Rolling - advice please

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Jonathan Theobald
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Rolling - advice please

Post by Jonathan Theobald » Sat Feb 28, 2004 8:19 pm

I've been going to club sessions in the local pool in the hope of developing my roll. But although I've been at it for ages, I'm still struggling to get the hang of it. And if I do manage a roll, it's more by luck than judgement - it's certainly not reliable.

Now I'm wondering if it's worth my buying a paddle float, and how useful it would be as a learning tool.

Anyone have any experience - either as teachers, or as learners who've been able to draw conclusions from using a paddle float?


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MikeB
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Rolling

Post by MikeB » Sat Feb 28, 2004 10:54 pm

Without knowing what type of roll you're trying, and what your teacher/instructor is doing with you it's hard to comment on the challenge you're experiencing but two thoughts for you:

1) I'd suggest concentrating on the paletta roll for starters - the long leverage involved should bring you up almost everytime - in fact, one of the aussie sites has gone so far as to suggest that it should be the roll of choice in sea paddling when you just do not want to be out of the boat!

By gradully shortening the grip / hand position on the paddle you'll change it to a storm roll as a logical progression.

2) If the concept of "hip flick" is proving difficult, forget about it - think instead about raising your knee as you come up. If you've started the roll with the paddle on your left side as you capsized, then lift the right knee as the roll evolves and you come round. Think almost in terms of "ramming" your knee thro the deck!

There is a lot of material out there on the web with ideas for rolling.

As to the paddle float, I suppose it could help - worth trying.

Best of luck - its a great feeling when you get it!

Mike.

Chris S
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Rolling

Post by Chris S » Sun Feb 29, 2004 4:47 pm

I'd suggest taping something like an empty 2.5 litre plastic container to your paddle rather than buying a paddle float. You probably won't need it for very long.

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ol
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Rolling

Post by ol » Sun Feb 29, 2004 6:13 pm

I ended up buying that video 'The Kayak Roll' which was really helpful actually. It teaches mainly one type of roll but teaches it very well I think, if you can stand the cheesy American people. Now I have learned that and my roll is almost totally reliable both sides, I am trying to unlearn all that it taught me. It is best to have a 'reactive' roll rather than one in which you have to set it up. Eventually you should be able to roll from any position. Don't go on for too long with bad attempts as you will just get frustrated. try for a while and then do something else fun. try to focus on the aspects you got right rather than the fact that you may not have rolled up. Good luck, you'll get it..

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Hairy Pat
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Rolling

Post by Hairy Pat » Sun Feb 29, 2004 11:57 pm

A worth while read is 'The bombproof roll and beyond' ISBN 0-89732-085-9. The most common failing when rolling, is fetching your head up first and messing up your center of gravity (panic reflex action for breathing) :o . Concentrate on making your head the last thing to leave the water, try dropping your head onto your lower shoulder as you sweep the paddle to 90 degrees.

Good luck

Pat

Steve B
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Re: Rolling - advice please

Post by Steve B » Mon Mar 01, 2004 12:13 pm

The problem with offering specific coaching tips (as opposed to good advice such as "watch this video" or "try another instructor"(!)) is that we'd just be guessing what the problem(s) might be. Rolling is easy but it's a very feely kind of skill, no amount of discussing and explaining will be half as good as a session or two with someone who really knows how to coach it properly.

Steve B.

Jonathan Theobald
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Rolling

Post by Jonathan Theobald » Mon Mar 01, 2004 2:38 pm

Thanks for those thoughts.

Don't hear anyone recommending a paddle float as a learning tool, so it sounds as though I'm better off hanging on to my cash.

I've seen both Bombproof Roll book and cheesy American video, and thought the video particularly good. Unfortunately, neither has helped me avoid regularly making a hash of my attempts. So it sounds as though I'm just going to have to keep turning up at the pool sessions - which is no hardship, though I'd dearly like to crack it.

