Wednesday, September 5, 2012

There are Instructors,There are Coaches...And then there are TEACHERS

I think that these roles can be changed in and out depending on the situation...

And for me it breaks down to a basic difference between instructor and coach.

Instructor is there to show you HOW to do agility, teaching the basics, the obstacles the crosses etc.  Foundations, etc etc...kind of like a cooking show on Food Network.

Coach is there to help you BECOME A BETTER HANDLER, the mental side, increasing confidence, sometimes telling you things you don't want to hear.  Keeping you moving forward and growing. I am calling it the Dr. Phil side of agility....

People can be both, personally I hope many people are both. Because without one, or the other, something is going to be lacking. These people I consider TEACHERS. And that is what I am looking for.

To ME, good Teachers can:

Go between temperament types, and push each for what they want. Some people don't like being pushed hard, some do. A good teacher can adjust to each students needs...

Is not afraid to have their students go to other people, BUT...does care where their students go, not because of ego or pride, but wants their students to get feedback and things to HELP them. I see nothing wrong with going to other people, but to see a student come back to me with a HUGE amount of confusion is tough...and can often lead to setbacks. Working with people that are similar or at least in the same general area, really helps. 

Has a wide variety of experience working with different breeds.

Shares their knowledge (Believe it or NOT...this is something I see)...and if they don't know. They can find out or send you to someone who does!

Is willing to listen to your concerns and adjust accordingly.

Can tell you the tough things...which sometimes won't be what you want to hear, but is for the best for you and your dog.

Wants their students to be better than them, (I actually had a very well known local trainer tell me "Well why should I keep helping you? You are beating me!!")...that was the last time I took a lesson with her. I would be THRILLED if my students beat me!!!!! That means I am DOING MY JOB!

Can understand and work with each individuals learning styles...VERY IMPORTANT.

Builds you up...if you feel totally defeated or frustrated after every lesson? That is a huge red flag. Sure some lessons go better than others, but overall?

If there are disagreements, then the teacher needs to be accepting of the path you have chosen. Regardless of agreement ;-) Please remember the teacher wants to best for you and your taking all advice should be a consideration. But if you decide a different path, explain why and your instructor should be accepting.

If you have mobility issues, work with an instructor that HAS worked with those types of issues...running a dog with a very athletic handler, versus running a dog with a less mobile handler can be VERY different.

Accessibility---does your teacher make themselves available for students questions? Via email, text etc etc..

Ultimately...ARE YOU COMFORTABLE? ARE YOU PROGRESSING? IS YOUR DOG HAPPY? Those are the barometers :)

I am sure there are many more (please add in comments section). But a teacher is GENUINELY INVESTED IN YOUR all aspects, in all areas. They are there when you need them.

The teachers may not be at every trial, or watch every run (if you video I am sure they would love to watch your runs though!!!) or be able to pat you on the back every time you exit the ring, but they are still there with you. 

I would say instructors are great in the beginning....coaches are needed in more advanced situations...but teachers have the best of both worlds :)


Kathy said...

finding a good coach that fits with you is such a wonderful thing ;-) Love your post, wish you lived closer esp talking about the mobility issue s and running a faster dog, I could sure use some help there!!!!!!!! GREAT POST THANKS!!!! Kathy with Liz/Breeze/Cricket

Chris and Ricky said...

Love your post! I also wish you lived closer! :)

Merinda said...

Great post!
I've been reading your blog for quite awhile, love it!
I've mentioned your name to the people down here as someone we should get for a future seminar. Unfortunately, the "Awesome Paws Handling System" seems to be the only thing they want to learn... Why do people get so caught up in that & fail to recognize that a good overall TEACHER can provide much more than relentless drills & rules... :)

Loretta Mueller said...

Thanks everyone :) Merinda--It's OK, I will say I don't subscribe religiously to ONE specific handling system, I work with what people have :) Come on up to MN sometime! I'd love to work with you!