January 22nd, 2007

Just Don't Say No
By James Castwell

There are some statistics that would back me up on this but I don't know where they are. Grant me this one though. People learn better, faster, more easily, whatever you might want to call it, when they are given positive encouragement. In teaching/training there are a few differing schools of thought. Most commonly known might be the 'carrot and stick.' Sometimes it is better to teach by giving a reward and sometimes it works better to give punishment when things go wrong. Where am I wandering off to with this? Teaching fly casting. And I will probably take a shot in the chops for writing about it again, but here goes anyhow.

I am all in favor of us all helping each other with our casting, good grief, we can all use some help. And no one needs to be licensed to help out a buddy with his fly casting problems. Go ahead, stand out in front of him on the lawn or the street and let him know when his backcast is flopping way over to his side. Go off to his side and let him know when his back-loops look like doughnuts and are scratching the grass. This is all great fun and helpful too. Practice and try to get better every chance you get. But, what I am against are the teaching methods of some who feel they are natures gift to the fly casting world. Whether or not they know it.

When one sets himself up as an instructor he takes on a huge responsibility. I do think, however, that most have the right goals and ethics. Greed, fast money, higher guiding prices, fame and fortune though are poor reasons. I see no problem running fishing schools or just casting schools either. Offering them for a fee is also not wrong. Gear and time has a value. Offering and teaching a class however, when one doesn't know much about it, is not a good thing.

One of the biggest mistakes that can happen is the "Look at me. I am wonderful. Now cast just like that." Then they go through the line of students telling them what they are doing wrong. Perhaps you have been there, "No. Not that way! Don't do it like that!" That is negative. It doesn't move anything forward. Positive phrases communicate much better, such as, "Great, now just add a little more punch to the forward stroke." It is so much a game of positive versus negative reinforcements that makes the difference in teaching and having the student make progress.

The other problem is not knowing what to look for in the student. Let's call it bad habits for lack of a better term. If an instructor does not know what bad habits or casting mistakes look like, how is he going to keep the student from making them, or even worse, repeating them? The instructor must know what causes bad casts. He must know exactly, for instance, how to make a tailing loop on purpose. We actually teach how to make it, so when it happens, the student will know what happened and how to correct it when he is by himself...

Those are two of the biggest factors that can effect teaching. Making negative remarks instead of positive ones and not knowing what to look for when the students are making casting mistakes. If you are just helping out a buddy or a professional instructor, try to keep the comments on the positive side and watch like a hawk for the small errors of casting so the student does not continue to practice mistakes. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

All Previous Castwell Articles
If you would like to comment on this or any other article please feel free to post your views on the FAOL Bulletin Board!

[ HOME ]

[ Search ] [ Contact FAOL ] [ Media Kit ]

FlyAnglersOnline.com © Notice