Mike Heritage FFF MCI UK

Fly casting and talking fly casting bollox

KISS

I was just about to post this on the Sexyloops board and thought better of it. I decided here might be a less contentious place for it.

So, here we are chatting away and learning all sorts of stuff about fly casting. All interesting stuff. Some of it way over my head and some I just about get my head around.

 And then it occurs to me that just how much of this information is actually of any practical use. Can I use it when I instruct? No, not really. The last thing you want to do with a beginner is fill their head with jargon. It’s even too much for most intermediates.

 I have struggled enough in the past  trying and get the concept of SLP or a loop over to a student to know that I really shouldn’t be doing it. Explain rod acceleration. Even the experts struggle with that one. Exactly what is constant acceleration? Something that accelerates constantly? Define constant. Is it the same or is it continuous? There you have it, if I don’t understand it how am I supposed to convey the concept to a student in a simple way. It’s just somewhere you don’t want to go. SLP is another concept that people just don’t get, mainly because it is multi- dimensional.

 My friend Mark Surtees has a theory that we should teach non fault casting to beginners. That’s to say we don’t immediately start with a roll cast or pick up and lay down because almost the first thing we have to so in that situation is start correcting them. Marks ideal is to get them doing things that are easily achievable, like wafting the line around while keeping it in tension via the rod tip. We can point out things like, seeing how much easier it is if we don’t use our wrist too much so that we can get them to focus on using their whole arm instead of just their wrist. The theory is to keep telling them ‘great, well done’ rather than ‘no, not like that’.

I would like to see that theory gradually turned into practice, it’s a great concept. A bit idealistic maybe, but I, for one, will be trying my best to work out a way of making it work.

All hobbies and sports have their own language which any of us that take part have to learn. What we tend to forget is the amount of time it took us to learn it and all the mis-understandings that took place while we were learning it. Now we understand it we speak it all the time, even to people who don’t understand the language. Now, when a foreigner comes up and asks you a question in very poor English and it becomes obvious he doesn’t understand your reply what do you do? Say it louder in the hope he will understand it better or revert to sign language and slower speech trying to keep it simple. Do you want them to walk away confused or with the smile of understanding on their face.

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May 25, 2010 - Posted by | fly casting, Flycasting instruction, forum debates, Mike Heritage

16 Comments »

  1. Hi there!

    “Explain rod acceleration. Even the experts struggle with that one. Exactly what is constant acceleration? Something that accelerates constantly? Define constant. Is it the same or is it continuous? There you have it, if I don’t understand it how am I supposed to convey the concept to a student in a simple way.”

    Well, acceleration is a change in velocity; constant acceleration means that velocity changes at a constant rate.
    If from one second to the next the velocity goes like this: 1, 3, 5, 7, 9… acceleration is constant because its value is constant and equal to 2.

    If from one second to the next the velocity goes like this: 1, 3, 6, 10… acceleration isn’t constant since its value is 2, then 3, then 4… those are different values for each instant of the object motion.

    They teach this concept in school to 10 year old children; it can’t be that difficult to grasp, can it?

    Cheers.

    Comment by Aitor | May 25, 2010 | Reply

  2. Hmm, I must have been away that day.

    Comment by Mike Heritage | May 25, 2010 | Reply

  3. Hi Mike, your quite right in what you are saying, the best way of creating success is through praise, keep knocking someome back and they soon become despondant. As a coach in another discipline we have learnt to avoid jargon and techno speak as this only confuses and leaves the candidate contantly questioning the meaning and losing the element of learning. once lost you can bet your boots they will be difficult to get back to the lesson and may even give the sport up as too difficult!I am sorry to disagree with Aitor? talk like that wil alienate your clients, even I had to read it twice before I understood what was being said and I am an engineer? pity a youngster or anyone without the advantage of a specialised education.

    Keep up the good work and hope to get out on the field again

    Regards – Alan

    Comment by Alan | May 26, 2010 | Reply

  4. Alan,
    I don’t use those concepts with my students either.
    What I mean is that, IMHO, a casting instructor must know what acceleration is, just in case an “engineer type” student appears some day.

    Anyway I am really surprised of seeing basic school physics considered an specialized education.

    Regards.

    Comment by Aitor | May 26, 2010 | Reply

  5. Aitor,

    As it happens I do know the mathmatical definition of a constant, however the word is also an adjective that describes something continious, persistant, the same. In that context explain how you can accelerate to a stop, it’s a contradiction. You know full well that many misunderstand constant to mean one speed ,ie, 5 5 5. Just the word accelerate is decription enough in my opinion.

    Comment by Mike Heritage | May 26, 2010 | Reply

  6. Mike,

    First ypu accelerate at a constant rate, and then you decelerate till the rod butt stops. I can’t see any contradiction. Even the Casting Analyzer shows it graphically, so if it actually happens can’t be any contradiction at all.

    Any time you accelerate your car you will stop it eventually, and that doesn’t mean that you can’t accelerate it at a constant rate before stopping.

