Monday, April 25, 2016

Fly Casting Lessons in New England: Embrace the New


Throughout my life, many people have told me that I should be a teacher or a coach.  Much of the time, I have dismissed their suggestions or any thoughts related to becoming a teacher/coach. However, I have finally come to the realization, whether on or off the river,  I was put on this planet to do one thing; to teach (solving problems and helping people -- it's what I do best).
Lucky for me and my fly fishing students, my only intention is to educate.  In other words, I have no desire to sell you anything and I have no desire to be:
  • a famous fly fishing angler, author, photographer, or videographer 
  • known as the best guide in New England or the world
  • an industry model, pimp, or conveyor of fishy BS

My only desire is to be the best teacher for my students -- even if it means do things entirely different from the industry.  In my opinion, to be the best teacher, first and foremost, you must understand how people learn. Unfortunately, in the fly fishing industry, there is very little emphasis placed on this -- the majority of instructors simply do what has been done for generations (in my opinion, the educational/instructional model is backwards).  Again, though a firm understanding of fly fishing knowledge and fly casting technique are important, the emphasis should be placed on a proven educational model focused on student outcomes -- not solely on how Joe instructor taught 50 years ago.
At FCFF, our instructional model has been built upon a proven modern science.  The science is called Emotional Intelligence (EQ, not IQ).  Don't dismiss this, EQ was developed at Yale, Harvard and the University of New Hampshire.  It's real and it works.  For example, read what a recent client has to say about his experience with our teaching model:         
I'm an expert fisherman but novice fly caster and have been "stuck" for 5 years both trying to self-teach and to pick up some basic instruction from fishing guides, videos, etcetera. I finally realized that I needed more focused help and found Mark when searching for instruction in my part of seacoast New Hampshire. 
Mark's approach was absolutely perfect for my needs. He focused on fundamentals, has a very organized approach and was patient, encouraging and incredibly helpful. He was also insightful enough to discern that even with the number of years that I had been trying to learn, a basic "level 1" class was the smart place for me to start. Most important, he gives results! At the end of 3 (VERY reasonably priced) hours of instruction I was hitting my casting target consistently and accurately, and the grin on my face was a huge testimonial to Mark's skills as a teacher.
Don't spend another day frustrated with your casting, just call Mark and get results.
E. Nash. Exeter, NH. USA
Final Words
The best teachers have no self interest.  They focus their attention entirely on their craft and are only concerned with independent measurable outcomes.  In other words, instructors can proudly display their credentials (an official badge) and personally believe they are the best instructors, but does that prove they are the best educators?  Absolutely not.  In the end, what matters the most are outcomes -- what your students feel and say about your program.
Teaching is an evolving and effortful art form, which I truly enjoy and love.  Thank you to all my students for your willingness to embrace and experience the new -- EQ of fly casting instruction. 
Thanks.
Mark