After a superb but mixed-weather ‘Rock 1’ training week in the picturesque Lake District, all the trainees were keen to get to the more rugged mountains of Snowdonia for the BMG Physical Performance and Coaching Course, fondly known simply as “Rock 2”.
With an emphasis on teaching and coaching the idea of this second training course was to build on the skills we had learned in the Lake District and apply them to our guiding to help develop our clients.
The course itself was derived in an expert fashion by several guides and was over seen by Martin Chester. Martin’s knowledge and experience were evident from day 1 and every one of the trainees present soaked up as much knowledge as they could.
The weather in Wales is always sunny so we made the most of the sunshine by spending some of everyday out on the hill, and some of the day tucked away at Plas y Brenin looking at coaching models and other resources to help us as guides.
As ever Plas y Brenin, with its legendary tea and cakes, was the perfect base for a course like this. And despite Calum ‘accidentally’ eating half of Martin’s cake one day, the combination of an excellent facility, great mountain scenery and a motivated team spirit really made for an energetic and enthusiastic course. With topics for the week ranging from coaching, psychology of client care, occupational health and the philosophy of short-roping, we covered a huge range of skills all related to the world of guiding.
Essentially where in Rock 1 we had learned these skills for our selves, we now cemented that learning by looking at how and why people learn, and then analysing the very skills that we as Trainee Guides need to build on. The role of a Mountain Guide is hugely varied, and the client / coaching skills that we learned so much about on this course will help us to provide relevant coaching and teaching, make our guided days accurately pitched for our clients, and hopefully keep it fun and motivating too.
The end of the week saw us acting as guides for real clients for the first time on the BMG scheme. For some of the trainees this wasn’t anything new as several of us already hold the MIA/MIC awards, but for some of the guys this was literally their first time with a client on the hill. Reasonable weather meant that some exciting objectives were climbed, with Tremadog, Llanberis Pass and Ogwen Valley firm favourite destinations and even for the MIC holders, this was a nerve- racking day trying to put all we had learned in to practice, and all under the watchful eye of a qualified British Mountain Guide.
The days went off without a hitch and all the clients had a great time. We might make decent guides yet!