This past weekend I held a Performance Paddling Skills Assessment clinic. I used extensive video capture during the 2 hour clinic. It never surprises me how most times fundamentals are the bridge to amazing improvement! With that said, I always go back to basic task and purpose movement analysis. It was so rewarding to see the improvements starting to happen with just subtle adaptations and corrections. I was very fortunate to have 4 athletic and passionate paddlers to work with!
Here are some student take away points post clinic;
- Forward load the stroke assertively and deeply. Be aggressive and smooth loading your paddle.
- Have your board maintain it’s run (glide) between strokes.
- If used at all, hip movement via twisting, leaning side to side, and driving back should be subtle. Don't make these actions disrupt the forward momentum and drive of your paddle. We are not a big fan of the hip twist and hip lean anyway!
- Looking down at your paddle and board is a symptom of the lack of feel. It pulls the upper torso out of athletic neutral alignment and the paddlers’ balance and efficiency gets screwed. This is one of the reasons I recommend not using deck mounted data devices. If you are going to use it set and forget and look at the data post training.
- Remember a very relevant benchmark of technique is how you manage in windy and rough waters. If you feel unstable and dejected it's time to adjust your technique (fundamentals are probably missing).