Nervous paddlers

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gp.girl
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Nervous paddlers

Post by gp.girl »

At turning up at the Nene for a 2 hour club hire we all got split into the experienced at the nene and the less experienced :) I ended up 'coaching' fortunately my 'pupil' was great and very understanding of some of the funnier moments (conversations in recirculating eddies). He got better as the day went on and I relaxed plus both of us up for another hour if we could have! He's going to go back get some more coaching on the Nene as soon as possible. Would have loved some video feedback :)

Anyway a lot of older and/or more nervous paddlers seem to suffer from the commitment bit. So you go in half heartedly, it doesn't work, you get more nervous and it goes even worse. Follow the leader works and racing other people as it you've a target. Not sure if the group competitor/lunatic/enthusiast is as helpful as they think after being fished out again! An awful lot has to do with the whole group but that ones hard to control. Whats your way of encouraging the 'inner idiot'

I go both ways from nervous wreck to look rocks, white water yippee and get told I'm mad.
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Re: Nervous paddlers

Post by Franky »

gp.girl wrote: Anyway a lot of older and/or more nervous paddlers seem to suffer from the commitment bit. So you go in half heartedly, it doesn't work, you get more nervous and it goes even worse. Follow the leader works and racing other people as it you've a target. Not sure if the group competitor/lunatic/enthusiast is as helpful as they think after being fished out again! An awful lot has to do with the whole group but that ones hard to control. Whats your way of encouraging the 'inner idiot'
Well, you can start with the question: what is it that makes paddlers nervous?

It's just one thing: the prospect of capsizing.

And the fact is that anything that stretches you - whatever your level - carries a good risk of a capsize.

For that reason, my nervousness has decreased in indirect proportion to the reliability of my roll. At the start of this year it was 80-90%, and I was still wary of some of the stoppers at the Lee Valley Legacy. The last few trips I've come up every time (admittedly not always at the first attempt), and on a good day I'm now almost gung-ho.

I always start a LV session with a couple of rolls in the lake, and it really helps to get the reflex locked in. Rather than spending the session hoping you don't capsize, you then accept that you probably will, you've got it in your head what it will feel like, and are more up for it.

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Re: Nervous paddlers

Post by Badknee »

Sometimes it is as simple as breathing when you are trying something new. There is a tendency to hold your breath as you enter a challenging move and this has the affect of causing tension in your core which reduces your ability to react to the changing conditions in the water. One way of doing this is singing. I have tried a number of songs. I used "There ain't no stopping us now" on one occasion. Even though I capsized, I made myself laugh which relaxed me underwater with th result that I dealt with the situation more easily.
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Re: Nervous paddlers

Post by gp.girl »

I'm not the one of the us that can roll (see below) and he did 3 times to 2 swims. I stayed upright and within my comfort zone. If I'd been in a peer group or coached I'd have been going outside it but not this time. I think capsize might be the seen as the same as failure? On the last pool drop rolling didn't seem to make up for capsizing, success was making it upright all the way and this improved everything. So maybe try to move their goalpost? I managed it on a rubbish day at LV. As staying upright wasn't working very well I switched to wait and try to roll before swimming it did result in my only moving water roll to date :) and some carping. Can you help move someone elses expectations in this way?

On second thoughts as my chances of staying upright or even getting rescued or (once!) rolling has improved a lot so maybe thats true of me too.
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Re: Nervous paddlers

Post by DaveBland »

gp.girl wrote:So you go in half heartedly, it doesn't work, you get more nervous and it goes even worse.
To help get a beginner's head around this, it's like riding a bike [not the never forgetting bit!] so the faster you move, the more stable you'll be. This equates to 'active paddling' as the coach types call it. Paddling with a purpose is what I'd call it. It really helps to have somewhere to go in mind rather than just having a dab around and seeing what happens.

