18 Tips for Spring Paddle Preparation
It’s been a crazy and long winter for most of the country and spring has finally sprung for many of us! For me it has been a winter of reflection, studying, and conferring with various coaches out of the SUP industry. I have learned and gleaned so much! I am asking myself as a teacher and paddler “how can I be so right and yet be so wrong at times regarding technique application and training for movement”? Hence my quest to be a better educator continues and it feels really great to be so vulnerable and grow by my mistakes.
I’m excited to share some key season preparation points for anyone interested in becoming a better paddler. I will be at the Carolina Sup Cup starting the 24th available for private coaching and skills clinics.
1.) Make sure you are healthy and ready for the season.
2.) If you have any pain what so ever in your body ie. ankle, knee, hip, wrist, shoulder and/or neck to name a few get it medically cleared. You can’t paddle your way out of pain!
3.) If you’re not already utilizing a comprehensive resistance training program you will be at a tremendous deficit in achieving your goals. For the stresses of paddling, you need to embark on a proper conditioning schedule. This goes for going through the whole season. I am not even taking about power and speed benefits yet, but the gains are remarkable.
4.) The little muscles of the upper back rhomboids, lower traps, teres minor, and infraspinatus need to be serviced. It can eliminate almost all shoulder pain as long as there is not a serious underlying condition.
5.) The little muscles of your hips (the gluteus medius and minimus) goes a long way to enhance and protect the lower torso and even at times, the low back.
6.) Make sure your upper and lower joint mobility is firing on all cylinders. I am not talking about flexibility that is a different application and concept, but also good.
7.) You can’t stretch your way out of pain enough said.
8.) The big take away is rotation. It creates toque and thus power. If you’re not using it introduce it, be rhythmic and playful, but be subtle. The key is to get the timing right!
9.) Stop looking down enough said.
10.) Consider using the word “initiation” of the stroke for clarity and what the beginning is all about.
11.) Give your body time to rest and recover.
12.) Stop thinking about so much while paddling and learn to feel it.
13.) If you’re unhappy and stressed in life try and find some guidance off the water and your paddling will improve dramatically. Your mental health is paramount for so many aspects of your sports. You can’t paddle your way out of problems until they are addressed.
14.) Smaller training sessions on the water in the early season pays a large dividend for technique and injury avoidance.
15.) Please check your safety leash integrity and thoroughly inspect for wear and breakdown.
16.) Please check your PFD and that it’s ready and able to save your ass when needed.
17.) File a flight plan every time you go out with someone who is reliable. I text when I enter the water and when I arrive back on land!
18.) Don't sweat the small stuff and find a way to be happy and healthy when paddling.