Pre season instructor coach training days

Upskilling you volunteers is key to giving them and your members a rewarding experience

Case study:  Bolton Sailing Club

Bolton Sailing Club, founded in 1952, has a membership of approximately 400 which includes ordinary, family, associate, senior, and junior members.

There is a varied racing and training programme throughout the season which runs from the beginning of April to Christmas. From October a regular series of lectures is held on Friday evenings. Bolton SC relies heavily on volunteers to run the training at the club and realised that many of them may only help on one or two RYA courses a year. Consequently, sometimes instructors were a little rusty and not up to date with current practices at the club when it came to be their turn to run a course.

They realised the need to organise a day to get all the instructors together to catch-up with developments and to brush up on teaching methods. This lead to a pre-season instructor day in March being organised. All volunteers and instructors were invited  and  they  also  invited members  who may  wish  to  become an instructor to come  along and see what instructing involves.

The day was primarily to look at refreshing the teaching methods being used, to update the instructors on resources available from the RYA, to brush up on club practices and also to get some more instructors for the club to increase the pool of volunteers available to pull from.

The day was split into two parts. The morning was a discussion with a loose agenda going over some of the standard RYA teaching methods, ratios, land drills and some of the theory elements of the method. All volunteers were asked to turn up with 2 ideas for light wind / strong wind alternatives and at the end of the day the club had a large resource of ideas for the coming season.

The afternoon was a practical session on the water. This was split into groups - some doing spinnaker work as a bit of personal development with a Regional club coach and the others out on the water in training boats, partly to see what they're like to sail and also to ensure everyone knew how to rig the boats.

As a result of the training day the quality of the training has increased as the volunteers have a better understanding of the equipment and resources available.  The club has also been able to ensure the correct current teaching methods were being used. They have gained three new instructors and are planning an Assistant Instructor course for those interested.  Also, some of the instructors who have taken a bit of a back seat recently are more willing to volunteer as they've seen how much effort is put in to develop members new to sailing.

Learning points:

  • The club realise they should have started doing this year’s ago!
  • Having people from outside the club to help on certain sessions was valuable. A mix of practical & theory sessions catered for everyone.