Saturday, 11 August 2007 19:52

Teaching forward stroke better - A challenge for instructors

Forward StrokeKayaking instructors, I have a challenge for you.

When we teach forward stroke, we emphasize using torso rotation for greater endurance and strength rather then just using our arms. I have absolutely no problem with it. It makes sense to me as an advanced paddler and I believe strongly in it.

When I teach it, maybe it is just me, but I notice that beginner students eyes glaze over when I starting talking about torso rotation. They have absolutely no concept of it and 3 minutes after the lesson, they are back to using their arms 100% again. I was the same way when I was taught proper forward paddling.

It got me thinking, where is the disconnect? Is it the overall concept that students can't grasp? Is it to theoretical and not tangible enough? I'm not sure.

Is there a better way that we can be explaining it?

Here is the challenge for you; is there a way to teach forward stroke with good torso rotation without talking about torso rotation or even using the term "Torso Rotation"? Is it possible?

I'm looking for your examples, tips and tricks, teaching aid ideas, anything that can make good forward paddling as simple as possible yet still efficient.

Post your comment below so others can learn from your experience. If you have problems posting your comment, feel free to email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I can post your ideas for others to follow along.

Thanks in advance. Questions? Post them below.


David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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