The best advice that you have been given.

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Badknee
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The best advice that you have been given.

Post by Badknee » Sun Apr 10, 2016 4:16 pm

I have been asked by my nephew to seek ideas about this topic. He is doing an essay about technical and physiological advice that has made the greatest impact on improving performance in sport and specifically paddling. Any contributions would be welcomed.

As soon as I started thinking about this I realised that context is important and this includes the experience of th paddler and their stage of development. For example, one bit advice that was important in my early paddling career was "lean forward." At the time this improved stability in a range of situations but with greater experience the importance of posture, trim, forward paddling technique, to name a few, were more important. At the time, lean forward addressed a specific problem. Another one, I have used in a range of sports is visualising the intended outcome. This works well if you have the skills to implement the visualisation. E.g. When to apply a particular stroke to achieve a move. Anyhow, if you have any suggestions, I will pass them on to him.
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Re: The best advice that you have been given.

Post by yabbadabba » Sun Apr 10, 2016 7:06 pm

For me a particular quote sticks in my mind and it was "Learning is the Journey". The discussion was about kayak surfing and how you just cant learn the skills by watching videos, reading books, watching other people or being instructed. You have to go and play in the surf in various conditions to build up your experience then learn how to surf. The discussion was generally about learning curves and how some people expect to buy all of the gear and hit the water with instant surf god ability.

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Re: The best advice that you have been given.

Post by Chaos19810 » Sun Apr 10, 2016 9:36 pm

When I did a lot of sprint and marathon racing the one thing that stuck with me was "win, lose or draw your always learning" when you stop learning stop the sport"

I don't compete anymore but I use that same idea when I'm on the river or play boating. Alway analysing what I do and how I could do it better or do it right.


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Re: The best advice that you have been given.

Post by Strad » Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:03 am

Whatever you are doing, do it with a smile - humour in adversity.

It may sound odd but if you learn how to see the funny side of things, you will perform better. For example, falling over and hurting your knee during on the long portage on a marathon event, a quick laugh, about what a muddy twit you look and crack on will have you performing better through the rest of the event compared to feeling sorry for yourself.
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Re: The best advice that you have been given.

Post by TechnoEngineer » Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:41 am

For me, 4 things:
1) I was once told that, whenever a tragedy occurs, usually more than 1 of the following 3 criteria had changed:
a) Equipment
b) Environment
c) People

So I try to make sure that only 1 of those things changes at any time.

2) "what went well, even better if" in the realms of giving feedback in coaching, as opposed to the so-called "shit sandwich" which should not be done.

3) The "circle of excellence" NLP technique - associating success from the past with something you're about to do

4) Coaching again - 3 key points
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Re: The best advice that you have been given.

Post by Adrian Cooper » Mon Apr 11, 2016 11:46 am

Thinking about the thrust of the essay on physiological issues, I have found that any routine which involves pulling in towards your body works much better than pushing away. Less so in kayaking but in canoeing there are a few strokes which involve pushing away and the stroke can be made much stronger to execute if you can engage the opposite set of muscles.

Simple example would be the pry which is often called the push away, people quickly work out that using a lever against the side of the boat can turn this into a pull at the top hand rather than a push with the bottom hand.

Less common is the sculling pry which requires your lower hand to resist the pressure of the water, it is possible to switch the angle of the blade to allow both the forward and backward elements of the stroke to involve muscles pulling into your body.

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Re: The best advice that you have been given.

Post by SimonMW » Mon Apr 11, 2016 12:48 pm

The best advice I was given was to relax (implementing that is still a whole different thing though!)

The worst advice I have been given is each and every time Will Mead has suggested a line on a river.

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Re: The best advice that you have been given.

Post by Jim » Mon Apr 11, 2016 12:58 pm

Breathe.

