Monday, March 28, 2011

a week of sunshine...

Paddling the West Coast from Niarbyl Beach
Two wild Mallard ducks 'landed' on the beach whilst we were having a break, and waddled right up to us, providing even more discussion on the Intermediates paddle in the afternoon. Earlier on, before the morning trip for beginners and improvers...
Ian Moon stops for a chat - on way to Paddle round the Isle of Man over 2 days

Plenty of seals by 'seal cave' and great to see Gerry back on the water :)
Both sessions enjoyed sunshine and plenty of wildlife.

Saturday was a hectic, eventful day. We exibited at the Villa Marina till 3pm.
Isle of Man Tourism 'On Your Doorstep' Exhibition
Our stand was opposite Duke Karting - a business which complements our experiences nicely, especially for Corporate Events and large group bookings from off Island. Then it was off to Ballabrooie, swap into wetsuits, meet the group and head to location.
Coasteering Bday party - Peel Castle route
A really cool time, and Alice joined us for most of the route : )
Happy Birthday Rebecca!

During the Week

Youth Scholarship - North TR 7.
Ran from Ballabrooie - Adventurous Experiences base, the team worked on problem solving on the River Neb, with the addition of a certain amount of useful kit.
On the Tuesday, the South TR 7. training session covered kayak safety and rescue scenarios in Port Erin Bay.

Youth Scholarship - Parents Meeting
Having completed 7 weeks of training, all students on the Youth Scholarship - Development and Leadership Program now have an understanding of what it is about.
 As part of the program, we scheduled a meeting for all parents to meet us and discuss the training program, expectations, funding the expedition summer 2012, and any other points. A very positive meeting, and all students will now receive an email sumarising what was discussed and the program going forward.

The journey continues for those who wish to meet the challenge

Friday, March 25, 2011

26 minutes with Jurg Gotz

I was invited to the new Olympic Venue - Lee Valley White Water Centre by Jurg Gotz Head Coach - Canoe Slalom Olympic Podium Programme, this week.

Whilst receiving a personal tour round the venue (opening to the public from Easter) we discussed the project I’m working on. We then had a formal ‘interview’ where Jurg shared his thoughts on Coaching and Leadership - the subject I’m exploring as part of my Level 5 Coach development program. 26 minutes of recording time, conveying 20 years of coaching experience. Jurg then took me to meet other coaches in his team and observe them working with their athletes (our future 2012 Olympic medal winners).

I'm in a very exciting stage of coach development, where the learning curve is accelerating upwards, and each piece of information is confirming beliefs and developing ideas. Having mulled this over - literally since university, the concept for my ‘study’ finally changed into coherent words last year.

I have had the fortune to be helped along this pathway by inspirational and influential characters to whom I attribute much of the work that has already taken place inside my head, reflecting upon experiences and communication of ideas.

Firstly being introduced to paddling by Andy North, at Niarbyl on the West coast Isle of Man, and being greatly inspired by his ability to think 'outside the box' and his many journeys of exploration, whilst I was gaining skills in the local Sea Scouts. Andy has remained a friend throughout and now also forms part of the coaching team at Adventurous Experiences.

Nigel Dennis became my mentor, friend, coach, employer and above all a remarkable leader, during my university days and beyond. His outstanding leadership skills and positive outlook are responsible for many of the prominent successful paddlers on the sea kayaking scene today. The honours part of my Degree was a project on motivation, particularly with the context of paddlesport. The process of reading for my degree began the chain of physical and cognitive events which are now culminating in the present project.

Myself and four of my colleagues who also trained under Nigel Dennis, completed the British Canoe Union (BCU) Level 5 Coach Training in Northern Ireland in 2008. It was at Tollymore National Outdoor Centre for NI that I met Oisin Hallisey and Mike McClure, who were to become my tutor / mentors for this next stage. Both have become good friends of mine, with Mike playing an active role in my coach development.

My afternoon with Jurg Gotz confirmed what I had not fully put to words previously, but sub-consciously has been working away. It has reinforced the confidence that we deliver an outstanding product at Adventurous Experiences, only now I understand a little more as to why.

Our Staff Training program, the Adventure Club, our Youth Scholarship - Development and Leadership Program, Corporate Events and Leadership Training, and our many adventures we share in every day.
The discussion with Jurg will also form a pivotal part in my project.

To everyone who has contributed their time, knowledge and experience.
Many Thanks.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Training & Coaching

Youth Scholarship - North TR 6.
Thursday's Youth Scholarship training session took place around Peel Castle, beginning with incident scenarios on dry land, moving onto the water, and then whilst on the move.

Sunday's coaching sessions
met at Port Erin beach, with the morning session stlitting into two working groups, practicing personal skills.

The afternoon Intermediate session warmed up in the bay, then paddled to the Sound for some moving water skiills, followed by incident management, finishing with all manner of wet skills in the bay.

CANI  Paddlefest
The Canoe Association of Northern Ireland hosts an annual 'Paddlefest', changing locations each time.
This weekend it was based at Tollymore National Centre - recently refurbished and extensivly rebuilt. It is a stunning building, set in the backdrop of the Mourne Mountains.
Watching the sun come up over the Isle of Man and the Lakes was a great way to begin the day.
more to follow...

a visit to Ireland

Setting off from Strangford (beside the ferry) heading North with the tide for a bit, watching the numerous formations of pale-bellied Brent geese passing by.
Mike invited me to stay for a few days before the Paddlefest, and I willingly accepted!
Strangford Loch is full of wildlife, and a cracking place to paddle, with tide moving a bit quicker at the narrows (even on stunning days like this one) providing moving water to play on.
The turbine pictured above has two props, and is an interesting place to be when the tide is running.

 On way along the coast we happened upon a group Coasteering, and stopped for a chat before continuing.
 After a break at Ardglass we headed back, finishing at Strangford at sunset.
Many thanks Mike & Cheryl for all your excellent hospitality, again :)
We arrived at Tollymore National Outdoor Centre on the Friday, ready for Paddlefest to kick off that evening...

Youth Scholarship - South TR 6.
 Tuesday's training was a relay of hiking and sea kayaking, swapping over on a remote beach.
As always, an exciting affair : )

Monday, March 14, 2011

meanwhile, back on the Isle of Man...

...spring is awakening new energy, even in the often sleepy members of the cat family at Ballabrooie. 

Youth Scholarship - TR 5.
As it was pancake Tuesday, John organised a bake-off on the beach, practicing camp cooking...
The winning team are awarded the whisk by Tony.
The results were very impressive, as was the usual motivation and willingness to learn.

Thursday's training session took place up Peel Hill, (in breezy conditions) with the North training group.
They practiced casualty care, improvised rescue, navigation and learning about the varying skills within the group...
Can't wait to see everyone at this week's training sesions. We've a few exciting things in mind.

George & Lisa were married on Saturday
The rivers team got back on Saturday morning,
in time for training sessions in the morning, and George & Lisa's wedding at Castle Rushen in the afternoon!
A really enjoyable time : )

Sunday's Adventure Club - Training sessions
Running from Peel, Fenella Beach - where there was varying conditions, perfect for introduction to surf, different sea states and core skills in the sheltered bay on the other side of Peel Castle.
The morning Improvers had a lot of attention from the curious seals folowing the kayaks about the bay.

The afternoon Intermediate training was spent practicing incident scenarios and personal skills in the surf zone. Another physical day on the water!