Wish List for an Instructor

The topic for this latest Dog Agility Blog Action day is What Makes a Good Coach.  I have to admit that I wasn't too inspired by this topic.  Unlike many people who only have maybe one or two options available to them, I live in a major metropolitan area where I have several fabulous instructors to choose from.  Unfortunately, my financial situation is gloomy and we manage to play the sports I love purely through a work in exchange for classes system at the local club.  I really do love my current instructors dearly but beggars can't be choosers.  Of course a great instructor doesn't always directly correlate between national events won and their ability to help others.

 So here are some of the things I've treasured dearly about my current and past instructors and some things I wish we had a bit more of.

1.  Working with each team's chosen confines and strengths.  I love it when an instructor who doesn't personally do blind crosses is able to give advice on where to properly put one in for a team who utilizes them instead of chatizing a team for a poorly executed one.  Or helping someone figure out how to handle a sequence if they have physical confines.

A good coach should be helping the team in front of them, not just try and make little models of their own handling.

2. Pushing each team to try something different or just with more speed, greater distance, and tighter turns.  While a coach does need to respect a team's choice of handling system, everyone needs encouragement to be better handlers.  I have been disappointed with some instructors since it seemed like just getting through the course cleanly was the only goal.  Push me, criticize me!  I expect to sometimes be upset when leaving a lesson from a great coach as I'm pushed beyond my comfort zone.  But as long as I'm not pushed outside of my personal philosophy of training I'm ok with that!

3.  Staying on top of current trends and new techniques, but not changing everything overnight based on the latest seminar.  Agility is evolving quickly and it can be hard to not only be knowledgeable about every new thing but also adept at teaching it to others.  But I think making an investment in a few seminars is a must for any good instructor.  On the other side, someone who rushes home and flips everything upside down for their students, after each new seminar, is only going to confuse their students and result in conflicting philosophies.

Kathy  – ( September 5, 2012 at 6:22 PM )  

Boy great post and my pet peeve has always been where the only goal is the almighty Q and not pushing yourself or your team to improve , and how could anyone that really has a love for the sport and for training not keep up with the new trends, even if they choose to handle them differently but just to be aware of what new is going on. FANTASTic POST, thanks! Kaqthy with Liz/Breeze/Cricket

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