Nicola attends to Rob Hoekstra “coach the coaches” clinic

[dropcap style=”font-size: 70px; color: #052b51; font-family: ‘Droid Serif’, Arial, sans-serif;”] O [/dropcap]n the 11th and 12th of February Nicola attended the Rob Hoekstra “coach the coaches” clinic. You’ll remember she went on this clinic last year as well. She took Samantha Wright along and Sam wrote a post for our website which you can read by clicking here. Only THE TOP COACHES in South Africa are invited to participate in this prestigious course.

Rob is considered the best showjumping coach in the world. His work with the British showjumping team has been remarkable and his assistance to South Africa is greatly appreciated and needed. This year Nicola not only attended the coaches clinic but, as she is RANKED AS ONE OF THE TOP 10 SHOWJUMPERS IN SOUTH AFRICA, was also able to have lessons with Rob on both Connoissour and El Paso. Nicola learnt so much on both the riding and coaching clinics. All the lessons learnt have now been implemented in the coaching plans for her pupils and the results are already showing.

The amazing thing about Rob Hoekstra is his ability to simplify concepts for the more novice rider. He is able to easily assist a more novice competitor in basic body control and quickly switch over to someone like Nicola who’s coaching needs have far less to do with “heels down” and more to do with analysing technical changes in between fences or a slight bit tweak.

SA Showjumping arranges the clinic every year and this year it was held at Maple Ridge Equestrian Farm, maybe it was the distance that some had to travel but it was somewhat disheartening to see how few spectators show up at these clinics. At a minimal cost coaches that may not be considered “the best in South Africa” as well as riders of all levels are able to come and watch Rob’s lessons and interact in the sessions. That means you can ask questions and interact with one of our sport’s best! Rob’s teaching principles are not exclusive for open riders. Much of his fundamentals need to be implemented from the start of a rider’s competitive career.

Very often comments are passed about other instructors, some make claims such as “I’m most qualified” or “I jump the highest”. It’s time we ALL put our money where our mouth is and attend these sorts of clinics, to support our sport but also to learn as much as we can from some of the greats so as to improve our riding and our pupils’ riding. Even if you are only “spectating” you’re still able to interact.

Nicola took Sam Wright again this year. She was on her new mount Zuperstar, a partnership that is less than 2 months old. Sam said after the clinic that she felt this year was “much easier” because of the improvements she’d been able to implement during the course of 2013.

Nicola, Sam & Rob following the 2014 clinic.
Nicola, Sam & Rob following the 2014 clinic.

However, Sam still has an extremely long way to go and for all intents and purposes is a “novice” at open level. Maybe something to note for all riders and coaches is what she had to say following the clinic:

“I wish someone had sat me down and shown me these things when I was starting out jumping one metre classes as a junior. It’s so much harder to unlearn bad habits. Everything Rob ( and top South African coaches like Nicola) teaches is just as much applicable to a 90cm rider as it is a 1.50 rider.”