We were very kindly helped by our friend Eleanor MacDonald from the Inverness Club who did a wonderful job of finding us some people to coach. Thank you!
Our first hurdle of the morning was getting from Nairn, where we had been put up by Steve and Mags, to Inverness where we were doing our coaching. Mackayak makes use of the Young Drivers of Canada award NK driving The A96
Justin, who was at the L2 day with us on Saturday, had by this point asked to join in so we were able to get access to the Scout Hut for shelter and warm drinks using his keys.
We were surprised to find that 4 brave souls had turned up at the Basin ready to be coached and were even more impressed when one rang to say she was coming across town in a taxi because her car had frozen shut.
We split the day into 4 sessions, giving all three of us a chance to coach. I started off by talking about paddling forward in a tandem boat, thinking mainly about shaft angle, blade exit and trunk rotation. When we started to get cold, we all headed in doors with our paddles to recap what we had done on the water. Andy the Canoe Ninja in his getaway vehicle
After a few minutes break, Justin took over and started his session on turning a tandem boat from the comfort of the Hut. We then all headed outside where the heavens opened! Justin talked about using sweep strokes, draw strokes and prys to help turn the boat when static before talking a little about turning on the move.
Justin coaches – all that snow had fallen during his session!
After a welcome retreat into the Hut for lunch, I did another session on solo forward paddling. We discussed trim (with no wind) before reiterating what we had learnt in the morning about the forward paddle stroke. Because we were now in solo boats, we introduced the correction phase of the stroke using J stroke and emphasised getting the paddle shaft vertical and parallel to the centre of the boat. We also discussed how edging the boat helps achieve the most efficient forward paddling stroke and there were some lovely edges on show by the end of the session.Mackayak thinks about solo turning
The final session of the day was from Mackayak and was on turning a solo boat. There weren’t enough boats for me so I observed from the shore. Because there was now a stiff breeze, Mackayak talked again about trim. She then moved on to sweep strokes and broke them down into several phases and used self-check and reciprocal coaching. I was too far away to hear exactly what was happening so I can’t give a very good appraisal (sorry). Solo turning with Mackayak
We were really impressed that all four of our coachees had stuck it out for the full day, as the weather was very cold and at times very inclement.
The day was exceedingly useful for us as coaches and was very beneficial to us. We hope that those we coached found the day as equally useful and did, at least, learn something!
Thank you to Sharon, Andy, Angus and Dan for braving the cold and allowing us to get out and coach, to Eleanor for sterling organisational work and to Justin for all his help, especially when we ran off at the end of the day to catch the plane!