E1: – Three Pillars of Expert Riding

Update: I have Just recorded a Video which talks about this a bit more.

Hi Everyone.
I’ve been after my BKSA Coaching Qualification for a few years now and this will be the second time round that I will apply. I failed last time because I was not a registered BKSA school and as a result I was told that I should wait and reapply later. So here we go again and in order to get it I have to fulfil a few different criteria.

Firstly I have to be able to actually coach people in what they want to learn, and for me i’m interested in the freestyle side of things.

Secondly I have to be able to demonstrate an Expert level of riding.

I guess the reason that there are these two criteria is because a coach is not just someone that encourages and fosters improvement and participation in the sport but also must be able to understand and teach the more subtle and complex parts of the sport. Coaching is not just about teaching it’s about representation.

Am I Ready to be a coach?
Well unfortunately that decision is not up to me, but last time I applied the answer was no, however some time has passed and a lot has changed. If you look at the first criteria I believe I meet that and more. I definitely have a drive to increase awareness and participation in the sport. I have organised countless meets, comps and activities for my Kitesurfing Club and my School. I also firmly believe that I have an affinity for understanding how kitesurfing works and how the progressions within freestyle affect each other. All tricks are related in some form or another and it is amazing how fast you can progress if you can just see the problem from a different angle, or rather if you look at every trick it has a set of components that if broken down make everything a step by step progression. One of the things that I absolutely love about this sport is that no matter how much you learn, there’s still more on the horizon.

But now onto the more difficult part of the equation, can I demonstrate an expert level of riding? Well again that depends on who you ask. I can do a lot of really fancy stuff. I can back to wrapped, railey to blind, s to blind, toeside FS 3, I can jump pretty high and I can throw down some pretty dope kiteloops, but is it an expert level?

So what does make an expert level rider?
This is so hard, like really really hard to define. If you look at kitesurfing in general then yes i’m definitely an experienced rider. I can and have survived freak storms, all kinds of gear breakages, witnessing other riders injuring themselves and have given first response. I regularly make the decision to teach or not and have successfully taken care of hundreds of students. I have taught and ridden in many different locations all over the world in almost every condition. I have ridden literally 50+ kites and almost as many boards. I can repair and replace my own kit, but all of this isn’t enough, I have to be able to demonstrate an expert level of riding in FREESTYLE.

And if i’m really honest with myself no, I wouldn’t consider myself an expert at freestyle, I consider myself at the top end of advanced.

So here’s the problem.
1) Do I consider myself a good representative for the sport, someone who encourages and fosters community, participation, learning and above all fun. Absolutely.

2) Do I consider myself an expert at FREESTYLE? Well, in short, No. To say I was an expert is to say I know it all, and I certainly don’t. That would be like saying I have completed kitesurfing and I certainly haven’t.

Do you need to be an expert to coach?
Again this question is super hard because yes, of course you need to know what you are doing, but then again no because most coaches are never as good as the people they teach. Coaching is not necessarily about being able to “do”, it’s about being able to encourage and guide others that want to “do” as safely and as informatively as possible. This is where I get stuck, hands down I could teach someone to Back Mobe or S-Mobe or any of the others, but can I do them? the answer is no. At the moment i’m stuck, I can land all of these things but to “wrapped” i.e. without an air-pass. Which sucks because i’d love to be able to do it but at the moment they still evade me.

Having said all that, I understand the fundamentals of the pass, and when wakeboarding can smash them all out, but kitesurfing offers the extra challenge of not knowing exactly what’s going to happen all the time, unlike the cable, same speed same takeoff, no need to worry about the kite.

One last thing to consider is what type of coach I want to be. I’ve got no grand plans on teaching the next Yuri or Hadlow, my plans are much more grass roots. I want to teach the young and the not so young. I want to help coach the 12 year olds and the 45 year olds into starting and progressing through the freestyle discipline. I want to encourage and foster riders at the beginning of their career as a freestyle rider, not at their pinnacle. There are and will always be people far more qualified than I that can and will continue to teach the best in the world. But who’s looking out for those that want to start their first tentative steps into kiteloops, or unhooking?

That’s me and for that, I’m think i’m really well qualified.

What would I do if I were a coach.
To put it succinctly: I would go and get my AALS Qualification and then I would start work on creating Grom Club as well as an Adult Improvers Club. Both would be cheap as chips to participate in, with the aim of making intermediate coaching affordable and obtainable for those that are interested in Cornwall.

So what now?
Well here’s the plan. I’m going to send this in to the BKSA as my application essay and fingers crossed they’ll be like “Bro, we’d love you to be a coach.” The reality though is that most likely they will say no come back when you can actually the “Expert” stuff.

Hmmm, sounds like a challenge to me! And if you’ve ever read one of my posts before, I do love a challenge!

So first off we need to define the parameters.

What is an Expert Level of Freestyle?
I think it comes down to 3 things.
1. Be able to pass the bar. (Mobes, Blind Judge, KGB, Kiteloop 3)
2. Be able to Jump Really High (10m+)
3. Megaloop (If you can jump more than 10m then you should probably throw down, it would be irresponsible not to)

How long do we have?
1 Year. (Wether i’m successful this year or not, by Oct 19 I want these tricks down.)

How am I going to do it?
1. Practice
2. Strength and Conditioning
3. Expert Advice

Okaaaay.
Stay tuned! Should be fun, terrifying, painful, rewarding, WORTH IT.

Ep: 1 – The Three Pillars of Expert Riding