Those considering the RYA Senior Instructor course would do well to read the words below of former SI candidate Ian Munro Ian did the course a few years ago but his insight is just as relevant today. He helps dispel the myths and share the reality of RYA Senior Instructor training. The next Senior Instructor course is on the 14 – 17 April 2017 at Cumbrae for more info click here or give us a call 01475 530 757
“As I travelled to Cumbrae I have to admit to feeling a little apprehensive about the RYA Senior Instructor Training and Assessment that lay ahead. My nervousness was based on anecdotal tails recounting the mercilessness of SI training. I had convinced myself that we would spend the next four days sailing rudderless, and backwards, and with our eyes shut and spinnakers up etc etc I am sure you get the picture, and so it was on the night before the course began I found myself …calming my nerves with a fish supper.
The next morning 13 budding SIs met with their coach / assessors who outlined what lay ahead, and to be honest, this was a fairly pivotal moment in the whole process for me. From the outset, our coaches created a safe, enthusiastic and constructive environment. As a group we even took time to share our hopes and fears for the course, which I think helped put everyone at ease. Now, this is not to say that the next four days were exclusively about pats on the back, massaging egos and giving false praise; instead, honest and insightful advice was given on how to make the SI standard. We were also shown clearly how we would be assessed over the course, and told that any areas of concern would be flagged up early on so that there was time to make amends.
With the scene set, the time had come to get out on the water and lead sessions, sessions which we had been given advance notice of. This was a nice feature of the course, we were fully in the loop and there were no real surprises as to what would be expected of us on a daily basis. Indeed, you always had a wee bit of time to organise your sessions, and drawing on the experience of your fellow candidates was fully encouraged. In practice, building sessions together actually meant that we could develop targeted areas of our own personal sailing as the course progressed.
We soon settled into an established pattern of sailing during the day, and then contributing to candidate led discussions in the evening. The discussions were fantastic: the topics had been carefully selected by our coaches and they provided the perfect framework for candidates to share their varied experiences. I think everyone had their own area of expertise and I certainly learned a lot.
There was a really natural progression throughout the whole course, both in terms of theory and on the water. For example, on the second day we discussed different learning styles, and then built them into our briefs and debriefs. On the water, we started the course in singlehanders, before progressing to doublehanders and then onto performance boats. On the final day we were given a group task.
What ‘made’ the SI training for me was two things. Firstly, the experience, enthusiasm and camaraderie of the candidates: we were very much a team, and whether it be sharing ideas or grabbing a racing mark for a session, we backed each other up. Secondly, the feedback offered by the coaches was first class. Everyone knew where they were at, and were offered specific advice on how to improve. Indeed, as I departed from the course I was genuinely sorry that it was all over, although this did not stop me from grabbing a celebratory ice cream!”
With thanks to Ian Munro