The specific context was freestyle, and as I recall it was something Jacko told me in the party tent after the first NSR in Nottingham.
Essentially he had observed that when I dropped into the muncher for a run, I had a tendancy to hold my breath and breathe only in gulps.
This has a number of effects on the body:
- it restricts the flow of oxygen, and as we probably already know, getting oxygen into your red blood cells is absolutely key to efficient performance - Lance Armstrong was identified as doing this very efficiently for many years before it was revealed that drugs had been used to increase his oxygen absorption, and it was the key to his success.
- you have to tense a bunch of chest and back muscles in order to hold your breath, which means they are locked up already when you want to rotate your trunk to execute a manouevre, the result being you simply don't get full range of motion
- as the level of CO2 in your lungs increases, although subconsciously to start with, you will be shifting concentration away from the task at hand to make sure you don't let the breath go (even more tension builds up)
- finally you have to take a breath, you will of course time it for when there is no water around your nose and mouth, but it will most likely be a short sharp exhale followed by a sharp inhale. Consider what your chest and back muscles have to do to allow this, 2 pretty big spasms in close succession - what does that do to your balance and fine edge control of your playboat (it was a squashed spud in those days but still required fine control)

Although Jacko gave me this advice relating to playing in the muncher, it is relevant in all paddling and especially in times of stress where there is a clear automatic reaction to start breathing in gulps.

I see a lot of people doing it when running rapids - photos and video are great tools, if you or your buddy looks like a hamster in paddling photos it is probably down to holding your/their breath. All the above effects are relevant, you might not be trying to initiate some kind of spinny move in a hole, but if your trunk rotation is reduced the efficiency of your paddle strokes will be reduced, and you won't be able to put maximum power into say your boof stroke because your reach is a couple of inches is shorter and your rotation is slowed by fighting your own body.
Look at photos of slalom paddlers and you will see different facial contortions, generally mouth open blowing and sucking as much air in and out as possible - fortunately ordinary river running doesn't require such hard breathing just maintaining a steady rhythm

It's not just rapids, on the sea and in surf I have found myself delaying breaths for various reasons - because your body tenses up it will affect your ability to ride out the waves (need to remain as relaxed as possible), so when conditions are causing that I concentrate on trying to find a breathing rhythm that fits the waves.

Even on flatwater, if the paddler is nervous (new to boats, or more experienced and trying a say, sprint boat for the first time) they will tend to hold their breathe, tense up their torso and inevitably struggle, or fall in.

Get your breathing right, and everything else will follow.

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Re: The best advice that you have been given.

Post by Jim » Mon Apr 11, 2016 12:59 pm

SimonMW wrote:The best advice I was given was to relax (implementing that is still a whole different thing though!)

The worst advice I have been given is each and every time Will Mead has suggested a line on a river.
Get your breathing right, that will allow you to relax....

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Re: The best advice that you have been given.

Post by Chalky723 » Mon Apr 11, 2016 1:19 pm

SimonMW wrote:The best advice I was given was to relax
Same for me - learning to relax has kept me upright going unintentionally backwards through stuff I'd have had trouble with forwards a couple of years ago!

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Re: The best advice that you have been given.

Post by DaveBland » Mon Apr 11, 2016 3:27 pm

TechnoEngineer wrote: ...whenever a tragedy occurs, usually more than 1 of the following 3 criteria had changed:
a) Equipment
b) Environment
c) People
Very true! I would add to that a "3 strikes" rule I have. It's more to do with circumstance, but for example, if you end up leaving late as someone slept in [strike one], one of the group is badly hungover [strike 2] and then you are there late and it's risking getting dark [strike 3]. You are done. Call its day and stay safe. when more than two negative factors happen, you are asking for issues.

I also agree with the "Lean forward" advice.
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Re: The best advice that you have been given.

Post by scottdog007 » Mon Apr 11, 2016 4:03 pm

Keep an Active paddle! (well in white water)

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Re: The best advice that you have been given.

Post by PaddyW » Tue Apr 12, 2016 12:15 pm

P.M.A. and P.L.F!

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Re: The best advice that you have been given.

Post by Franky » Tue Apr 12, 2016 1:01 pm

SimonMW wrote:The best advice I was given was to relax
It's amazing how much physical energy you can expend doing stuff that isn't required if you relax.

