It's been a busy month for myself and the Midlands sailing development team as we have been going round the region meeting with our clubs and centres to plan the season.
As always these meetings have left us feeling positive about the potential to get even more people sailing regularly in the region this year, whether through better retaining existing sailors or getting new people into the sport.
However one thing we have been talking to clubs and centres about in our meetings is inspiring more instructors across all discipline so that you can accommodate the people and activities you want.
Over the past couple of years we have seen a decrease in the number of people qualifying as Dinghy, Powerboat and Windsurfing instructors across the region, and you don't need me to spell out the implications of this on attracting and keeping people in the sport.
Think about the time constraints many of your volunteers have now. Just as sailing is competing with a million other things to get people sailing in the first place, so those factors are also pulling on your volunteers.
Whereas 10 years ago a person may have been able to dedicate 10 hours a week to volunteering, now many can do just a few hours. The logic says, therefore, you need more volunteers than ever but, as we have seen, the numbers going through instructor training are going down.
The mix of people doing instructor training is also not where we would want it to be, with women one group underrepresented in instructing too.
So what can we do? Well the great news is that February's Midlands Instructor Training Day sold out earlier than ever before, so the appetite is clearly still there amongst our existing instructor base for personal skill development to take back to their clubs and centres and use elsewhere in the sailing world too.
But what about inspiring new instructors?
At our recent Midlands Training Team update, some really good ideas were suggested, most notably the concept of introducing Aspiring Instructor Days in each of the disciplines and at Senior Instructor level too. This concept has already been used successfully for aspiring Dinghy Coaches, so we know the model works, and would explain what is involved and coach personal skills up to pre-entry/PISA standard.
Other ideas included...
- Promote the AI role and run more AI courses
- Join clubs together to share the burden of running courses
- Organising regional instructor courses individuals from clubs/centres can access
- Continue to work on increasing the number of boaters in general so there is a wider pool of potential instructors
- Make grants available for potential instructors who are prepared to work with disadvantaged or minority groups.
- Explore flexible delivery options – split over evenings/weekends
- Explore e-learning options
If you have demand for more instructors and/or have a group of potential instructors why not get in touch about setting up an Aspiring Instructors Day at your club?
Anyone who wants to develop their instructor skills, whether existing or potential new instructors, can join our RYA Midlands Instructor Facebook group where courses and good practice ideas are shared, while all forthcoming instructor training courses are also advertised on the RYA Midlands website. We currently have 2 x Dinghy SI courses available, 1 x keelboat SI course and 1 x Windsurf SI course. Links to both of these websites can be found at the top of the page.
In addition I am also really keen to setup a series of Instructor Skills Development Days to run throughout the year at locations across the region so that skills once developed don't fade. If you would like to host a day like this and can provide three or more double-handed training dinghies and at least one safety boat for the day then please email or call me.
It's one thing clubs and centres having enough instructors, it's entirely another those instructors being of the quality required. This includes awareness of disability and hopefully you will have already seen the story with our Midlands Disability Development Officer, Brett Cokayne, on why disability awareness training matters to you in this newsletter. The link is at the top of this page if not.
This quest to reverse the downturn in instructor training is an ongoing process but it is a priority too so watch this space for updates on the all important details. If you've got any questions or ideas in the meantime I'd be delighted to hear from you. My contacts can be found via the link at the top of this page.
Have you seen the SocialB webinars on how to improve your online communications?
The SocialB workshops on creating good club websites and using Facebook to attract new members were very popular at the RYA Midlands Affiliated Clubs Conference, as were the follow up stories in the last two RYA In The Midlands newsletters (you can read those stories at the top of the page if you missed them).
Did you know SocialB have created a series of short, easy to follow webinars exclusively for the RYA to help you improved your club's online communications and marketing.
The first two - 'What to post on Facebook' and 'Being found online' - appeared in last month's Club Room enewsletter can be found by clicking on the link at the top of this page. Make sure you're subscribed to Club Room to get the next webinar as and when it's launched. They could help you turn window shoppers into members at a click of a keyboard so they're definitely worth a view.
Deadline looming for Racing Coach Level 3 course
The Racing Coach Level 3 course has been relaunched for club coaches. It is aimed at experienced Club Racing coaches who are keen to develop their coaching and reflect on the coaching strengths and weaknesses by a 360 review. The application deadline is 6 March 2017.
Coaches are invited to attend a selection weekend at Rutland SC in April, where they will receive feedback on their coaching, and theoretical knowledge and all candidates will leave with a clearer understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. The course will then be over two further weekends.
Venue and Dates:
- Selection Weekend – Rutland Sailing Club 22nd/23 April
- RCL3 Weekend 1 – June 2017 (TBC)
- RCL3 Weekend 2 – September 2017 (TBC)
The RCL3 is for experienced coaches and should not be taken straight after completing the RCL2 course. Before they consider applying for the RCL3 course, coaches should do at least two years more coaching on a regular basis after the RCL2 course. More information can be found by clicking at the link at the top of this page.
I look forward to meeting lots of you in Derby on the 17 February for “An Evening with Ian Walker.” If you have't got your tickets for this event yet don't miss it. Full details and booking can be found at the top of this page.
For those coming along to the Instructor Training Day at Rutland in a couple of weeks and/or anyone attending the RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show on 4-5 March, where I will be on the RYA stand on both days, it will be great to meet you all and say hello. I can't believe it will be March the next time I write a Gareth's Gossip! The season is well and truly here!
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