The following coaching advice has been passed to our current racing paddlers. All new paddlers will receive similar coaching advice on how to improve their paddling technique and marathon racing knowledge.

Forward Paddling Technique

Forward Paddling Technique
A lot has been written over the years or published on the internet on forward paddling technique and a summary of the advice as it applies to flat water racing is contained in the document Paddling Technique.

Common Faults
In analysing the technique of club paddlers after the annual video session, a summary of the common faults observed has been produced.

Ivan Lawler’s Masterclass
Ivan’s masterclass on Forward Paddling Technique was delivered at Richmond Canoe Club. It reinforces all that is explained in the Paddling Technique document above but explains it in a different way. At an hour and 12 minutes, it will take some time to watch but it is worth it. He was World Champion in marathon 12 times between 1988 and 1999 so knows what he is talking about. As this is an amateur video and you have to concentrate quite hard to hear what he is saying, the captions used in the video have been summarised and some explanatory comments added.

BCCC Forward Paddling Technique Powerpoint Presentation
This presentation on forward paddling technique is based on the one provided to those who attended the British Canoeing Racing Module. It was amended for a planned presentation to the 2017 Lord Wandsworth College DW team (hence the background photos in the slides are taken from their crews taking part in our Charles Hicks Canal Challenge in 2016). If you view the Notes Pages you will see the commentary on each slide.

Technique – Knut Holman
An example of good technique executed as part of a race (so not posed!) by Knut Holman (Olympic 1000m Champion Barcelona) can be viewed here. Please note he is using left handed paddles so his control hand is on his left. There is a very useful slow motion view at the end.

Technique – Tim Brabants
Another illustration, with more analysis, is of Tim Brabants (Olympic 1000m Champion Beijing) and can be found here. A summary of the points to look out for based on the captions in the video are here. Another video of Tim is here.

Technique Evaluation
For those who would like to analyse their own technique we have produced a Technique Evaluation form which can be completed and discussed with one of the coaches. It is based on one issued at a recent Sprint Discipline Support Module and used by the national racing squad coaches suitably adapted. The cover sheet attached to it illustrated the key stroke phases.

Sprint Paddling Technique
Here is a transcript of the commentary in three videos produced by Alexandre Nikonorov the successful 2012 200m Coach. One is “The Set Up” and the other is “Lock the Blade”. A third video in the series is “Make a Pivot”. There are still more videos to come to complete the series.

Forward Paddling incl Power Circles
This covers information on technique based on the theories of Imre Kemecscy which was provided in the Racing Module for Level 1 and 2 coaches and covers much of the same information in a different way.

Forward Paddling and Functional Stability
The following were issued to all those attending the Racing Module for coaches:

Crewboat Technique

There is a lot to think about and concentrate on when paddling and, inevitably, concentrating on one aspect can cause faults in others which can be frustrating. If you focus on getting the Catch right then many other aspects of good technique will follow.

Paddling in a crew boat complicates matters even further. Ideally, each crew member will have a similar style and technique. It is also essential that each paddler completes the Catch at the same time. Failure to do this means that for a part of every stroke each K2 paddler is taking the full weight of both paddlers and the boat. Completing the Catch at the same time means that each paddler only has to take half the weight of the crew and boat on each stroke with obvious advantages for strength endurance. In general, it is better for the more experienced paddler to be in front and the taller or heavier paddler to be in the rear.

The NZ Ladies K4 can be seen working on their technique and timing before the Rio Olympics. You can practice these exercises to improve your technique and timing in a crew boat when not involved in a timed effort.

ICF Canoe Sprint Coaching Manual

The International Canoe Federation Sprint Coaching Manual covers all aspects of canoeing including kayak and canoe, sprint and marathon. It has useful information for all racing coaches, aspiring racing coaches, paddlers who want to coach themselves and those, including parents of paddlers, who would like to improve their knowledge of the sport. Topics include:

  • Safety & Rescue
  • Equipment
  • Technique and Hydrodynamics
  • Kayak Paddling Technique
  • Crew boat technique
  • Physiology
  • Nutrition
  • Endurance
  • Speed
  • Strength development
  • Training principles, methods and intensity
  • Planning a training programme
  • Racing – both sprint and marathon
  • Psychology
  • 200m specialism

The Science of Canoeing

The Science of Canoeing by Richard Cox (ISBN 0 951 8931 1 4). The Science of Canoeing is now out of print but still available in some libraries and obtainable through the inter library loan system. Although it was published in 1992, this book is still a valuable document for coaches, aspiring coaches and for paddlers who just want to find out more about their sport and how they can improve their performance. It was the first book in English to cover the subject matter for canoeing. There is still no book that covers the same subject matter for kayaking but the ICF Sprint Coaching Manual covers some of the subject area and is more recent.

Other Coaching Advice

Marathon Racing Advice
This Powerpoint presentation on Marathon Racing Tactics was produced for a proposed course at BCCC. The information in the presentation was based on the course handout.

This is a summary of the advice available on portaging.

The following handouts were issued to a recent Sprint Discipline Support Module and provide useful advice for anyone who wishes to improve their performance. One is on the setting of SMART goals; another is on land based warmups using RAMP principles; the third is on designing a race day plan; and the 4th is on how to reflect on your performance.

Race Psychology
Understanding race psychology (before, during and after a race) is an important part of competing effectively. This advice was originally distributed to the Junior Development Squad in the 1990s and this version was adapted for a club course on Marathon Racing.

Nutrition and Hydration
General advice on Nutrition and Performance has been produced by Edel Duffy. A Powerpoint presentation prepared for a club coaching session gives advice on nutrition and hydration for club paddlers. The notes page view contains the detailed advice which is based on the more detailed advice contained in Nutrition and Hydration tips for marathon paddlers.

Core Stability
These core stability exercises using Swiss and Medicine balls have been designed to improve core stability as an aid to balance in a racing kayak.

Paddling Machines
The BCCC has two paddling machines (ergos) which can be used for fitness training on land or to practice technique. Learn how to use them properly in the Paddling Ergo Resource Pack which was distributed to those attending the Racing Module for coaches.

Boat Fittings
This powerpoint presentation on boat fittings was included in the Racing Module course for Level 1 and 2 coaches.

This detailed technical information on the selection and care of rudders was requested by GB canoeing.

Boat Preparation
Some advice on how to look after your kayak produced by GB Canoeing.

Boat Trim
Some advice on how to trim your kayak.

There is a lot of detailed advice on paddles on the Braca website concerning the characteristics of their paddles and how to maintain them paddles. Some general points about choosing the correct length and size of paddle was produced by the World Class Programme.

The Start
This advice on starting was produced by GB Canoeing.