And if that doesn't work, I might take myself off to somewhere Play y Brenin for one of their weekend rolling courses.

The only drawback with club pool sessions is that type of roll, teaching method, and so on do depend on who's there on the night. That's never bothered me, though I suppose it might slow the learning process a little.

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ol
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Rolling

Post by ol » Mon Mar 01, 2004 6:28 pm

Yes it depends very much on who is at your pool sessions. It sounds like there is nobody there who is much help if you cannot overcome your weak points. As a previous post said, tape an empty drum or something to your paddle as a float, don't spend money on such a thing. maybe that will allow you to slow down the process. A course would be a great idea if you can afford that sort of thing but otherwise, keep cracking away and get the opinions of many people who look to have good rolls. Good advice about leaving the head in the water until last, blow bubbles for as long as possible. really try to relax, panicking while trying to roll will kill it everytime.

Chris B
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Some more thoughts

Post by Chris B » Mon Mar 01, 2004 8:51 pm

Rolling is definately something which is difficult to diagnose faults in - there are nearly as many problems as people trying to learn.

Rather than a float, I found a useful coaching technique was go to the shallower area of the pool, stand holding the bow in one hand and the blade (at the correct starting position) in the other. (Arms crossed so that they unwind on the capsize.) Coach then guides the paddle out from the boat and tries to disuade the paddler from striking too soon, eg, bang on the water when the paddle is in the right place. My first roll was achived by trying to get the paddle out at right angles, even if I didn't pull on it - by the time I'd got it into position, I was upright.

One other thing that helped me was the idea of trying to lift my hand towards my forehead, and at the same time trying to move my head away from it.

I then learned to roll C1 and (as happens with C1) rolled a lot, and didn't try to roll a kayak for 15 years. As pointed out earlier, a reflexive roll is very useful. The only problem is, once it's ingrained it's automatic - try as I might, I cannot teach my brain not to initate a C1 roll as soon as I go over, which makes rolling a kayak awkward. Despite all the advice (such as I'm giving here) I cannot now roll a kayak reliably - I can usually get up using a C1 roll - which I think just proves what a complex topic it is.

When you can't do it, you wonder why it's so difficult. Once you learn it, you wonder why it was ever a problem. Good luck.

Chris


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Jim
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Re: Some more thoughts

Post by Jim » Mon Mar 01, 2004 10:36 pm

Like Chris I would recommend you get someone to guide your paddle a bit rather than buying a paddle float for the job (I'm not saying don't buy a paddle float, you may want it for climbing back in sometime? I have to admit mine has only ever been used to try and wind up Sub5Rider, but he is unwindupable!).

I would have to disagree strongly with anyone that tells you to learn to Pawlata roll. IMO they are useless for learning. They can be completed with brute force and ignorance and you need never actually develop the right technique how ever long you better away with a pawlata.

Set up for a screw roll with your assistant on the opposite side of the boat and capsize. Relax and allow your assistant to manipulate your paddle into position if you haven't wound up far enough (if this is the case maybe a signal like them banging on the boat once it is positioned would be useful). Don't start rolling just yet, get your assistant to set the paddle up, and then after a pause or signal to start it moving out away from the boat along the surface in a sweep, with you still relaxed. As you feel this, try to continue the motion and sweep the blade right away from the boat on the surface. You should feel the point at which you need to hip flick. To try and get people to sweep properly I tell them that once upside down the forward arm wants to be pushed out straight and you want to move the paddle out from the boat in an arc that keeps it as far away from you as possible - pretend it's covered in something nasty!

Of course the above is the best way I have found to cirrect the most common problem (pulling down not sweeping out) but as someone said, everyone has a slightly different problem and sometimes the above actually does nothing to help.

Once you have mastered the screw roll (which is all technique and little brute force) it is worth trying to learn storm rolls and possibly even the pawlata, as the extra leverage may help with a fully laden boat, but I strongly recommend developing muscle memory for the technique with a reliable screw roll in the pool first.

