First thing you coach on WW

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jsymonds
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First thing you coach on WW

Post by jsymonds » Sat Nov 26, 2016 8:57 pm

Following a point raised in another thread about a lack of guidance for teaching WW skills I am intrigued to see what people think the first thing is that paddlers new to WW should be shown?

My thoughts would be to introduce edging and how to hold a stable edge (as edging should ultimately keep you in your boat).

Let the discussion begin!

J

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Re: First thing you coach on WW

Post by Alec » Sat Nov 26, 2016 10:28 pm

Paddling forward, maintain forwards momentum, always have an active paddle in the water and never paddle backwards.

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Re: First thing you coach on WW

Post by TechnoEngineer » Sat Nov 26, 2016 11:57 pm

1) Basic reading of water (tongue, eddylines etc),
2) Boat setup - bow-heavy trim to prevent broadsiding
3) SPANGLE
4) "looking to future water with your shoulders" to automatically edge the boat.
5) Rocks are your friend, trees are your enemy. Hug rocks but don't look at them.
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Re: First thing you coach on WW

Post by Mark Dixon » Sun Nov 27, 2016 8:25 am

How to get out if you capsize and what to do once your out.

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Re: First thing you coach on WW

Post by Franky » Sun Nov 27, 2016 9:27 am

Edging, edging and edging.

Best learned in ferry-gliding across easy moving water.

Don't learn that and you will simply be a log on the river. Paddling forward and keeping an active blade are all very well, but they won't help you avoid obstacles or get into an eddy if you can't edge.

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Re: First thing you coach on WW

Post by Alec » Sun Nov 27, 2016 9:51 am

You can get into an eddy without edging. Keep the boat flat and paddle forward over the eddy line at the top of the eddy and keep paddling until you reach the back of the eddy out of the way of anyone else following you.

Do need to teach edging for breaking in and ferry gliding but wouldn't be the first thing I teach.

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Re: First thing you coach on WW

Post by Kayak-Bloke » Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:07 am

I explain it in 'rules'.
Rule 1 is always sit upright and if it gets exciting lean forward.

Rule 2- always look where you want the boat to go.

Rule 3- A paddle in the water is useful. A paddle out of the water is just something to carry.

Etc

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Simon
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Re: First thing you coach on WW

Post by Simon » Sun Nov 27, 2016 11:55 am

Just to add to the debate - have a look at these.

They are copies of Canoeist Magazine articles I wrote about 20 years ago about teaching WW skills. At the time they got a mixed response - some liked them but many did not. I did get a request about ten years back from somebody in Germany who wanted to translate the articles and publish them in a German boating magazine so somebody thought there was value there.


http://www.simondawson.com/Canoeist/kcc4a.jpg

http://www.simondawson.com/Canoeist/kcc4b.jpg


http://www.simondawson.com/Canoeist/kcc5a.jpg

http://www.simondawson.com/Canoeist/kcc5b.jpg


I think there might still be some interest in these ideas. Perhaps they were published before their time and might be of more use now. Let me know what you think. There are about eight articles in the series and I could easily put them all up on-line if people are interested.

Simon

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Re: First thing you coach on WW

Post by morsey » Sun Nov 27, 2016 12:06 pm

First thing would be to assess the ability of the people you are about to coach. You'll unlikely know what you need to do until you've gauged that aspect.

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Re: First thing you coach on WW

Post by DaveBland » Sun Nov 27, 2016 3:55 pm

Not even being close to a coachy type, but wouldn't it all start with a 'classroom' session that covers ALL the basics of edging, reading/using water and of course safety?

Then, edging as the first practical.
dave

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Re: First thing you coach on WW

Post by twopigs » Sun Nov 27, 2016 4:45 pm

You can teach edging, forward paddling, positive trim, looking in the direction of travel with shoulders, exiting boat when upside down on flat water

I try to start with eddy line spins (in gentle flow) to start the edging process - that starts the break in and out ideas and leads to ferry gliding. Then work my way up the eddy line towards faster flows. Active blade and forward (positive) strokes can be added as you go along.

And as Simon implies - modify to meet the student's needs as you progress!
Canoeing - bigger boat, broken paddle, more skill!

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Re: First thing you coach on WW

Post by davebrads » Sun Nov 27, 2016 6:11 pm

DaveBland wrote:Not even being close to a coachy type, but wouldn't it all start with a 'classroom' session
In my opinion, definitely not. I find on the whole that adults are far harder to teach than kids, and it is mostly because they try to understand what is going on before they will try anything and this is really the wrong way round (not always though, some adults are quite gung-ho while some kids are more cautious). What I try to do is to get them to feel what the water does to the boat, and then give them strategies for dealing with it, and in this way the learning is more organic and I believe leads to more natural paddlers. I try to only explain why something works after they have learnt to do it. I say try to because some people just keep asking questions and I find myself being drawn into answering when I know they would be much better just getting on with it. I must be more resolute in future.