The comments above are bang on about rolling. If you can roll, a lot of the fear goes. Although, it can then be replaced with fear of big holes, getting smashed on rocks, etc. There's always an aspect of fear in paddling I think.
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Re: Nervous paddlers

Post by gp.girl »

DaveBland wrote:
gp.girl wrote:So you go in half heartedly, it doesn't work, you get more nervous and it goes even worse.
To help get a beginner's head around this, it's like riding a bike [not the never forgetting bit!] so the faster you move, the more stable you'll be. This equates to 'active paddling' as the coach types call it. Paddling with a purpose is what I'd call it. It really helps to have somewhere to go in mind rather than just having a dab around and seeing what happens.

The comments above are bang on about rolling. If you can roll, a lot of the fear goes. Although, it can then be replaced with fear of big holes, getting smashed on rocks, etc. There's always an aspect of fear in paddling I think.
I did try the bike analogy and target bit (I must have been having a good day for remembering all the things mentioned by coaches and better paddlers) but not a strongly enough. We did try the active paddle bit near the end in the pump pool and the wavetrain just above it. That one worked better as he took to it like a duck to water :)
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Re: Nervous paddlers

Post by Jim »

Warm water and confidence in your wet exit can go a long way to easing nervousness - if falling in and swimming is just part of the fun, rather than something to be dreaded, it makes a huge difference to the mindset of the paddler. I'll include myself in that - I usually make more progress in OC1 on warm days when I don't mind taking a swim, than on cooler days when I get bored of it quickly. Unfortunately we are coming to the end of the season when I can do evening sessions in wetsuit shorts and a thermal, it's even getting a bit nippy with a shortie cag over the top, although my dress to get soaking wet and enjoy it approach still works on warm days, like over the weekend just gone.

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Re: Nervous paddlers

Post by lora may »

For me it is the fear of capsizing. I can't roll so I am going to swim but it is also to do with that is what end's up happening as soon as I am on grade 2 WW its a viscous circle as soon as I get on moving water I get nervous and as soon as I hit rapids I slow down because I am scared and put in lots of back strokes which make it worse and I go slower so more chance of capsizing. As soon as I start to go over instead of doing a low brace I am reaching for my spraydeck.

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Re: Nervous paddlers

Post by Timo50 »

I've been paddling for just over a year, and I'm very nervous, I did the Usk as my first trip last year and it rained heavily the night before, I capsized at Mill Falls and travelled a fair way in the water, I managed to catch a throw line eventually. I couldn't keep my head above the water, got battered by rocks and swallowed a lot of water, in all honesty, I probably wasn't ready for the trip, I can't ferry glide, break in or out but was assured by the club that I could do the trip, but I was nowhere near ready. As a result, I haven't been back on moving water, I really want to, as I enjoy paddling, I can roll now well in the pool and flat water, but I really don't know how to 'get back on the horse'. Maybe coaching in grade 1/2 would help. I think what makes me nervous is being in moving water and not knowing what to do, or having any skills to control the boat.

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Re: Nervous paddlers

Post by Badknee »

The idea that capsize is failure can be a problem. Of course it is great to roll but providing you are in a good group so that it is a controlled environment mistakes should be embraced. This is of course easier to say than do but in reality it applies to anything in life. The problem comes when you try to jump too far beyond your ability too quickly. I know this from experience when bravado went beyond my ability and resulted in a dislocated shoulder and a long swim. Now that I have rejoined the sport I am using a more mature approach to my development and looking at my long term success rather than striving too quickly for the biggest challenges. After all, It is all about enjoyment and this is enhanced with each incremental improvement.
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Re: Nervous paddlers

Post by gp.girl »

There seem to be quite a few nervous paddlers out there. Epic swims don't help I know one person who finally got back on WW (pulled out of a stopper on the Usk) after 2 years on the Nene WWC another who survived a trip upright but basically hasn't been on any water since. I've been treed but just got back on however bad it felt until the fear faded, that took a few trips. Others have walked out, paddled out, given moving water or paddling a break. It seems difficult to work out exactly how to deal with it. People/group do make a difference in how they react to the problem. Walking is similar, I've only walked when given the option three times, happy about it two times, angry with myself on the other (I did the next one no problem and that was harder) and I've swum as a consequence and done sketchy lines and even styled it! Chasing grades/drops is not the best idea. Best days on the water have included learning on easier bits and doing something challenging and hopefully fun :)

