How old are the kids? I would think a side boom would not be necessary and if anything might make it harder.
My daughter learned at 8 years old. She was out of the water on the 2nd attempt. The only reason she started that late is it was the first year we had a boat. I've taught a quite a few of 11-12 year olds because I run a watersports outing for our Boy Scout trip. Typically they are up and running on the board on about the third pull.
There have been a couple of posts this past summer of quite young kids who started wakeboarding. With the light weights you only have to go about 10 MPH (even less if really small) and they pop out of the water like corks. With a PFD on they are basically already on top of the water. A very soft and gradual start as it does not take much to get them up from a deep water start. One time I was chatting with another adult on the boat and was distracted when I had the boat in forward gear but at an idle. One of the other kids in the boat told me to give it some gas as the kid was up on the board behind the boat and I did not even realize it. Then they need to learn to turn the board without stuffing the leading edge in the water. Again, a slow speed so they don't feel they have to be in any hurry to stand up and turn the board. Hip to the handle to get the board to run straight and to stay between the wakes. After that it is just time, practice, getting good body position, etc. Oh, shorten up the rope so that they are just outside the prop wash. The extra up angle of the shorten rope helps pull them up out of the water. Also with the slower boat speed the nice spot in the wake will be quite a bit farther in towards the boat. Only tell them one thing at a time to correct. Also, have only one person telling them that one thing. Hitting them with too many things at one time just frustrates them. A little bit of time and patience is all it takes.
You might want to think twice about starting them on a crutch that they might not want to give up so easily. It might end up hindering their progress.
Now if you want to barefoot, that might be a different story ... but that is not my cup of tea.
Just some thoughts...
Last edited by GoneBoatN; 11-29-2012 at 02:33 AM.