The first thing I teach is the sweep stroke, though this is on flat water. In fact I will teach them basic forward paddling before going onto moving water because they won't get anywhere otherwise. I won't be too bothered about their style as long as it is functional, because without this they will naturally use reverse strokes to steer the boat and that isn't a good thing when you are trying to teach them to keep an active blade (not that you will mention active blade in the early stages, "keep paddling" gets the point across a lot better). Then when we move onto moving water it will be edging as others have said.
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Re: First thing you coach on WW

Post by Dave Manby » Sun Nov 27, 2016 7:23 pm

Alec wrote:Paddling forward, maintain forwards momentum, always have an active paddle in the water and never paddle backwards.
That's my technique destroyed then!

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Re: First thing you coach on WW

Post by gp.girl » Sun Nov 27, 2016 7:55 pm

Dave Manby wrote:
Alec wrote:Paddling forward, maintain forwards momentum, always have an active paddle in the water and never paddle backwards.
That's my technique destroyed then!
Well thats not going to make for a good carnage video!

The only thing I coach on WW is 'you see the coach over there do what they say not what I do'
I can roll :)

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Re: First thing you coach on WW

Post by stonercanoe » Sun Nov 27, 2016 8:36 pm

Swimming. On a lovely Summer's day ditch the boat, get every one swimming. Make it fun, removes anxiety about swimming and teaches first hand about eddys etc. Obviously doesn't work in winter and not everyone's cup of tea!
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Re: First thing you coach on WW

Post by Badknee » Mon Nov 28, 2016 7:44 am

Use the force! Of the water that is, don't fight it use it. In other words, start to read it then get in and play with edges, swimming or paddle strokes depending on the experience of the person. I don't think there is one size fits all but I am not a coach (in this sport anyway).
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Re: First thing you coach on WW

Post by scottdog007 » Mon Nov 28, 2016 8:02 am

Having coached paddlers through the 2 star, getting them to edge and do support strokes all on flat water. Low braces are horrible on flat water. I then took them to Hurley weir on low level, left them a bit to experiment and get the feel on the different type of waters there (kinaesthetics). Then again explained, demonstrated and got them to edge in surfing areas. This for them was an eye opener, now they know how important edging is in moving water. Many were not holding the edge and so would get a nervous twitch and pulled by the current. But they soon learned edging.

All this in a nice safe environment, easy to solve if an incident occurs.

Edging. tilt your boat using your knee on one side to lift that side. Try and keep the upper body vertical and try avoiding leaning over to force the boat on edge. Remember upper torso is seen as being separate from lower, (ie. your are not one ridged member in a boat)

Later I got them ferry gliding across the main stream putting the boat at 10/11 o'clock paddling from the right, putting a bit of edge on.

Then later breaking into the main flow. So punching over eddy line, 10/11 o'clock bit of edge. Then put in a turn (in main stream not on eddy line). Turn can be bow rudder then later introduce low brace turn. (lean forward while doing the turn).

Practice, practice, practice and this was loads of info for one session may be too much.

They loved it.

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Re: First thing you coach on WW

Post by SimonMW » Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:38 am

First thing would be to assess the ability of the people you are about to coach. You'll unlikely know what you need to do until you've gauged that aspect.
Read my mind.

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Re: First thing you coach on WW

Post by Franky » Mon Nov 28, 2016 12:27 pm

SimonMW wrote:
First thing would be to assess the ability of the people you are about to coach. You'll unlikely know what you need to do until you've gauged that aspect.
Read my mind.
The OP asked what the first thing to teach "paddlers new to WW" is. So their WW ability is, by definition, zero. Once they've started, some will learn faster than others, but that won't affect the order in which techniques should be introduced.

You can of course assess the paddlers' proficiency on flat water, but any that aren't proficient on flat water aren't ready for white water, period.

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Re: First thing you coach on WW

Post by SimonMW » Mon Nov 28, 2016 12:36 pm

Ok I'll bite. You need to teach breaking in and out. Without that there's no point in going any further. Oh, and none of that low bracing rubbish while they are doing it. I can't believe how many people are still teaching such an outdated, passive, defensive, and unstable way of carrying out such manoeuvres.

