Mike Heritage FFF MCI UK

Fly casting and talking fly casting bollox

You Don’t Want To Do It Like That!

I remember the first time I was asked if I had ever considered being an instructor. I laughed. I was not instructor material. Too impatient. It was four or five years later that I did finally get around to the idea that I might like to try it…properly. I say properly because I found I was one of those annoying gits that can’t keep their mouth shut when they see someone struggling and whenever there were a group of us together, usually at one of Paul Ardens shootouts, I would find myself offering all sorts of ‘useful’ advice. I was, by then, a decent distance caster and was only too eager to pass on some of the knowledge and experiences  I had in an effort to help the person short-circuit some of the problems I had had. I was also mixing with a lot of instructors by then and wondered if I could actually cut the mustard fly casting wise. Proper fly casting. The twiddly stuff. Useful fishing stuff, not just banging it out as far as I could. So I printed off the FFF CCI assessment and set to it. One thing I read (somewhere) was that the candidates nearly always did better on the test if they had actually done some instructing. Apparently (and it’s true) that when it came to the teaching parts of the assessment your answers would be coloured by the experiences of the problems you had found when instructing and you were less likely to give a  purely theoretical answer. I found I was in a bit of a spot. I didn’t know if I could instruct and I didn’t feel it was right to charge  for what was probably going to be  sub service value for money. As luck would have it, because of my distance reputation, I had  a few guys quite locally who were willing guinea pigs. I owe them a lot. I discovered I was right, I was too impatient. I wanted instant results, if one thing didn’t work (almost instantly) I quickly moved onto another way…and then another. And all the time I was jabbering away and never giving them space to work anything out for themselves. If they were having a two hour lesson them by God they were going to have two hours.. full on. Poor sods. It gradually dawned on me that if I was the client being treated this way I would never have another lesson. I never got it instantly (or ever in some cases) when I had lessons. I would pick up some tips, learn a layout, be enlightened on some point or other then go home and work it out in my own time. That’s how I learn. |The big discovery was that everyone is different. I have a couple of friends who you can describe a cast to and you can see them visualise it in their heads and then do it (bastards), I have others that you need to demo it several times, then there are others you need to demonstrate and explain it and a few, like me, who rarely get it on the day but they get the idea and will eventually work it out for themselves.

Instructing isn’t a science, it’s an art. There is no right way (although there are a few wrong ways).First of all you have to be comfortable in your own ability and then you have to have a realistic expectation. Accept the bad days and enjoy the good ones. I have had days where I wanted to give the money back because I didn’t feel the client had achieved what I had expectations of them achieving and I have had days where I wanted to give the money back because the client had far exceeded my expectations and I had enjoyed myself too much.

With the advent of the internet anyone is able to offer advise. If the person who posed the question is a beginner they have no way of judging if the advise they are receiving is good or bad. They don’t know if the advise is from an instructor or just someone with an opinion (that often conflicts with the instructors advice). This is a problem on some forums. Until quite recently I generally only offered ‘advice’ on Sexyloops where I knew and accepted that if it was wrong or bad advice I would soon know about it. On other forums I have seen good advice criticized by armchair pseudo instructors. If you are one of these I suggest you offer your services to a paying client. That will give you a whole new perspective on instructing, or it should do if you have any sense  of obligation to give value for money.

Either that or put yourself up for assessment.


January 26, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. Good post Mike.
    They should do as you suggest. “Either that or put yourself up for assessment.”
    Or at the very least let them see how they perform when we give them real people to teach/coach/instruct. I wonder who you mean? Not everything is an exact science, or can be measured precisely.


    Comment by Roger Miles | January 26, 2013 | Reply

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