Cayman Islands Sailing Club Hosts ISAF Level 1 Technical Course For Coaches

The first ISAF Instructor training programme (Level 1 Technical Course for Coaches) was run in the Cayman Islands last week, with eight local candidates taking part and successfully completing the course.

The participants were all residents of the Island: four of them were Cayman nationals, one Jamaican and three British expats. The aim behind the course was to enable the club to employ and use local people rather than using staff from oversees.

Mike Weber, the manager of the sail training programme, is the man who is actively involved in the day-to-day running of the centre and organizes all of the big events from logistics through to raising funds and securing sponsorship. He was instrumental in helping make this course reality, in close liaison with the Cayman National Olympic Committee who applied for the Olympic Solidarity funding that made it happen. Currently the Cayman Islands Sailing Club provides racing and training for the members and also delivers sessions for the local primary schools. Weber is really keen to develop both this and the instructor training further. In addition he is aiming to inspire a new age of instructor development for the Caribbean ISAF Member nations as a group.

“With what I knew of that part of the world I was expecting the course to take a casual approach!” joked ISAF Trainer Tom Wilson. “The week turned out to be very laid back as that is the Cayman way of life, but the level of engagement from the students was impressive. On arriving I had a plan, but as is always the way with these types of course, I did not know the real experience of the candidates. The plan was designed to be dynamic and fluid throughout the week, to make sure that we catered for the student’s, club’s and nations needs, in addition to meeting the ISAF criteria.”

The course started with an assessment of the candidate’s sailing abilities, an introduction to teaching and how it links to sailing. On the second day concepts such as managing groups on the water and how to deliver feedback were introduced. By the third day the candidates had the opportunity to teach some ‘real’ students. They were local primary school children and were being taught to sail as part of the government’s learn to sail initiative. This allowed the students to put all of their newly acquired skills into practice; both the children and the candidates had a great time.

Some more real students from the Talent Identification Programme joined in on day four and spent some time coaching one another. Performance profiling was the aim; identification, correction and development of personal sailing. To finish the day the candidates looked at designing some ‘games with aims’, to bring an element of fun to the teaching. After brain storming some ideas they went afloat, played them and then looked at the teaching aims that could be developed through playing the games. Day five started with a formal assessment to check each candidate’s understanding of background knowledge and theory of teaching sailing. A selection of the students ran some race sessions for the rest of the group. On the final afternoon the instructors ran a ‘Laser Pico regatta’ with a series of normal races and finished with a ‘fun’ race.

“The course was really successful, the journey that we took was really positive,” said Wilson. “We came across many hurdles, but we dealt with them, took the positives and moved on. The eight candidates all now have a solid understanding of teaching and teaching sailing to be able to go and practice. Hopefully this will be the start of the fantastic journey of developing into Cayman Island Trainers and Coaches.”

For more information on how your country can benefit from this and any other ISAF Training Initiatives, please contact Dan Jaspers, ISAF Training and Development Manager.