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Re: First thing you coach on WW

Post by scottdog007 » Mon Nov 28, 2016 1:16 pm

SimonMW wrote:Ok I'll bite. You need to teach breaking in and out. Without that there's no point in going any further. Oh, and none of that low bracing rubbish while they are doing it. I can't believe how many people are still teaching such an outdated, passive, defensive, and unstable way of carrying out such manoeuvres.
See the top boys and girls running ww and you will see them all using low brace. Its a good tool to have in your tool kit. I think a big reason it is encourage other than it is a great technique to have, is there is less chance of pulling your joints compared to high brace.

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Re: First thing you coach on WW

Post by SimonMW » Mon Nov 28, 2016 1:45 pm

See the top boys and girls running ww and you will see them all using low brace.
Not as a primary technique you wont, and only quite rarely. In other words you will hardly ever see them using such techniques mid rapid. Only as an absolute last resort if they have messed up something and totally lost all momentum/line. And you will never, ever see them using it to break in and out of eddies. And you will never see them practicing doing low and high braces as if they are the go to technique of the day.

But I am trying to think of when I have ever seen footage of Sam Sutton, Marianne Seather, Anil and Gerd Serrasolses, etc using low braces. I can't think of an occasion. Certainly never saw them doing anything like that while practicing on the Wellebrucke, or on any online videos I've seen of them.

Go to any top level coach in the UK, and I can guarantee you that if they saw you low bracing your way in and out of eddies, or defensively doing it down rapids, they would make it their mission of the day to get you to stop!

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Re: First thing you coach on WW

Post by Alec » Mon Nov 28, 2016 2:04 pm

They may use low braces but they aren't using low braces for breaking in and out.

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Re: First thing you coach on WW

Post by DaveBland » Mon Nov 28, 2016 4:02 pm

davebrads wrote:
DaveBland wrote:Not even being close to a coachy type, but wouldn't it all start with a 'classroom' session
In my opinion, definitely not.
I'll totally bow to your expertise on this, but it does seem to me that having an understanding of the way rivers work – the directions the water flows around features and the tactics for getting down a river – is key to paddling ww. Understanding the end goal is key to learning for me. Although as you say, kids just get on and do it, whatever...
dave

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Re: First thing you coach on WW

Post by Simon » Mon Nov 28, 2016 5:30 pm

DaveBland wrote:
davebrads wrote:
DaveBland wrote:Not even being close to a coachy type, but wouldn't it all start with a 'classroom' session
In my opinion, definitely not.
I'll totally bow to your expertise on this, but it does seem to me that having an understanding of the way rivers work – the directions the water flows around features and the tactics for getting down a river – is key to paddling ww. Understanding the end goal is key to learning for me. Although as you say, kids just get on and do it, whatever...
I agree with you Dave that some teaching on "the way rivers work" is vital, especially about eddies and eddy lines. I am an engineer at heart, and an understanding of water flow is vital to my own paddling and the way that I taught. But I found it quite possible to do this outside the class-room.

It is quite simple to draw the necessary pictures with a stick on a sandy beach, or with a few pebbles. And letting your students look from an actual eddy, then at your diagram, and then back to the eddy, works well.

Simon

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Re: First thing you coach on WW

Post by Chas C » Mon Nov 28, 2016 5:37 pm

How to count fish when on the move underwater, the art of tickling trout........

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Re: First thing you coach on WW

Post by feedbackproblem » Mon Nov 28, 2016 7:26 pm

scottdog007 wrote:
SimonMW wrote:Ok I'll bite. You need to teach breaking in and out. Without that there's no point in going any further. Oh, and none of that low bracing rubbish while they are doing it. I can't believe how many people are still teaching such an outdated, passive, defensive, and unstable way of carrying out such manoeuvres.
See the top boys and girls running ww and you will see them all using low brace. Its a good tool to have in your tool kit. I think a big reason it is encourage other than it is a great technique to have, is there is less chance of pulling your joints compared to high brace.
I think that the reason it is taught to beginners is that it's the easiest and most basic recovery stroke for them to perform so it is what is most likely to help them stay upright whilst they learn the principles of edging whilst breaking in/out. At the point at which a white water novice has tipped so far over to one side that a high-brace becomes a reasonable stroke choice I think they're pretty certain to be going for a swim.

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Re: First thing you coach on WW

Post by jsymonds » Mon Nov 28, 2016 8:12 pm

SimonMW wrote:
See the top boys and girls running ww and you will see them all using low brace.
Not as a primary technique you wont, and only quite rarely. In other words you will hardly ever see them using such techniques mid rapid. Only as an absolute last resort if they have messed up something and totally lost all momentum/line. And you will never, ever see them using it to break in and out of eddies. And you will never see them practicing doing low and high braces as if they are the go to technique of the day.

