Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Too Much of a Good Thing
It seems somewhat ironic to me that we spend a lot of time around torso rotation and not so much as what is, for me, a common problem. That being, carrying the stroke too far back. I still catch myself letting that blade stay submerged as it is passing my hip. Interestingly, it is usually an indication that I have gotten sloppy and that I am not rotating.

Using a cored, Werner paddle with light swing weight and a tendency to bob up to the surface has helped. Sometimes it feels as if the blade is reminding me that it needs air as it passes my hip.

I have noticed that students with this habit are often paddling at a high angle and keeping the blade right next to the hull (they are all arm paddling). I ask them to lower that top hand to chest level and to consciously make the blade drift away from the boat as they stroke. This often solves the problem. If not, I help them look for body clues that will give muscle memory that tells them it is time for recovery. This might be the angle of the elbow on the stroking side or where in relation to the mid line of the deck the top hand is at.

Shortening their (and my) stroke makes for a more efficient stroke as there is no lifting of water at the end of the cycle. It is also safer on the shoulders and prevents that awkward position that often leads to students (with no low brace) to go over into the drink.

Paddle safe...

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