If all else is failing change instructors regularly! After 10 minutes of failure, give up and paddle around, then come back and get someone else to help. Everyone coaches a bit differently and spots different things in your technique, or has their own slightly different hints tips or even rolling style and one might suit you better than all the rest!

Above all, sweep don't pull.

JIM

Alan M
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Re: Some more thoughts

Post by Alan M » Mon Mar 01, 2004 11:04 pm

"And if that doesn't work, I might take myself off to somewhere Play y Brenin for one of their weekend rolling courses"
I learnt to roll in the PYB pool in 1983. I went back last year because my roll was not up to scratch. Our instructor Bob Timms broke the roll down & made us re-learn which was very effective. If you spend time at PYB - when you return to the pool you can get a mate to support you & all the other things you will learn at PYB & vice versa. This will then get it all into your head in an effective manner. Then you have to take it out in the cold & make it instinctive.

Have fun

matti
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foam paddle float

Post by matti » Wed Mar 03, 2004 9:54 pm

I learned to roll using a paddle float made out of minicell foam. Dimensions 10x8x3 inches.
Cut a slit to fit a paddle blade.
A paddle float is great for exploring bracing and hip snaps and generally learning about the boat's and your limits.
Wearing goggles whilst rolling with a paddle float will help to teach you the correct position of the blade relative to the surface (the paddle cant dive with a float attached).
A foam paddle float is an excellent self rescue device when used as an aid to re-enter and roll.
A "styrofoam" float would be almost as good and cost practically nothing.

Jonathan Theobald
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Rolling

Post by Jonathan Theobald » Thu Mar 04, 2004 6:40 pm

Some good tips there; I've made notes of some things I shall concentrate on.

Pool session tomorrow; I shall report back about progress and what has helped.

I recently got a diving mask for a mid-winter snorkelling jaunt and wonder if that might make a difference. It offers remarkably good visibility and that could give me a better idea of where my paddle is and what I'm doing when I'm upside down; when I come up for air I sometimes don't have a clue which end of the pool is which.

Feedback much appreciated.



Steve B
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Re: Rolling

Post by Steve B » Thu Mar 04, 2004 7:42 pm

Think about the purpose of the float as a rolling aid. It provides buoyancy at the end of the paddle, as a substitute for achieving lift with the blade. Therefore it reinforces bad technique.

Goggles/mask - good idea. Everyone finds rolling disorienting at first, some worse than others. Being able to see is a big help. However, as soon as your roll works say three times out of four, lose the goggles and learn to do without.

Steve B.

Jonathan Theobald
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Rolling

Post by Jonathan Theobald » Sun Mar 07, 2004 6:54 pm

On Friday everything went right and I managed to roll at almost every attempt - which is a first for me.

Difficult to say what made the difference. With all happening in a few seconds it's hard to be sure what I was doing to make the difference.

But whatever it was, I'm delighted. Now I'm looking forward to the next pool session to check I can still do it..




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MikeB
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Rolling along

Post by MikeB » Sun Mar 07, 2004 7:04 pm

Well done - maybe you were keeping your head down and ramming your knee "thro the deck" :D

Steve B
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Re: Rolling along

Post by Steve B » Sun Mar 07, 2004 8:11 pm

Maybe you'd stopped trying to find a piece of equipment to fix it for you ;-) Who cares so long as it works.

Maximum of two more sessions to reinforce the technique then learn the other side...

Steve B

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Mark R
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Re: Rolling

Post by Mark R » Sun Mar 07, 2004 8:31 pm

'Difficult to say what made the difference'

Our advice, undoubtedly!

Seriously, good effort. As you as you get to the point of knowing that you can rely on your roll 'in anger' - and you will soon - then it totally transforms your paddling, as a result of the confidence that gives you.


-----------Mark Rainsley

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