Practice the basics (you are not a unique snowflake)

You are not like the snowflake.

Although originally published in relation to kayaking/canoeing this post is applicable to learning, be it movement or sport.

Its all basics, be you recreational or elite.

Whats the difference?

Practice, attention and application.

Every paddler needs the same skills most of the time. To paraphrase the film “Fight Club” you are not special, you are the same as every paddler.

So practice the basics in as many ways as you can. Same strokes different places.That said a single rapid can prepare you for most things given a good mind. Sure there are things that cannot be practiced easily, due to availability of:

  • Faster water
  • Heavier water (more cubic metres aka pushier)
  • Large drops
  • Features

The strokes you will use to deal with these new features will be the same strokes as used on a smaller familiar rapid. This smaller familiar rapid by its nature of familiarity will allow you to relax and experiment. Then when you try harder or new rivers you can concentrate on the new features and not on the techniques themselves.

Practice a variety of strokes and play with:

  • Blade angles
  • Balance of torso,
  • Speed of stroke,
  • Direction of boat travel.

Play games and test oneself.


The article by the coach Dan John explains this in terms of physical training:

Dan John Article


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