Edit

As a nervous paddler would you rather go out with a confident or more nervous group? Would it matter if you're on your idea of easy water or pushing things? The group is safe on this grade so maybe LV versus Nene so you can stop or get off at anytime.
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Re: Nervous paddlers

Post by Timo50 »

I think for me, its the same as when I learnt to snowboard, start easy stuff, build confidence through control and progress. I'm 51, so not as brave as I once was. I think going out with a mixed group is best, you have confident paddlers to guide you and people of your own ability to make it fun and challenging. I'm not scared of capsizing, more worried about being caught out in a situation that I cant control or have the skills/training to get out of, in WW, you don't always have people close by to help.

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Re: Nervous paddlers

Post by SimonMW »

There are a lot of factors that combine. I agree wholeheartedly that a fear of not being able to roll is a huge part of confidence. Even if you can roll if you've had a lot of problems rolling in the past this can also stay in the back of your mind as a doubt. The cold weather and water of our Autumn and winter paddling doesn't help things in the UK either!

When we include the concrete WW courses there is also another aspect that affects adults. We simply do not like to be seen to fail or to look silly. Kids don't have this hang up a lot of the time. They are more open to learn through mistakes. Adults have all this stuff going through in their heads as to whether they'll look stupid, "will I get knocked about?", what if, what if, what if...

I'm as guilty of this as anyone. I have now come to the same conclusion as many others, even though I have gone through stages of disagreeing. Go to Lee Valley or Cardiff or Tryweryn etc and what do you see? What I see is beginners and intermediates going down the courses in big creek boats playing "catch the eddy". What they really need to be doing is paddling a boat like the Jackson Fun so that they can do down river moves, but be able to stick themselves into a feature... a lot. Maybe not so much at a place like Tryweryn where a swim isn't exactly pleasant. But on a course like Cardiff find a feature near the end of the course, and get stuck in. That's what I have been doing more of this year.

My girlfriend started this year with a lack of confidence. She thought she had lost her roll so we did a bit of work with that, but her transformation came when I got her using my Dagger G Force playboat. It's an old design, but easy to roll. She has now started to find her feet surfing in a hole, and she is now rolling far more than she is swimming. She has made this transformation in the last month, so that is how quickly things can change given the right circumstance. She has gone from having a morbid fear of going anywhere near a hole or wave to actually loving going upside down. She still swims occasionally (as do we all) but she now doesn't have the same hang up about a swim that she used to.

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Re: Nervous paddlers

Post by jet »

I definitely fall into the nervous paddler group when on a river. On the sea I'm relatively happy and can handle moving water, to an extent.
However, put me on a river and all the muscle memory goes and I start to look at hazards, over think the situation, freeze up and guarantee that something will foul up.

I've tried courses, clubs and one to one instruction. But not with great success.

The magic words tend to be "you're doing well". I'll be getting comfortable and relaxed and then with those three words, I'll change focus and mess it all up.

Too much instruction at once can be a bad thing at times. I tend to be a pupil who needs to understand the why, analyse the situation and then react. I feel this takes longer to reach a point where there is less thinking and more doing of things as second nature. Rolling is a perfect example of where I tried so many times with people instructing every which way. Suddenly after spending time on my own breaking the movement down and repeating again and again, it clicked.

Having ski, climbed and mountain biked in many different environments, I'd argue a little with the need for speed. Stop, think, decide and then commit. It is at the commitment stage that speed becomes useful. Hanging around mid move or second guessing once you've started a run, slows reactions down or wastes energy. I appreciate this is not always true.

