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Kayak & Canoe Coaching Articles from Source Adventure



all men are equal but some are more equal than others!



all men are equal but some are more equal than others!

This month we are going to focus our attentions on bi lateral paddling (making the stroke identical on both sides) and Markers.


We all have a chocolate and a biscuit side to our paddling! We love to do what we excel in, hence we always choose to paddle on the chocolate side. Apart from this creating one large and one small shoulder it means we are not an all round boater.


When learning a stroke (or having to relearn) it is imperative that you practice equally on the right and left and often more on the weaker side.


So how do we know we are doing the same thing on both sides?



Markers are Physical / Visual identifiers that we can create a gauge from.


Lets use the example of a kayaker looking to obtain better edge control. The kayaker is trying to hold the kayak on its edge whilst maintaining an upright body posture. Our kayaker feels stronger on the right but not the left, so how can we help them / ourselves.


(so we are looking for the kayak to be on edge through the kayaker using their lower body to create this movement. However the upper body is maintaining an upright vetical posture covering their weight over the kayak.)


Visual Markers

When performing the edge control we can gauge the amount of edge being used in relation to the manufacturers logo, Source Adventure sticker, random bolt to see if what they feel is apparent in reality. We can use a plus or minus scale in relation to these actual points. For example Is their head covering the spray deck?


Physical External Markers

We can use key joints and body features such as the waist, elbow, shoulder, neck and head to make an outline of what a perfect models shape would be. from this model or the chocolate side observe the shape the model makes on the biscuit side, is it the same? If not we have a framework to work with.


Physical Internal Markers

Our kayaker will have certain tensions, strains and relaxed parts of the body throughout this process. Are they the same on both sides. We would hope our kayaker would feel tension in their upside knee / thigh, pressure on the toe blocks, compression and tension in the stomach yet relaxed in the chest but poised in the shoulders, are they? If so on the chocolate side what is missing on the biscuit side?


If the kayaker is you then ask yourself about the external and visual markers and reevaluate. If the kayaker is someone else you will have to probe using quantifiable questions to extract the internal feedback.


Now get rid of the edgeing example and transfer to all kayaking and canoeing strokes and watch you biscuit end up coated in chocolate!




Last month we looked and coaching yourself and others to be Bi lateral (paddling the same on both sides).

This month we thought we would look at a completely different area with you, GAMES!


A lot of you who come on courses either have kids who you are looking to introduce to paddlesport or you coach at a club with the paddlers of tomorrow. So we thought we would highlight a few games that are fun and will help coach them to become finer paddlers without them even realising!



Knock the rock!

To help aid turning efficiently this is a great game that uses nothing but a few pebbles or small rocks.
Place a small rock at either end of your kayak and of all those playing, set a relatively small boundary and the object of the game is to be the last boat with a rock as everyone else has knocked each others off. Great game for enhancing tight turns, reverse paddling and edge control.


British Bulldog

Always raises some eyebrows, this version is minus the eye gouging, punching and body tackles!


Set up two end zones, features on a bank are ideal. One catcher "the bulldog" is between the zones and everyone else starts in a safe end zone and has to try to paddle to the other end zone without getting tapped by the bulldog. If tapped they join the bulldog in the middle for the next round. ideal for carving turns and forward paddling.



Two equal teams, start in front of their goal, a ball is thrown into the centre of the defined area. Once a team picks up the ball that individual has three seconds to pass it to a team mate and so on (cant move with the ball), till a goal is scored or intercepted by the opposition. Great for tight turns, fast efficient forward paddling and edge control.



Define an area with boundaries, then one person starts with the ball, their job is to hit another kayak or canoe with the ball, if they do the person who has been hit joins in till only one person is left, the winner! Simple fun looking at forward paddling and turning up the speed when required alongside slow carving and tight turns.


Ball pool

Have a selection of different coloured balls i.e. 3 blue, 2 red and 1 yellow for example. Assign 1 point to blue, 2 to red and 3 to yellow etc , scatter them and then shout go and see who gets the highest score, simple but kids play it for ages. Aids opening up vision from the front of the kayak or canoe, turns of speed and edge control when picking up the balls.




Adventurous Activities Licensing Authority Institute for Outdoor Learning

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