New skills, new relationships - getting more from instructor training courses

19 Jan 20

4 new SIs from Manor Park SCWhen four candidates from Manor Park SC signed up to do their RYA Senior Instructor qualification in November, it was for all the reasons
you would think - so their club could run more courses
and activities and to boost their own sailing CVs.

But what they got out of that course has ended up being so much more.

The course the four attended took place over two weekends at Manor Park and Carsington SC, 45 minutes up the road. What blossomed by spending time at the different venues were positive future
relationships between local clubs.

As Gary Robertson, Manor Park Training Principal, explains: “The Manor Park team will be visiting Carsington again for some spinnaker sailing in the spring, with other attendees joining us too, and a few will now be coming back to Manor Park for the OnBoard Development Day the RYA are running at our club in March.

"Not only have all our instructors picked up all the required skills to be Senior Instructors, the course has been a great pathway in opening up communication between clubs.”

Twelve candidates took the course, from Manor Park, Carsington, Greensforge and Swarkestone sailing clubs, with around half in their late teens/early 20s.

For some it was the first time they had sailed on water as big as Carsington, while not many had previous experience sailing with symmetrical spinnakers too. One throwaway comment in a discussion session opened the door for that to change beyond just those on the course.

Gary continues: “Someone said something like ‘Wow what a brilliant piece of water you’ve got ’and Paul (Hickman), from Carsington said ‘Come up!’ and that was it. We swapped WhatsApp and Facebook contacts, now we’re firming up plans for us to go there to get more symmetrical spinnaker experience and them to come to us for the OnBoard Development Day. A number of other candidates are coming too.

“One discussion point was on trying to get inter-club activities going. But that can be a logistical nightmare as you start having to move boats and that sort of thing. But Carsington have the boats and such a friendly attitude it becomes much easier.

“We’re also talking about if we might be able to take some of our juniors up there to get a feel for sailing on a bigger piece of water and you never know, we could end up getting a junior inter-club series, or something like that, going in the future.”

Paul continued: “Gary and his team made us feel very welcome when we attended the first weekend of the course at Manor Park. We very much appreciated the complementary food and drink, especially the bacon sandwiches on arrival. We have made new friendships I’m sure will last a long time. We've agreed to host a junior group from Manor Park and make the return trip with some of our juniors in the course of this year."

This was one of two SI courses that ran in the Midlands in the autumn, resulting in an awesome 22 new SIs qualifying in the region. The other course was shared between Rutland SC and Welland YC (see photo below).

The Midlands SI cohort at Welland YC in December 2019
Gary and Paul agreed the balance of the group – the younger instructors inspiring the older ones with their creativity and the older ones providing the experience for the younger instructors to learn from – meant everyone fed off each other. That environment enabled conversations about the future to then evolve.

Paul added: “The mixture of ages and experiences of the candidates on the course was brilliant and I certainly learnt a lot from all the other candidates, as well as the coaches.”

Gary concludes: “For those who didn’t have much symmetrical spinnaker experience, the course was a great opportunity to learn from the explicit knowledge of those candidates who did. To be able to follow up and independently take that learning further thanks to the new relationships between clubs is really positive.

“I’ve been to plenty of events like the Instructor Training Days where you meet lots of people but don’t really follow things up. But this was different. I hadn’t thought about this being a potential course outcome at all, but it’s really promising.”