In fairness, I haven't tried whitewater since I learnt to swim properly a few years ago and so maybe my confidence will have improved. It never helps if from the moment you get in a boat, there's this niggling feeling that water is not your friend. I now enjoy being underwater, blindfold, hunting for bricks. Don't ask what swimming lessons these were!

I've not gone back to rivers yet, in my head too many nasty solid things to hit and not enough time to spend learning to do it properly. That's why I have a nice shiny Robson Green LH feather paddle on my garage wall that looks like it just came out of the shop :-) My sea paddles look a lot more lived in.

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Re: Nervous paddlers

Post by Franky »

Timo50 wrote:I've been paddling for just over a year, and I'm very nervous, I did the Usk as my first trip last year and it rained heavily the night before, I capsized at Mill Falls and travelled a fair way in the water, I managed to catch a throw line eventually. I couldn't keep my head above the water, got battered by rocks and swallowed a lot of water, in all honesty, I probably wasn't ready for the trip, I can't ferry glide, break in or out but was assured by the club that I could do the trip, but I was nowhere near ready.
Did anyone show you how to ferry glide and break in and out? Bad show if not. You can't be expected to work these things out for yourself. I think they should be taught on gentle grade 2 water, where you can make mistakes and correct them without having to swim.

On my first WW trip (the Tees in medium water), the newbies were all put in one group, and given a 20-minute lesson on the basics of edging, ferry gliding and breaking in and out. This was done on some gentle grade 2- rapids at the get-in. There was plenty of subsequent swimming, but I think we benefitted greatly from the briefing. It helped that the river leaders were patient, and since we were all beginners, none of us felt too foolish when we messed things up.
As a result, I haven't been back on moving water, I really want to, as I enjoy paddling, I can roll now well in the pool and flat water, but I really don't know how to 'get back on the horse'. Maybe coaching in grade 1/2 would help. I think what makes me nervous is being in moving water and not knowing what to do, or having any skills to control the boat.
I'd have thought that a well-organised club trip would have coaching factored in (unless it's a uni club, where I gather you're just expected to get on with it).

That aside, there are ways you can learn without getting wet. I spent a lot of time poring over Eric Jackson's "Whitewater Paddling" (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Whitewater-Padd ... 0811729974). Don't be put off by how short the book is - it's very clearly and succinctly written, and he explains things in a way that makes them click - e.g. he tells you to think of your paddle as a "keel" when you want stability, and as a "sail" when you're ferry gliding (i.e. like a sailing boat, you're channelling a source of momentum, only it's moving water rather than moving air).

And there are hundreds of instructional videos on the web, some of them better than others (not all good paddlers are good at analysing their own technique).

One final thing is the benefit of regular practice. It's easy to get rusty, and I find that if I haven't been on white water for several months, I'm very nervous when I get in again. Since I discovered artificial courses, my paddling has improved a lot.

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Re: Nervous paddlers

Post by Franky »

SimonMW wrote: When we include the concrete WW courses there is also another aspect that affects adults. We simply do not like to be seen to fail or to look silly. Kids don't have this hang up a lot of the time. They are more open to learn through mistakes. Adults have all this stuff going through in their heads as to whether they'll look stupid, "will I get knocked about?", what if, what if, what if...
So true :) At LV the kids and twentysomethings are smiling, while the middle-aged dads are looking quite anxious not to appear foolish in front of their progeny.
I'm as guilty of this as anyone. I have now come to the same conclusion as many others, even though I have gone through stages of disagreeing. Go to Lee Valley or Cardiff or Tryweryn etc and what do you see? What I see is beginners and intermediates going down the courses in big creek boats playing "catch the eddy". What they really need to be doing is paddling a boat like the Jackson Fun so that they can do down river moves, but be able to stick themselves into a feature... a lot. Maybe not so much at a place like Tryweryn where a swim isn't exactly pleasant. But on a course like Cardiff find a feature near the end of the course, and get stuck in. That's what I have been doing more of this year.
I don't see what's wrong in trying to catch eddies in a creek boat. Not everyone wants to be a playboater. I never thought I did, although I am now starting to feel quite tempted, as there is only so much you can do on waves in a long, chunky Mamba.

