string of paper qualifications. I am sure we have all baulked at this attitude in the past. Take for example your average French family hiring a stable boat for the 26km trip down the Ardeche Gorge variously graded from 2-3 for which they have no training and from my experience no skill. Are we saying these are not valid pursuits?

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Re: Anyone running new Personal Performance Awards?

Post by andypagett » Wed Mar 13, 2019 3:13 pm

Adrian Cooper wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 2:41 pm
For many people wanting to 'get into' canoeing or kayaking, what they are after is the very independence described in the first three awards. They don't need a list of fancy strokes to be performed to perfection, they just need to be able to get about the river in a controlled manner. The awards describe in some detail all of the other elements of this independent approach which one might have felt was missing from the old star awards which seemed to expect that anyone under 3* needed to be guided at every juncture by someone with a string of paper qualifications.
Yes indeed! I think that's why I love running these new awards, because it puts so much more focus on that indpedence from the start. Even at Discover award getting people to think about what they bring, what they do before the session (check weather, route etc) is great.

I've done 3 Discover Award sessions with groups of varying ability from 'not quite ready for the award' (IMO) to 'progressing towards Explore'.

I'll share an email I wrote to other coaches after the first 'Discover' session that I ran, and two of the participants' comments:
me wrote: "X" and "Y" collared me at the pool the other week and asked if we could go on the canal for a paddle and to look at the new awards, so we did just that yesterday, looking at the 'Discover' award. It was a good learning experience both for them as new-ish paddlers, and for me and "Z" as coaches, to 'test drive' delivering the new awards.

The day went like this:

We met at a cafe at 9.30am and went through the 'Getting Ready' / 'At the Venue' sections of the award, discussing access, clothing, weather, etc. We then went to the cars to get ready and had a talk about kit (kayaks, paddles, safety kit, other stuff we might take on a canal trip), then got on.

On the water we covered "Which strokes I can use to move forward and steer my craft? How can I stop my craft and return to my start point? How can my positioning in or on my craft affect its performance?"... for this week kept it simple at looked at sweep strokes / foward paddling / stern rudder / backward stroke (for stopping only) / simple draw stroke.

We also had a 'bail and swim', and a discussion about how we can safely get to bank / get out / empty boats etc.

Feedback was that they had a great day out and learned lots. A couple of key bits:
- meeting at the cafe first to talk was very useful (every non classroom course I've been on we've done this and it works really well).
- spending so much time on the 'theory' (in the sense of "what do we need to know to go paddling?" rather than "5 questions gathered around the trailer at the end") was very useful ('Z" said she felt that had been missing from her 'training' / experience.)
X and Y wrote: Prior to this opportunity to consolidate our learning there had been a sense of disconnection. Previous coaching was always good in bite sized portions but we struggled to see the whole picture.

We found this training day to be an excellent way of “joining the dots” and pulling prior learning into perspective. We now have a clearer understanding of specific points to cover in order to progress through the new award system.

The format outlined by Padge in his email was well paced leading us through the sequence of a day on the water from start to finish.
In other words they appreciated me teaching them how to have a good day on the river, rather than just some paddle strokes.

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Re: Anyone running new Personal Performance Awards?

Post by Chris Bolton » Wed Mar 13, 2019 3:30 pm

The day went like this:
Everything there is what you'd do for a paddler who wanted to learn how to go paddling, ignoring awards. Which says to me that the award is doing the right thing - it just (without being too heavy) formalises what a paddler should learn, for those who want it formalised.

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Re: Anyone running new Personal Performance Awards?

Post by twopigs » Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:42 am

And for more indications regarding the new approach I suggest you look at

https://gopaddling.info/category/paddli ... t/Discover

One of our club coaches was having difficulty understanding the difference between Discover and Explore ..... I think this helps!

Go back and look at the eLearning package - it talks about asking the participants what they want out of the award .... with the Star awards I think we assumed they wanted the award - not the learning about paddlesport!
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Re: Anyone running new Personal Performance Awards?

Post by Chalky723 » Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:53 am

andypagett wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 3:13 pm
In other words they appreciated me teaching them how to have a good day on the river, rather than just some paddle strokes.
I'd suggest that if "some paddle strokes" was all people were getting out of your coaching before, that you've been doing it wrong!!!

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