Our First Club Session back on the Water.
Session Coach Steve
On the water Coach Elaine
Participates: Club paddlers Eva and Peter
Conditions on the day: Ebb tide with visible land opposite the pontoon.
Weather: Warm and Sunny.
The session started with a discussion of paddle type and length. Boat number recorded in the club log book (so anyone would know what had be used on a previous session) and we were good to go.
Down on the main pontoon area, boats were put on the floating pontoon. A short discussion ensued about the shape of the boat hulls. The boat chosen by both of the participates where Waikiki’s each having both primary and secondary stability.
Coach Steve insisted that they each choose a paddle they liked and a second much shorter, more about this as we proceed.
We followed this up with a dynamic seating position and a positive fit in the boat. We confirmed that one person after a little local paddling wasn’t as well located as they would have liked, so they return to the pontoon for boat adjustments.
With runners and riders setup it was time to assess where they stood as neither had paddled for quite sometime. So using their preferred paddle each was told to paddle almost the length of the pontoon and then return. Each then tried this with a shorter paddle and we repeated this exercise again as we had two different lengths of shorter paddle.
Coach Steve asked the question – which did they prefer? They both preferred the longer length paddle, so that is what we worked with.
Next phase was to improve their forward paddling style, not by criticising, more by scrutinising each other’s stokes as they paddle out and returned. It’s a coaching analysis thing.
The objective here is/was to improve their forwards paddle stroke not that they could paddle faster but paddle more efficiently by both better placement of the blade and involvement of more body rotation.
The improvement was quite remarkable. Because we had two clients eager to learn they each brought into the learning process. One sat more upright and both used significantly more body rotation as you will see in some pictures
With the beginnings of success with forwards paddling we moved onto their turning skills.
Neither paddler used anything other than a reverse sweep stroke to turn the boat. As a stroke it works fine, but having used your energy to paddle up to speed effectively stopping and then paddling hard to bring the boat back up to the same speed is hard work. We needed to find away of turning the boat on the move, so it didn’t lose forward momentum.
Enter the sweep stroke….!
Coach Steve worked them through inside and outside edge turns, again emphasising edging the boat and using the boat designers primary and then secondary stability.
A very confident set of pictures shows how they each progressed during this exercise.
Photos were taken by Coach Elaine.
We finished up with an exercise in moving sideways, which wasn’t as successful as it could have been. Although sideways movement was achieved trying to practice this (when you are learning) with long paddles isn’t ideal. Better to learn with shorter paddles and then transfer to the longer ones.
Conclusions Excellent progress shown by both Peter and Eva, both forwards and turning greatly improved. Moving sideways needs a little more work.
One of my two hero’s paddled without the skeg down – now there is a result in itself.
Coach Steve’s Note. Session worked super well with lovely compliant participants. We had a laugh on the water, but I forgot to swap paddles for shorter ones whilst teaching the sideways sculling draw. Ditto for the knifing draw!
Hope you enjoyed the read and look forwards to teaching this and more advance strokes on future trips.