Cayman’s young sailors coached well

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

The participants were all Cayman
residents: four of them were Cayman nationals, one Jamaican and three British expatriates.

The successful candidates were Alex
Walton, Chris Delaney, Marina Maffessanti, Rory McDonough, Elena McDonough,
Thomas Hanson, Ronan Jennings and Daniel Ward. The aim behind the course was to
enable the club to employ and use local people rather than using staff from overseas.

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. He was instrumental in helping make this course a 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.

The course turned out to be an
enjoyable experience for instructor Tom Wilson.

“With what I knew of this part of
the world I was expecting the course to take a casual approach!” Wilson said. “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 courses, 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 and
nation’s 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. The ‘real’ students were local
primary school children who 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 practise; both the children and the candidates had a great

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

Day five started with a formal
assessment to check if each candidate understands the 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.

As Wilson states, the course now allows Cayman
to have many teachers in the sport.

“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
practise. Hopefully this will be the start of a fantastic journey of developing
Cayman’s trainers and coaches.”

For more information about learning
how to sail or about learning how to instruct please contact Mike Weber at [email protected]