    Constant velocity means that velocity doesn’t change; constant acceleration means that velocity changes but at a constant rate.
    The problem isn’t in the term “constant”, the problem is that most instructors can’t differentiate between velocity and acceleration, what is uttelry surprising to me.

    Comment by Aitor | May 26, 2010 | Reply

  7. Mike,

    First ypu accelerate at a constant rate, and then you decelerate till the rod butt stops. I can’t see any contradiction. Even the Casting Analyzer shows it graphically, so if it actually happens can’t be any contradiction at all.

    Any time you accelerate your car you will stop it eventually, and that doesn’t mean that you can’t accelerate it at a constant rate before stopping.

    Constant velocity means that velocity doesn’t change; constant acceleration means that velocity changes but at a constant rate.
    The problem isn’t in the term “constant”, the problem is that most instructors can’t differentiate between velocity and acceleration, which is utterly surprising to me.

    Comment by Aitor | May 26, 2010 | Reply

  8. With beginners I don’t use the words speed or acceleration or velocity or anything like it because, whatever they might mean to you or I, it seems to be normally translated as just more power and that poops the cast from the off.

    It semes to be far more effective to use relative terms like faster, slower, more, less, longer, shorter, smoother and, for a beginner, this delivers in practice the idea that they have control over rod and line.

    Having said that, I completely agree with Aitor that as an instructor we should have a complete understanding of these terms even though, personally, I feel increasingly less inclined to use them in the field.

    Comment by Mark | May 26, 2010 | Reply

  9. Mark,
    What I use with beginners is the expression “from slow to fast”.
    Anyway let’s remember that the term “acceleration” is used in one of Gammel’s 5 essentials (proper acceleration is the exact term if I rmember well). IMHO that “proper” has less meaning than “constant” for instructors and students alike.

    Comment by Aitor | May 27, 2010 | Reply

    • Assuming thet the control excersises have gone OK then, if we are trying to get the concept of a stop fixed in the minds of a beginner it seems to help to concentrate the effort on the stop itself rather than the bit between the stops.
      Given that they are going to begin from a stationary rod position and, with a very short line,if you ask them to draw a straight line a half meter or so long with the rod tip and then stop, they will accelerate automatically, stop and get a rudimentary loop which they can see. This gives them a visual objective for each subsequent go and once they have the hang of this you can ask them to lengthen or shorten the line and introduce pauses.
      This delivers the basis for a simple false cast very quickly, you have never had to give them something they can’t do and you don’t have to use any complex concepts or technical jargon. Plus you have delivered achievable stage by stage objectives and they can see that there is a useful end result.

      You can do this by starting with circles and progressively flattening into an elipse but its a bit harder and the results aren’t as consistent.

      Admittedly shortly after this it all goes totally tits up but its a great way to stall the inevitable…. 🙂

      Comment by Mark | May 27, 2010 | Reply

  10. That’s interesting since power application is one of the 5 essentials but the stop isn’t.

    Comment by Aitor | May 27, 2010 | Reply

  11. After reading all the above, I am utterly amazed that you expect the lay person to understand any of it??? it appears we are creating another lawyer type language,

    Comment by Alan | May 27, 2010 | Reply

  12. Don’t worry, I won’t write anymore about such incredibly complicated issues (or any other for that matter). :^)

    My best.

    Comment by Aitor | May 27, 2010 | Reply

  13. I dont think there is anything that we are talking about that would freak out a lay person Alan. I’ve just asked my eight year old what acceleration means and he told me that it means going “faster and faster” which is essentially all it means to most people. The reason I dont use the word is its association with using more and more power which I would prefer them not to apply.

    Yes Aitor it is, its essentialness is not in doubt, but, I don’t want to teach someone to accelerate I want to teach them to stop because its the stops that are most often missing or mistimed. I’d really like to show you all this but it looks like we’re not going to make it over there for a summer break this year and we’re all a bit gutted about that… 😦

    Comment by Mark | May 27, 2010 | Reply

  14. All this just illustrates the problems and highlights my original question ‘what practical use is it?’. Basically all it allows is for instructors to talk to each other. We have to either ignore it or simplyfy it conciderably to be of any use while instructing. I have never had a student who came for a physics lesson. They have all come to learn how to get the fly from here to there nicely. That’s all fly casting is about, just getting the fly on the water, where you want it.

    Comment by Mike Heritage | May 29, 2010 | Reply

  15. In answer to the “what practical use is it?” question.

    It is of very practical use to the instructor, who needs to know why he teaches like he does. If you understand the reasons why things work (or not)you can work out your own practical application tailored to the students needs.

    Without the debates that crop up on ‘loops many of us would still be stuck with the old self-limiting “10 o’clock to 12 o’clock” stuff or whatever.

    The other practical use of this stuff is to be able to reply when your student (after you’ve given them your finely honed, jargon-free explanation) asks simply, “why?”.

    W.

    Comment by Will | May 29, 2010 | Reply


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