Was reminded of this recently when I mistimed my entry into a stopper for some surfing, and expected to be tipped over, but found myself at just the right angle to keep bobbing there, without even having my paddle in the water. Made me see I make too heavy work of my paddling, due to fear of putting myself at the water's mercy.

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Re: The best advice that you have been given.

Post by steveg » Tue Apr 12, 2016 1:05 pm

Look up and in the direction you want your boat to go - Instantly transformed my paddling from terrible to just quite bad.

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Re: The best advice that you have been given.

Post by Adrian Cooper » Tue Apr 12, 2016 2:48 pm

Franky wrote:It's amazing how much physical energy you can expend doing stuff that isn't required if you relax.
Do we need another negative in there?

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Re: The best advice that you have been given.

Post by Jim » Tue Apr 12, 2016 5:25 pm

I don't think so. It is awkwardly worded but seems to say that relaxing will save energy.

This can of course be a difficult concept, we are talking about 'relax' in terms of not being nervous and tense, not relax as in don't bother to paddle or as in just be lazy. Sometimes beginners do get the wrong end of the stick and go for one of the latter meanings.... which just leads to annhilition, and more nervous tension the next time they get in a boat!

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Re: The best advice that you have been given.

Post by DaveBland » Tue Apr 12, 2016 7:33 pm

Jim wrote:...don't bother to paddle or as in just be lazy
Hey, this advance technique has seen me right for many years!
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Re: The best advice that you have been given.

Post by feedbackproblem » Wed Apr 13, 2016 12:24 pm

Don't watch the shit ones.

I was psyching myself up to have a crack at Serpent's Tail (my first bit of G4) and had just watched the coach give a perfect demonstration when I decided to wait and watch some of the other paddlers in the group come down first to see how they managed. Another very experience paddler came up to me and told me that I'd just seen exactly how it should be run and if I was going to have a go at it I should get in my boat and give it a shot, "don't watch the shit ones" because they will probably either get it wrong and swim which will put you off or get it wrong and survive which will lead you astray.

Unless I'm providing safety cover, if I'm running something at the top end of my ability I'll watch someone who I know will nail the line and then get in my boat before anyone else can confuse me by doing something different.

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Re: The best advice that you have been given.

Post by jsymonds » Wed Apr 13, 2016 6:57 pm

A coach once told me to 'paddle like you're being watched' with this in mind I found that I slowed down to ensure my technique was correct which then improved my paddling dramatically, it also meant that I adopted something of a 'role model' mindset trying to set a good example for others to follow (ensuring that I always wore correct equipment, carried boats safely, used suitable access points, set appropriate safety, etc.).

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Re: The best advice that you have been given.

Post by Adrian Cooper » Thu Apr 14, 2016 10:18 am

Jim wrote:I don't think so. It is awkwardly worded but seems to say that relaxing will save energy.
I read it as:

If you relax, it's amazing how much physical energy you can expend doing stuff that isn't required .

Merely swapping the clauses round. Sorry Franky, I'm a bit of a pedant; I'm sure everyone knew what you meant, Jim certainly did.

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Re: The best advice that you have been given.

Post by MikeVeal » Thu Apr 14, 2016 12:40 pm

If you have the slightest concern that the conditions are iffy, don't take your kit with you when you inspect.

OK this was advice on paragliding, where it's easier to leave the kit in the car whilst you have a look see, but the principal is a good one.

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Re: The best advice that you have been given.

Post by sundaykayaker » Thu Apr 14, 2016 3:00 pm

Paddle, paddle, PADDLE. & u will be fine. :)

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Re: The best advice that you have been given.

Post by Badknee » Thu Apr 14, 2016 7:00 pm

Thanks everyone I have passed on your contributions. There are some really interesting ideas on here and much that has reminded me of advice I have been given. I remember being told to relax which made me tense because I thought I was relaxed and now I had something else to worry about. I was also told to breath once and that a good way to do this was to sing. After all, in rapids, nobody hears you sing. I am not sure if I sing often when paddling now but I do talk to myself. It works for me....
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