Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What makes the perfect coach/instructor?

Joining dog agility bloggers in writing about the topic of "What makes the perfect coach/instructor".  To see other blogs,

I have been doing agility for about 6 years now and I think my answer to this question probably would have changed several times.  Also, I think that this answer changes depending on where my dog is in his/her career and me in my agility career.

There are a couple of traits that I think are essential to the perfect coach/instructor no matter where you are in your career.
  • Trust - You have to trust your coach.  Trust is the foundation of the relationship. 
  • Flexibility - The coach needs to be able to adapt to the team's needs. 
  • Patience - Everyone learns at a different pace
  • Listen - The coach is able to hear what you are trying to say
  • Bring out the best in you
  • Lead by example

An average coach will make you feel his or her greatness.
A perfect coach will make you feel yours!

I also believe that you should probably have several coaches or instructors in your agility career.  Not everyone has a diverse enough skill set to teach everything you need to know from the basics of dog training to handling international courses.  The attributes of the perfect instructor are always the same, it is just the name that changes from time to time.
At different times I have needed help in the mechanics of dog training, the mechanics of movement on course, motivating my dog, better strategies for handling my dog, believing in myself,  course analysis, and mental management, just to name a few.  There has been no one coach who could do all of that, at least for me.  Seek out the coach that you need at that time.  Seek out the instructor who brings out the best in you.

Lately my perfect coach/instructor is my dogs and my favorite tool is my video camera. 

  • Trust  - Dogs are so honest.  Their feedback is always honest and without bias
  • Flexibility - The dogs are very flexible in doing what I need as long as the pay is fair
  • Patient - They keep playing with me, they don't care what the game is.  They are always quick to forgive my lack of skills and try again.
  • Listen - Well some would debate this, but my dogs do listen when the pay is fair.
  • Bring out the best in me - They keep me smiling, and show me that pleasure is in the simple things.
  • Lead - They lead by example.  They live in the moment, always have fun, enjoy the simple things in life and know the value of a good belly rub :)

My dogs have made me feel my greatness!


andrea said...

your comment about having a diversity of coaches resonates with me-I have worked with 3 different people seriously and a couple of others more casually - I was just wondering the other day if it might be time to expand my horizons!

Kathy said...

great post and such a good point about needing different tiings at different times ;=)

Michele Fry said...

I totally agree, and my video camera has been one of my greatest tools for coaching myself how to better teach my dogs. I'm the student on camera, and the coach reviewing what the "student" did afterward. I'm still looking for a program that will let me play back my videos in slo-mo. And I'm still looking for a teacher who shows videos in slo-mo and comments on the moves made by various students and and their effects on the dogs' performance.

Mary said...

Michele, I use PowerDirector to get the slo-mo that I need. I agree 100%, the video camera has made me a much better coach for myself and it is amazing what I catch in my training on video that I had no idea I was doing :)