Pulling left

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Bobby Dee
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Pulling left

Post by Bobby Dee » Sun Dec 01, 2019 10:13 pm

Hi there,

I'm paddling sit and switch in a wenonah advantage and am experiencing a tendency to see much more left turn as i paddle on the right, so much so that I'm often at a 3/4 to 6 stroke ratio between sides. The boat is straight, my mate has no such issues in it, and I'm sat central. I do have a less solid stroke on the right, presumably due to a weaker left arm for placing and driving the stroke but it's pretty subtle. Paddle is as close to the boat as can be both sides and angle is similar.

Any suggestions? Poor trim making minor differences worse? Anything else?
Many thanks, Bob.

twopigs
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Re: Pulling left

Post by twopigs » Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:50 am

If you were paddling on one side and using a J-stroke would it be your left or right side?? I have noticed that some paddlers have a "good" grip on the paddle on their on side so that the paddle blade is perpendicular to the keel line whereas on their off side the paddle blade is not perpendicular to the keel line and they then go off line!
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Chris Bolton
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Re: Pulling left

Post by Chris Bolton » Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:28 am

I do have a less solid stroke on the right
That's the opposite of what I'd expect if you're pulling to the left.

If you can get somebody to video you, I think you might spot differences on each side that aren't obvious while paddling. Some other things, if you haven't checked already: put a bit of tape on the gunwale where you plant, and again where you lift out, and check whether they're the same both sides. Also check the depth of the blade into the water - my left side J stroke was much less effective and it was because I was lifting the paddle toward the end of the stroke. Is the boat leaning at all?

Bobby Dee
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Re: Pulling left

Post by Bobby Dee » Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:18 am

Hi both, thanks for the replies.

Twopigs, I'm right handed and i assume I'd J stroke that side but haven't spent any time on it yet. I have sensed a non-perpendicular catch to the right so I'll work on that.

Chris, yes agree, it seems counterintuitive. The boat isn't leaning significantly other than a deliberate edge to assist turns. I also note that i have differing levels of body rotation as i find myself looking at the bank when paddling left but less so when on the right. I have spent a while in K1s where rotation is key to good use of a wing but I'm not sure how much you'd do this for sit switch canoe paddle. Videoing may be unlikely but I'll certainly try marking some key positions on the gunnels, thanks.

Cheers, Bob.

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Re: Pulling left

Post by twopigs » Mon Dec 02, 2019 11:24 am

It does sound as if your natural on-side should be the right so driving the boat towards the left seems "normal". I would defo go with markers on the gunnels to see if your stroke length is even - but you may be rotating the body more to one side than the other at the catch ......

There is so much going on when forward paddling that analysis without observation is tricky!
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Bobby Dee
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Re: Pulling left

Post by Bobby Dee » Mon Dec 02, 2019 11:42 am

Thanks twopigs, all good points. I'll see if i can set a gopro up on the rear grab handle rather than going by feel.

Bob.

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Re: Pulling left

Post by Chris Bolton » Mon Dec 02, 2019 11:55 am

I also note that i have differing levels of body rotation as i find myself looking at the bank when paddling left but less so when on the right.
That could suggest you are not rotating forward at the catch when on the left, which would be consistent with a less effective left stroke.
rotation is key to good use of a wing but I'm not sure how much you'd do this for sit switch canoe paddle
I don't do sit & switch but I'd expect rotation to be important for every kind of paddling.

It would be useful to work out whether the problem is that you're putting less driving force in on the left, or that you're doing something on the right which is having an abnormal turning effect.

Bobby Dee
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Re: Pulling left

Post by Bobby Dee » Mon Dec 02, 2019 3:28 pm

Chris,

Good point about whether I've got a bad right side or a weak left side. My sense is that the right hand side is deficient and i think this has a lot to do with my left hand control and drive of the paddle. Speed, catch, pull, all that seems good on the left, my dominant right hand taking a more active role. US paddlers report 5-7 strokes each side in an advantage, it's 16.5' with nil rocker.

Very good points made all round so i need to go away, try to video myself and spend a few hours doing more controlled paddling and assessment. As it is i tend to hammer along, I'm pretty strong and the river has hefty flow on it right now so it's all a bit frantic. I can also see some clues to my errors in the responses I've given.

Thanks everyone, I'll let you know how i get on.

Bob.

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Jim
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Re: Pulling left

Post by Jim » Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:55 am

It can be quite hard to rotate effectively in a canoe if you are trying to keep the paddle close to the boat, I really struggle with it, and I'm a kneeler who doesn't switch so I don't even have to worry about whether I do better one side or the other! (I probably do need to learn to paddle on the other side). You will probably be rotating, but are you getting the same catch, and is the rotation driving, or just following an arm pull?

I think video will be most useful, try to get it from both ends of the boat. Although your paddle may seem close to the boat on both sides details like the height of your top hand will determine the shaft angle and thus how wide the blade path actually is. Also as mentioned whether you are doing some kind of pitch stroke on one side or naturally adding a J or other correction element on one side, or as Chris describes over rotating and lifting water on the lift out on one side (I may be doing this in kayak, left shoulder twinges on the lift out when there should be no load, just movement, but equally it could just be that I need to work more on the knots on that side).

Whilst trying to work on a technique problem, you need to try to back off (not easy with strong flow in the river) and concentrate on trying to make each stroke as good as you can at maybe 80% effort or less. As my coach says, you can't train to paddle fast except by paddling fast, but your speed-power curve is exponential so you can get most of the way to top speed at quite a bit less than maximum effort. As you get the technique settled, then increase the pull and cadence.

Also thinking - training on a river, do you go upstream and downstream? Just wondering if the turn to the left is actually a flow/eddyline issue rather than a technique thing, although I'm sure you cover enough ground that it would even out over time so unlikely to be that. I train on a river (WWR), and one of the left bends on my training section I can take fastest by paddling straight at the outside (right) of the corner and then steering (by edging) to the right once the flow has almost turned my bow far enough left to get my exit line - if I steer left or don't steer at all, the boat will turn too much to the left just due to the flow. That's on my way back, completely different line paddling up it on the way out - by the way this is apparently flat water, the only indication that it moves is that when there is no wind you can see a vee spreading out downstream of a mooring buoy, if it is windy the waves disguise this until I get quite close.

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Adrian Cooper
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Re: Pulling left

Post by Adrian Cooper » Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:01 am

Video sounds like it might be complicated but you could just get a mate to use his phone whilst you paddle towards him

There is also a free app called Coach's Eye or something like that and you can put two videos side by side. Maybe you could compare yours with your mate's

Bobby Dee
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Re: Pulling left

Post by Bobby Dee » Tue Dec 03, 2019 8:39 pm

Hi Jim,

Yep, video is the way ahead here , along with dialling it back as you suggest to work on consistency. Upstream and downstream every time, yes i do get turned quite often on the bends but this is lessening as i learn river position better. I'm seeing the left turn mid channel on the straights too.

Adrian, thanks, I'll check the app.

K2 this weekend so I'll report back when i get out in the canoe.

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