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Re: Nervous paddlers

Post by Timo50 »

Thanks for the advice Franky, I am looking at doing an intro course with Riverstrokes, and will take a look at the book.

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Re: Nervous paddlers

Post by SimonMW »

don't see what's wrong in trying to catch eddies in a creek boat. Not everyone wants to be a playboater.
There's nothing wrong with it at all. But the reliance on doing the same basic moves feeds a mindset that prevents progression. I know, I've been through it. It's great, you can catch the eddies, maybe even get a decent boof. But when everyone else is queuing to muck about in a feature there's a reluctance to go in.

Without doubt the people I know who are confident are the ones who just chucked themselves into features from early on. They have a "Hey, let's see what happens" mindset. They aren't stupid throwing themselves into dangerous stuff, but in general they don't have any hangups about going over. For them it's all learning, which means they are more likely to give something a go on the river without the mind block that says "What happens if I can't roll up?"

It's funny, we do white water paddling because we enjoy getting wet and larking about, but then we hold back when it actually means getting wet! It isn't about becoming a play boater. I will never be a play boater. I like my days out on the river too much. However that said when there's no water, where is there? Places like Cardiff, Lee Valley etc. Both great places amongst others to be able to practice in a safe environment. Going into features will teach you balance and spacial awareness when upside down, which translates into more confidence on the river.

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Re: Nervous paddlers

Post by gp.girl »

Franky wrote:
SimonMW wrote: When we include the concrete WW courses there is also another aspect that affects adults. We simply do not like to be seen to fail or to look silly. Kids don't have this hang up a lot of the time. They are more open to learn through mistakes. Adults have all this stuff going through in their heads as to whether they'll look stupid, "will I get knocked about?", what if, what if, what if...
So true :) At LV the kids and twentysomethings are smiling, while the middle-aged dads are looking quite anxious not to appear foolish in front of their progeny.
I'm as guilty of this as anyone. I have now come to the same conclusion as many others, even though I have gone through stages of disagreeing. Go to Lee Valley or Cardiff or Tryweryn etc and what do you see? What I see is beginners and intermediates going down the courses in big creek boats playing "catch the eddy". What they really need to be doing is paddling a boat like the Jackson Fun so that they can do down river moves, but be able to stick themselves into a feature... a lot. Maybe not so much at a place like Tryweryn where a swim isn't exactly pleasant. But on a course like Cardiff find a feature near the end of the course, and get stuck in. That's what I have been doing more of this year.
I don't see what's wrong in trying to catch eddies in a creek boat. Not everyone wants to be a playboater. I never thought I did, although I am now starting to feel quite tempted, as there is only so much you can do on waves in a long, chunky Mamba.
SimonMW wrote:
don't see what's wrong in trying to catch eddies in a creek boat. Not everyone wants to be a playboater.
There's nothing wrong with it at all. But the reliance on doing the same basic moves feeds a mindset that prevents progression. I know, I've been through it. It's great, you can catch the eddies, maybe even get a decent boof. But when everyone else is queuing to muck about in a feature there's a reluctance to go in.

Without doubt the people I know who are confident are the ones who just chucked themselves into features from early on. They have a "Hey, let's see what happens" mindset. They aren't stupid throwing themselves into dangerous stuff, but in general they don't have any hangups about going over. For them it's all learning, which means they are more likely to give something a go on the river without the mind block that says "What happens if I can't roll up?"

It's funny, we do white water paddling because we enjoy getting wet and larking about, but then we hold back when it actually means getting wet! It isn't about becoming a play boater. I will never be a play boater. I like my days out on the river too much. However that said when there's no water, where is there? Places like Cardiff, Lee Valley etc. Both great places amongst others to be able to practice in a safe environment. Going into features will teach you balance and spacial awareness when upside down, which translates into more confidence on the river.
Is it throwing yourself in that makes you confident or confident people who throw themselves in?

