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My Pathway to Coaching

My name is Isaac and I have a huge passion for paddling, which I want to give back so more people can enjoy the sport.

I recently became a Paddlesports Instructor, and after alot of practice, patience and dedication (along with the help of Alex) I managed to gain the necessary qualifications to be able to run taster sessions and begin my journey to becoming a fully qualified coach.

The first time I paddled, I was around 7 years old at YMCA day camps and I must admit I was petrified, so much so that I clung onto the pontoon for most of the session. However, I've come along way since then and I'd like to share that journey with you.

After gaining British Canoeing qualifications (paddle power and discover), at Gosport Scout Kayaking I realised paddling was something I wanted to do forever and choosing a route to continue on was quite easy. Even after spending 2 years as a Junior Instructor (an in-house version of the paddlesport instructor course) at Gosport Scout Kayaking, the idea of taking the BC Paddlesport Instructor Award was still quite daunting as I was very young. In fact I took the course the weekend after my 14th birthday. Knowing that I might be one of the youngest people on my course, it was rather nerve racking. Whilst on the course, alongside adults twice my age (and older) and size, I still got the chance to practice running my own sessions. At first, teaching adults was slightly overwhelming but they listened to what I was saying and respected my authority. This was one of the great things about the Instructor Award, it didn’t matter how old you were or how good you were at paddling, everyone got the chance to share their ideas and learn something new in a safe environment.

As a result of this journey, I'm exited to tell you that I'll be working for Prime Paddling this summer! In addition to working along side this amazing team, I hope to gain a wealth of knowledge and experience so that I can fill out my coach logbook and become a paddle coach in the future.

Although I have already gained a lot of experience, I'm still nervous about starting my own coaching this summer. The fact that I'm still so young and I have so far to go can be scary at times as I don't want too make too many mistakes. And I'd like to impress the big bosses. Also, I'm worried that people may not take me seriously enough, due to being young and not the tallest of teenagers, people may dismiss my qualifications and decide they know better than me but the idea of this makes me evermore determined to prove people wrong and thrive in paddlesports. The start of working at Prime Paddling is right around the corner and due to lockdown my paddling may be a bit rusty. Luckily, with the upcoming coaching induction and skill refresher sessions we have booked in, I’m sure I will find my feet again quickly.

The road to becoming an instructor did have a few bumps for me, for example completing the foundation safety and rescue course appeared impossible at the start as I knew I would have to be able to rescue people far, far bigger than me but still be able to perform the rescues. It turned out it wasn't too difficult. The course gave us strategies that allow me to rescue all kinds of crafts and people with ease. With a little practise, I passed and have now taken away many tips and tricks to help me in the future.

Another struggle, for me, was the British Canoeing Membership portal and registering for the course. Firstly, I also struggled to get hold of my British Canoeing details in order to book the courses. Next, we had to make sure we had all the prerequisites and then register online.

The How to Get Qualified Guide was a big help for this. Here is a Link.

Once we had all this in place, the rest was easy - plain sailing in fact. I attended my course and at the end after the assessment gained my certification.

I'm so excited to start working this summer because I enjoy teaching and having the opportunity to share my passion. I look forward to meeting so many families and helping them have a great summer - full of good memories of course. My aim over the summer is to improve my instructing technique, for example use the question method of teaching to help promote thinking with students and to be able to adapt my lessons so that students have a more bespoke experience that helps them on on more personal level, so that I'm more prepared for the next step in my journey; I can't wait to be getting out there and begin learning from the best while simultaneously gifting my knowledge to our customers.

I would like to thank all the leaders from GSK for inspiring me and teaching me all that they know. And a big thanks to Alex, Director of Prime Paddling, for mentoring me through the whole process helping me achieve some much, in so little time. I can't wait to see some of you out on the water and if you see me out and about please feel free to say hello!

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