Further Thoughts

Further Thoughts

Paul Arden | Wednesday, 5 October 2022

Been uber busy with house and getting settled, but things should quiet down after falling some dead trees tomorrow, and bedroom furniture arriving! Woo how! Still on subfloor, but at least we can get clothes out of boxes. Then have to move the rounds from the felled trees, split and stack. The fun never ceases. Have stuff to write, but little time this last week. Could you reprint a previous FP you’ve written? A few months back you wrote one about coaching. I wanted to read it but life got in the way. I’d love to read it now and any other thoughts you’ve had about it.


Oh the joys of moving house!!

I think the article in question might have been this one:

Further thoughts? Well I've come to the conclusion that people are very odd sometimes and instructors are no different! You can tell someone that something works and they'll disbelieve you because they have something else in mind. I suppose that's a very human trait; you also find it in religion! And good luck at changing those beliefs!! 

Many years ago I took something Jon Allen told me to heart. Jon was one of the first guys I really trained distance casting together with. Jon had been an outstanding archer in the past, and told me he was the first Englishman in an International competition to shoot clean bullseyes throughout the match (apart from Robin Hood). He was undoubtedly highly competitive and he found the same competitive urge in flycasting. It turned out he had a brilliant "Coach's Eye" as well and I learned a great deal from him.

Anyway, Jon told me something about the Americans, for whom he had great respect. He said if you told them that by covering their arrows in horse manure they would fly straighter, they would try it. 

I decided to take this to heart myself; to try, test and explore everything.  I never actually intentionally covered my flyline in horse manure but I have unintentionally tried both sheep and elephant dung. I don't think it's that difficult to try everything but apparently it might be. How important is it? I don't know, but I think that I am much better for it.  

For those who have been around Sexyloops for 20 years or more, then you'll remember Berlin's "Whiplash" (and "wave-packet" theory). And while I still fundamentally disagree with parts of it, that didn't stop me thoroughly exploring the casting techniques involved. Whiplash, which we now more commonly call "pull-back", now makes up a significant part of my casting and teaching. And actually if it wasn't for "Stopless" I believe it is what we would be doing for competition delivery casts. 

Jon once told me that he was getting good results teaching the Double Haul from the very outset to complete beginners. So I tried it. That didn't work out quite as well for me – that's for sure!! It did however pave the way to teaching it earlier on in a student's progress. 

Every student, every lesson, every cue, every analogy, every cast... is an experiment. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. We learn from both outcomes, or indeed the more complicated shades of grey that usually occur. I regard teaching to be like a walk in a park. You have destinations in mind where you want to visit - the duck pond, the swings, the shagging tree, the picnic tables and so on. But to get to each destination – and even the order of destinations – is a vast array of different possibilities. For example this time I'm going to the duck pond, via the coffee shop's back door, we are going to jump over a 6 foot wall, crawl blondfold through the herb garden and finally take one of the go-carts down the hill. We may get wet on arrival. 

I think that's really important. We are not just aiming for our students to become robust fly casters; we also want ourselves to be robust teachers. And the more possible routes to the shagging tree that we have, the easier it will be to get there when a herd of buffalo are blocking the usual pathway. 

Ah one other thing. To really teach someone effectively, I believe we need to think like they do, not like we do. A good instructor is like a chameleon and can adapt to the way his/her student thinks. The one who needs to break down the barriers is the one giving the lesson, ie us!!

So there you go Carol! If it was a different Front Page you had in mind then oops! I'm going fishing. Good luck moving in! :))

Cheers, Paul