I've seen a teenager do an amazing impression of a grumpy old man. Although he had fallen over getting in the eddy below the bridge at the beginning of the dart loop and pulled the deck with boats next to him. It all looked very much like me :) which is embarrassing when you're better than that.

Different technique in a creek boat. Must have another go at LV in the Solo and GTS to compare them to the Burn. Small boats mean you almost have to work to stay out of the eddies the Solo liked the holes. My first (lucky) good eddy out in LV I had to apologise to the person I side swiped at speed as one second I'm in the current and the next in eddy still with no idea what I'd done right!
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Re: Nervous paddlers

Post by SimonMW »

Is it throwing yourself in that makes you confident or confident people who throw themselves in?
Neither. When you are building up you need to give yourself favourable conditions (i.e. warm weather in the summer), a nice feature, and a pool out at the bottom. But primarily you need to go there and decide before you even get into your boat that you don't care if you come out and swim. That latter point is a conscious decision. If you can do that, and in fact do it on any trip, you will eliminate any chance of huffiness if it goes wrong. But this mindset has to be trained. I don't always get it myself. But I have a lot more fun when I do!

The other funny thing is that going over in a feature and rolling back up is often easier than rolling on flat water because you quite often have the water helping you with pressure on the blade. If the person is going to decide before they have got into a boat that they don't want to swim or will be annoyed if they do, or angry if they miss a roll, then they will have set themselves onto a certain path for the day from which it will be difficult to escape.

I'm not talking about setting up a negative mindset that makes them think they will swim. I mean a mindset that makes them decide before they even get into a boat that it's white water kayaking and not to mind if they swim.

Oh, and clubs need to stop having such a ridiculous attitude towards swimming. I've seen some club websites with swim counters for members. Way to go with the confidence building. Clubs have a lot to answer for when it comes to certain attitudes in paddling.

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Re: Nervous paddlers

Post by SimonMW »

Thanks for the advice Franky, I am looking at doing an intro course with Riverstrokes, and will take a look at the book.
Dan is a good guy and is great at building confidence in nervous paddlers.

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Re: Nervous paddlers

Post by gp.girl »

I always keep a personal swim tally remembering if I've swum 3 times it means I've probably capsized 3 times. Current record 5 times in 1 hour at LV and had a great day passing my assessment. I'm getting there with waves and holes but that really doesn't work if you swim a lot :)
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Re: Nervous paddlers

Post by Adrian Cooper »

SimonMW wrote:Oh, and clubs need to stop having such a ridiculous attitude towards swimming. I've seen some club websites with swim counters for members.
When I first joined our club we used to have a rule that the first swimmer on a river trip wrote the report for the newsletter. We don't do that any more. I agree, it's not helpful.

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Re: Nervous paddlers

Post by davebrads »

SimonMW wrote:Oh, and clubs need to stop having such a ridiculous attitude towards swimming. I've seen some club websites with swim counters for members. Way to go with the confidence building. Clubs have a lot to answer for when it comes to certain attitudes in paddling.
I happen to think quite the opposite to you about swim counters; I think they show beginners that swimming is normal and not to be feared, and it always makes for good banter when one of the better paddlers takes a swim.
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Re: Nervous paddlers

Post by gp.girl »

Adrian Cooper wrote:
SimonMW wrote:Oh, and clubs need to stop having such a ridiculous attitude towards swimming. I've seen some club websites with swim counters for members.
When I first joined our club we used to have a rule that the first swimmer on a river trip wrote the report for the newsletter. We don't do that any more. I agree, it's not helpful.
Thats not nice. Although you must have got a lot more reports written than most clubs! No award for swimmer of the year after it got too competitive with falling over getting in/out plus it ruins the game of sink your mate on nice sunny days. Watching one member jumping up and down on his dads mamba yelling 'sink damn it' was priceless.

