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Coaching Kayak Skills

Resources related to coaching techniques for paddling.

Rolling is an important skill for kayak paddlers. Without it many of the benefits of being sealed into the boat by a spray cover are lost. For the advanced sea, surf or white water paddler, an awkward, tiring or dangerous swim may be prevented, and in the competitive disciplines much time may be saved by an efficient and reliable roll.

This very extensive document outlines many different types of rolls as well as tips and ideas for teaching them.

Coaches often talk about the 3 B's - Body, Boat, Blade

When observing others and giving feedback we can use these headings as reference points when improving a paddler's performance.

This handout created from various sources that explians how the three areas affect each other.

Possibly the most important skills when sea kayaking and touring

Without the right technique, energy is wasted and a paddler soon tires during a long trip.
Read the attached notes, drawn from various sources, and see if you apply some of the points next time you go paddling.

The foundations of effective sea kayaking skills are based on our ability to balance and trim the boat and to use effective paddle strokes. The following exercises focus on these two areas, providing a solid base of performance on which to develop advanced paddling skills.

Provided by the American Canoe Association, this is a sample lesson plan for teaching rolling. It is part of their "Kayak Rolling Endorsement".

This paper, presented in outline form, describes the kayak teaching progression used by the author. It covers equipment orientation, roll teaching, strokes, moving water instruction and suggested lecture topics.

Video is a flexible and powerful tool for the coach, its level of use is dictated by the coaches ability with the camera and confidence in it's application as part of the normal coaching process. The strength of video lies in it's ability to capture movement and speed rather than fixed shots. Many coaches are, needlessly, nervous because of the technology involved and it's application. The video should be built into normal coaching activity and viewed as additional to coaching activity.

A sample lesson plan that I sometimes use for teaching weather during Paddle Canada Flatwater Instructor Courses. It is flawed for sure but is only a jumping off point for me. You are welcome to use this lesson plan for any purpose. Change it and make it better. When you are done, resubmit it back to the sea kayak instruction community at Thanks.

This paper briefly presents ideas and techniques that can facilitate effective whitewater kayaking instruction. Instructors often focus so much on the mechanics of specific skills that they overlook less obvious, but equally important, aspects of instruction. These aspects include the underlying purposes and guiding principles of kayaking instruction. Students' progression in learning and success in kayaking may depend on the teacher's knowledge of and ability to communicate these aspects. Sections of this report cover ice breakers, stretching exercises, orientation to the equipment, students' level of comfort or fear under water, wet exits from the kayak, proper posture, the Eskimo rescue, the instructor rescue, forward strokes, the sweep stroke, the stern draw, the Eskimo roll, and issues of risk and student judgment. A resource section lists seven books and six videos on whitewater kayaking, with brief annotations. (SV)

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