Wednesday, September 15, 2010

BCU Assessment Weekend

The weekend saw a number of candidates put themselves up for assessment - Simon, Rich and Chala had decided to complete their BCU Level 3 Coach (Sea) award, whilst Alex and Marc where taking the 4* Leadership (Sea) award. 

To achieve the current BCU Level 3 Coach qualification (not to be mistaken for the new BCU / UKCC Level 3), a candidate is assessed on their ability to delivery more sophisticated and perhaps more individualised coaching to a group within a specific environment, in this case the sea. There are elements of leadership, group management and risk awareness on test also. If successful, a BCU Level 3 Coach (Sea) can work in moderate water conditions on the open ocean (including launching and landing in surf) and can assess 1, 2 and 3 star awards. For reference, this award will no longer be assessed after December 2010.

In the case of the 4* award, whilst a key component is the ability to demonstrate paddle skills in a linked and fluid manner, sound leadership is variety of situations is the foremost issue under examination. The 4* is an ideal award for those paddlers who are leading club trips, and is a prerequisite to completing the BCU Moderate Water Endorsement.

The first day saw Rich, Simon and Chala work with a group of students from a wide range of paddling backgrounds who had volunteered their time for the day. All three were given the opportunity to demonstrate their coaching abilities using Trearddur Bay as a classroom, which has numerous sheltered coves along with islands and inlets that allow for progressive activities and application of skills. Also, each of the candidates completed a beach based presentation, varying from knots for sea kayakers to tidal planning, that made for interactive sessions of a different kind for the students.

Rich and Marc spent the day in the company of Nick Cunliffe, also launching from Trearddur Bay but setting out on a journey that would assess their primary paddling and leaderships skills. This team had an enjoyable time shaping a course out to Rhoscolyn Head and back with a good slight to moderate sea state and ideal wind conditions.

The second day saw all the candidates gather at Cemaes Bay with the explicit intention of looking at their ability to assess risks, uphold their duty of care and to manage groups on the water as leaders. This day also examines a candidate's ability to deal with incidents, both minor and significant, that might arise when leading a trip. There a further opportunity to ensure personal paddling performance is of a high standard, especially checking manoeuvring skills and close quarter techniques which enable a leader to respond more rapidly to issues as well as assessing a candidate capacity to self rescue and eskimo roll.

Both assessments need to be a thorough and fair exploration of a candidate's skills, knowledge and understanding of the role of a coach, and that of a leader. Looking at both practical and theoretical dimensions that are inherent within the awards. On this occasion, I am pleased to say that everyone was successful and went away with big smiles.

Get in touch if you are interested in completing any of these awards or just wish to look at your skills development in a boat.

More pictures of the weekend can be found here

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