Monday, August 20, 2007

Paddle Stroke Manual

Quiet Boat: Your boat should be steady and not move around (bobble). Whether your goal is to paddle straight ahead or create beautiful turns, smooth transitions while blending strokes, heel control and a solid boat is key to efficient paddling.

Quiet Paddle: Your paddle should not create a lot of noise or splash. If it does, work on feeling how the paddle moves in the water and practice quietly. For most strokes, avoid pushing down on or lifting water. Make your paddle "stick" during the catch phase.

C P R : All strokes have at least three parts: Catch, Power, Recovery. Some strokes have added parts : exit, transition, control, correction. But they all have a beginning middle and end... C.P.R.

Move to the Paddle: The boat moves up to the paddle during a stroke. The paddle stays at the catch position.

** You are not pulling the paddle to you. **

Power Stops at the Knee or Hip: During the forward stroke all power stops at the hip.

Dynamic vs. Static: Dynamic strokes are when the boat is pulled toward or pushed away from the paddle, while during static strokes the paddle is planted and held firmly in place while the boat moves.

Posture & Pelvis: By sitting up straight and balancing equally on your sitz bones, you create a strong pelvic base that will liberate your upper-body motion. Once your arms and legs are connected to a reliable center, tension decreases and flexibility improves.

Nose and Navel Over The Centerline: Keep your nose and navel over the centerline of the kayak and you will stay upright. This position is important for good posture, balance, presentation and effective heeling. The eyes also help maintain balance…so maintain a well-aligned head and look up.

Torso Rotation: Arms are connectors to the real source of power. Incorporate torso rotation into your strokes. The large torso muscles are an efficient source of power. Wind them up and use them.

Stay in the Paddler’s Box: Keep arms and hands in front of the shoulder plane to create a "paddler’s box." By using torso rotation to maintain this position during strokes, power is maximized and shoulder safety is maintained.

Breathing: Don’t hold your breath – let it go. Awareness of your breathing will help minimize tension, enhance the flow of your strokes and improve balance.

Intention: Intention is the beginning of every movement. If you focus on a movement a split second before you initiate movement, the ensuing movement will be clearer. Visualize it, and then do it. Look where you want to go.

Less is Usually More: Go for quality not quantity. Practice maneuvers, strokes, heeling and transitions slowly and precisely and then build up speed
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