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Delivering Quality Experiences to Convert participants to members as part of the role of an instructor 

Published Fri 22 Sep 2023

As the first point of contact for most of the public, part of the role as an instructor is to get the public excited about the sport of sailing through great quality experiences at your club. They can then become a larger part of your sailing community by joining your club as a member therefore contributing to your club and the love of sailing in general. 

Quality experiences are developmentally appropriate, safe, and inclusive, and well run. Another way of saying this is that quality experiences consist of good programs, led by good people, in good places.  


For more info on 
and to help coaches and instructors ensure they are delivering quality experiences there are a full range of resources available in the Participation Hub including this handy checklist.  

One way to improve the quality of the experience you provide as an instructor is through reflection and self-evaluation 

Successful reflection involves creating a daily habit, process, or routine. To do it well, time and opportunity need to be dedicated to making it happen. By reflecting on your instructing performances, self-evaluation will help you to:  

  • Grow and develop as an instructor 

  • Learn from the past 

  • Not repeat mistakes 

  • Build up an instructor ‘’playbook’’ of what works well 

  • Find ways to tweak and tune the delivery of your sessions 

  • Better understand yourself  

  • Consistently improve  

After your self-review of the season in which you hopefully asked questions like… 

What went well? 

  • Buddy / team approach – helping each other with rigging / launching 

  • Using laminated resources during sessions afloat 

What can I do better? 

  • Being prepared 10 mins before training starts 

  • Parent engagement 

  • Improve culture 

What should I stop doing this season? 

  • Chatting between ourselves. 

  • No mobile phones during activities 

  • Leaving empty water bottles and rubbish in the safety boats at the end of the session 

What should I continue doing this season?  

  • All in group warm up, before splitting into teaching groups  

  • End of session coaches award  

  • End of season BBQ and Presentations 

What could I start doing this season? 

  • Use on-water notes in wet-note books 

  • End of session join groups together – for fun, creative races. 

  • Include sessions that the participants plan themselves 

To help you understand participants and how to convert them to members. Workshop these questions about participants by asking yourself: 

Who is the customer? 
Is it an adult, teen or child? If a child is in the program the parent might also be the customer. So you might ask what can help create parent engagement? It could be as simple as parents assisting with launching and recovery. 

What does the customer expect? 
Brainstorm what expectations your customer might have. Safety, having fun, learning, ect. 

How do we meet their expectations?  
How do you go about meeting the above expectations? 

How can we be more inclusive? 
What can you as an instructor do to help make your club more inclusive? Is it something like being better with inclusive language? 

What contributes to a positive culture?
What can you as an you as an instructor do to be a better role model. How can you help with the engagement of parents and participants and make the whole experience more enjoyable and Fun. 

These can also be done as a group discussion with other instructors. 

By encouraging management to help with instructor development through instructor workshops. These workshops are designed specifically from the topics that were produced as areas for improvement in your or your club's self-evaluation and these will be different for each club, it could be that the fun and joy has been overtaken by the “all sailors will end up racing” mentality and therefore the club is seeing less retention and conversion to members from the sailors who just want to socially sail and improve sailing skills through social sailing and experiences. Depending on the areas of focus, a plan can then be put together for a workshop session. 

Key points  

  • Self-review often and at the end of each season 

  • Ask who is the customer? 

  • What are their expectations for, safety, fun and learning? 

  • How can we be more inclusive? 

  • Positive culture 

  • Encourage workshops at your club 

Improving on areas like parent engagement and sailing culture by making it social and fun the participants and the parents from the courses produced by you feel there is a benefit to their continuing to frequent your club. People will return to your club if they have had a great experience, on and off the water and if they have felt they have learned, they have had positive social interactions, they have felt safe and have enjoyed their time with you the instructor.