Another in the series of coached sessions on the Mighty River Thames

The first paddling session for 2022 run by Coach Steve

These sessions are built around improving the level of club members paddling skills.

This specific session, due to the almost ideal tide was run in whitewater boats.

We started out by fitting each other into the club’s boats. This is probably the most important part of the session for without a good fit, it’s much harder to manoeuvre the boat around on the water.

Next issuing everyone with a very short whitewater paddle, much shorter than they are used to paddling with.

This all took time, which was for the benefit of the session, as Coach Steve was waiting for more a forgiving tidal before seal launching into the river stream.

Coach Steve’s fantastic four were taken through their paces. Improving their sweep stroke and introducing edging meant turns became more stable. There was even talk of body rotation to improve both forwards paddling and edged turns.

We moved on and introduced the static low brace and the dynamic low brace, they are subtly different. The fantastic four could then perform a low brace turn the holy grail of paddling strokes.

Next it was a little backwards paddling and then fun with moving sideways. We worked on the two main versions the knifing draw and the sculling draw. If that wasn’t enough, we used the dynamic knifing draw to move the boat sideways on the move.

Finally we did some practice crossing the river with edge, thus lifting the upstream edge allowing the water to pass under the boat, which was completed with much success, we went for one last manoeuvre, using all that we had leant to perform an S turn across the flow.

Suffice it to say this was more than coach Steve would have taught in a session, but three of the group had been on a session with Coach Steve previously, so it was a good opportunity to push their skill levels just a little.

Not all sessions are like this, but when the tidal conditions are suitable and the club members are willing and enthusiastic won’t you?

So the session ended with exhausted paddlers, but they had learnt a lot, which hopefully they can practice when the opportunity arises.

Hope that gives you an idea of what goes on in the slower paddle on the mighty river Thames group.

Maybe see you there?