But I am trying to think of when I have ever seen footage of Sam Sutton, Marianne Seather, Anil and Gerd Serrasolses, etc using low braces. I can't think of an occasion. Certainly never saw them doing anything like that while practicing on the Wellebrucke, or on any online videos I've seen of them.

Go to any top level coach in the UK, and I can guarantee you that if they saw you low bracing your way in and out of eddies, or defensively doing it down rapids, they would make it their mission of the day to get you to stop!
I'm surprised at the negative connotations the low brace has, many modern coaches are pushing the 'active blade' concept and the low brace can be another form of this if used positively and in the right context.

A few benefits:
Less likely to trip in shallow water catching the blade
Better than not having any contact with the water at all
Can aid trunk rotation and help maintain positive posture
Can also aid edging as weight needs to be transferred for the blade to make good contact with the water
Keeps the blade active between power strokes if trailed across the top of water through turns
Helps keep weight on the hull to create stable base of support in holes (opposed to high braces putting weight on on the blade)
You can land small drops or come out of stoppers on a low brace to proactively choose what side you are going to land on
You can transfer to a high brace from a low brace quickly (with good technique)
Less likely to end up leaning back and risking shoulder hyper-extension
Can aid quick edge transitions if planned and used proactively

All of the above obviously based on being shown how to do it correctly!

I'd like to think at least a few of the above points create a good enough reason for modern coaches to show and develop the low brace :)

J

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Re: First thing you coach on WW

Post by davebrads » Mon Nov 28, 2016 8:42 pm

The low brace is the main culprit preventing transition to paddling on moving water. The paddler is taught it as a way of preventing capsize when in actual fact it does nothing of the sort. Whenever I have observed the low brace being taught the students are asked to rock the boat to one side and use the low brace to recover, but what actually is happening is they are simply rocking the boat to the side, and the boat would rock back even if they did nothing with their paddle! Now when the boat rocks on moving water, usually on breaking into the current because they don't have enough edge, they automatically revert to what they were taught on flat water, and of course it doesn't work. In fact if anything it accelerates the capsize as the low brace is now being performed on the upstream side of the boat, the pushes on top of the blade and any chance the paddler had of recovering has now gone.

I'm not totally happy with all the benefits you describe either
jsymonds wrote:A few benefits:
Less likely to trip in shallow water catching the blade
Do you mean when used in a low brace break-in rather than a high brace break-in? This view has been put to me before, but we shouldn't be teaching the use of a brace stroke on the break-in anyway, it only makes them fall in more.
jsymonds wrote:Better than not having any contact with the water at all
Disagree - see explanation above
jsymonds wrote:Can aid trunk rotation and help maintain positive posture
I don't see how
jsymonds wrote:Can also aid edging as weight needs to be transferred for the blade to make good contact with the water
So you want the paddler to lean on the back of the blade? hmmm.....
jsymonds wrote:Keeps the blade active between power strokes if trailed across the top of water through turns
Much better just to take another stroke, this technique is only going to slow the boat down.
jsymonds wrote:Helps keep weight on the hull to create stable base of support in holes (opposed to high braces putting weight on on the blade)
So now the paddler isn't leaning on the blade? Leaning on the brace stroke is bad technique whether on the high or low brace. I agree that in a hole the low brace is the default option, and from my point of view that is the time to introduce it, when the paddler has developed to the point of being able to sit in a stopper. A good paddler will use high and low braces in stoppers depending upon the situation.
jsymonds wrote:You can land small drops or come out of stoppers on a low brace to proactively choose what side you are going to land on
and slow the boat down so that it gets sucked back into the stopper. Bad practice.
jsymonds wrote:You can transfer to a high brace from a low brace quickly (with good technique)
Absolutely
jsymonds wrote:Less likely to end up leaning back and risking shoulder hyper-extension
True, but we should be teaching the paddler the use of the active blade to prevent capsize, not a brace of any sort
jsymonds wrote:Can aid quick edge transitions if planned and used proactively
I'm afraid I don't get this one at all

I'm not totally against the low brace, it has its place - surfing for instance - and I use it myself often enough as a rescue/turning stroke, but as mentioned above mostly because I've made a mistake.
it's not a playboat, it's a river runner

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Re: First thing you coach on WW

Post by DaveBland » Mon Nov 28, 2016 9:20 pm

DaveBland wrote:...start with a 'classroom' session that covers ALL the basics of edging, reading/using water and of course safety?

Okay, I guess the inverted commas around classroom weren't enough of a clue that I didn't mean a literal classroom. I should have just indicated that I thought it best to cover things in theory and explain context, before putting into practise.
dave

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