Now the post paddle video review ie spot the swim is a really good idea. You can even do some coaching between the laughing.
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Re: Nervous paddlers

Post by SimonMW »

I'm getting there with waves and holes but that really doesn't work if you swim a lot :)
I agree that it seems that way. Remember I've been there myself and still do to a degree. It can take a long time, which is why kayaking often has a very long learning curve for some. But the best way to get better at a roll is to put yourself into situations where you need to roll. In other words you don't get better at something by avoiding doing it.
Rolling is a perfect example of where I tried so many times with people instructing every which way. Suddenly after spending time on my own breaking the movement down and repeating again and again, it clicked.
Completely agree. I had to do the same. A lot of roll instruction doesn't really look at what makes the roll work.

This is a great video with Eric Jackson showing a girl who had never rolled before how to roll. Interesting because you can see how he progresses her through the breakdown of movements.


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Adrian Cooper
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Re: Nervous paddlers

Post by Adrian Cooper »

gp.girl wrote: No award for swimmer of the year after it got too competitive with falling over getting in/out plus it ruins the game of sink your mate on nice sunny days.
We still have swimmer of the year but it is only awarded to very experienced paddlers who swim in embarrassing ways or places where they really shouldn't have. No-one wins the prize for a genuine mistake.

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Re: Nervous paddlers

Post by gp.girl »

I love that video it makes it look so easy :)

Never found a situation where you have to roll. Lots of ones where I should of or at least tried or even just thought about it! Difficult enough to wait for a rescue. Promise to try next time I''m in a kayak :) which is Saturday :(
I can roll :)

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Re: Nervous paddlers

Post by DaveBland »

If fear of swimming is the cause of nervousness, then swimming more is the answer.

Maybe try swimming the rapid first. I'm talking on the easy 'safe' grades of course. And drysuit or summer weather permitting. I know it sounds daft, but it'll totally mean you don't have the stigma and fear when you paddle it.

Jim's right about the temperature too. Paddling something like the Ardeche on a sit-on-top is perfect for realizing that it's actually really nice just to jump off ya boat for a while and swim down.

There's so much 'sense of failure' with swimming that helps no-one. Look at it simply. If you are paddling around in a tippy boat on moving water, from time to time, you are going to get wet. It's part of the sport. It's exactly the same with more experienced paddlers, but with rolling. From time to time, you are going to have to roll. And than from time to time, your roll won't work. It's no big deal. Everyone who paddles is as the expression goes "in-between swims".

I'm all for swim counters etc. Anything that celebrates a swim and makes it more 'normal' is great. As long as it's done in a positive way.
dave

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Re: Nervous paddlers

Post by Franky »

SimonMW wrote:
Is it throwing yourself in that makes you confident or confident people who throw themselves in?
The other funny thing is that going over in a feature and rolling back up is often easier than rolling on flat water because you quite often have the water helping you with pressure on the blade.
Quite so. For that reason, my confidence increased a lot when I managed to get a consistent left-handed roll. If you try to roll on one side and get pushed back under, it's likely you will come up dead easily if you try the other side.

It's not necessarily easy to stay calm if your first roll fails and for me it was something that came gradually. What I do do is practise rolling every time I go paddling, even on flat water.
If the person is going to decide before they have got into a boat that they don't want to swim or will be annoyed if they do, or angry if they miss a roll, then they will have set themselves onto a certain path for the day from which it will be difficult to escape.
Yes, it's much better to regard a successful roll as a bonus rather than something you have to do. That's certainly how I approached it at first. After my first white water roll, I was chuffed, because I knew then there was nothing physically or psychologically impossible about it, and from then on it was (hopefully) a matter of practice to improve my hit rate. I still expected to (and did) swim, but the very prospect of improvement was an incentive.

I'm not knocking swimming though, God knows I've done enough of it, but I've certainly enjoyed paddling more since I've been doing less of it :)

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