Basic paddling skills Basic paddling skills are often overlooked as players concentrate on ball skills and team tactics. But paddling skills are critical to success on the water. Players must get the maximum power out of every stroke. Teach the strokes on a flat hull then add knee lifts, edging and kayak control. Do lots of work on boat control and edges before moving onto linking stokes together and more advanced techniques. Moving water can be of great assistance to teaching players about kayak control because it forces players to use the edges of their kayaks in turning strokes. Complete an Australian Canoeing, flatwater skills course. 4
Forward paddling 5 There are four parts to the forward stroke: 1. Catch Sit up straight but relaxed Rotate forward towards the foot, plant the blade in the water so that it forms an angle of ~80 o with the side of the kayak. The lower arm is fully extended. The catch should be as far forward as possible, and as vertical as practical. To encourage body rotation, keep the paddle shaft parallel with the shoulders.
Forward paddling 2. Power Pull the blade towards the hip with the power coming from the torso and body rotation. The arm is straight for the first part of the stroke with the elbow bending toward the end of the movement. The other arm is punching forward at about eye level. Push on the footrest on the side of the stroke for additional power. 3. Exit Lift the blade out of the water as it reaches the hip. Recovery arm should travel on a plane level with the shoulder. 4. Recovery The body is prepared for the next stroke. 6
Forward sweep The forward sweep turns the boat from the bow. Key points Working arm straight. Arc should be as wide as possible. Paddle is kept low – in a horizontal plane. Good body rotation – to assist body rotation, encourage paddlers to look at the paddle as it sweeps through the water. This must be ‘untaught’ once body rotation is mastered. Recovery arm is kept wide of the body, watch for the recovery arm being held close into the waist. Teach all strokes with the boat being flat. 10
Reverse sweep The reverse sweep turns the boat from the stern. Key points Use the back of the blade Working arm straight Arc as wide as possible Paddle is kept low – in a horizontal plane Good body rotation – to assist body rotation, encourage paddlers to look at the paddle as it sweeps through the water. This must be ‘untaught’ once body rotation is mastered. Watch for the common fault of the recovery arm coming too close to the body and cramping the stroke. 11
Draw The draw stroke moves the kayak sideways Key points Full body rotation to face the direction of travel The lower arm is extended but not rigid The top arm is stationary and acts as a pivot. It frames the face, with the forearm in front of the forehead. Move the kayak to the paddle Feather the blade as it comes to the side of the kayak to start a new stroke.
Bow draw The bow draw stroke turns the kayak quickly. Key points Rotate the body to plant the blade at ~45 o from the hips, with bottom arm straight, blade parallel to the side of kayak. The top arm frames the face Pull blade to the knees of paddler to ‘pull’ nose of kayak to the blade. Convert the draw into a forward paddling stroke to propel the kayak in the new direction. 15
Linking strokes Once a player has all the basic strokes mastered, it is time to link them together. By linking strokes, a player can get the maximum effectiveness out of every stroke they do in a game situation. Every stroke must be efficient in terms of power and turning effect. 16
Kayak control Kayak control must become an automatic skill Players use the size and shape of the kayak to outmanoeuvre an opponent, to win or to protect the ball
Kayak control 19 Six aspects of kayak control: flat turn edging nose and tail control gaining and maintaining possession turning on the ball turning into the tackle.
Flat turn 20 Turning the kayak: turn the kayak with a flat turn or a stern turn stern turns are an advanced skill and best avoided until paddlers have mastered the flat turn The flat turn: is the most common turn in canoe polo it is easy and quick in most cases, it is best for maintaining kayak position on an opponent.
Flat turn 21 Key points Boat moving forward Sweep stroke to start the turn Immediately followed by bow draw to maintain momentum and continue the turn Link seamlessly to a forward stroke to take the boat out of the turn and forward Keep kayak flat or at a slight learn to the side of the sweep stroke.
Edging Edging refers to the boat sitting on its side Typically the kayak is edged in combination with paddling strokes to vary turns or to dive the nose or tail under another boat. Edging is also effective for stopping attacking players and for protecting the ball from an opponent. Edging the kayak to the left or right changes the water line on the deck and makes it difficult for an opponent to get underneath. 23
Nose and tail control 24 Nose control Nose control refers to the action of lifting the nose over, or pushing it under, an opponent. The ideal tackle is to get the kayak beneath an opponent. Because with the opponent sitting on top of the attacker, they can be easily pushed to wherever the attacker wants them. To get beneath another kayak, the nose is dipped using forward strokes or forward sweeps. With forward strokes Used when approaching another kayak at 90 0. With a powerful forward stroke, and both feet pushing on the foot pegs, lean forward to push the nose under the water and beneath an opponent.
Nose and tail control 25 With sweep strokes Used when approaching at an angle. To get nose under – lift the outside knee and throw your weight forward to ‘bounce’ the nose under water. Use a power sweep to turn the kayak towards the opponent. To get nose over – lift the inside knee and use forward sweep to lift nose over the other kayak. Tail control Tail control similar to nose control can be simply a matter of edging your kayak to get under your opposition, or it can involve deliberately dipping your tail. Either way the principles are the same as for nose control.
Lower the nearside edge to tackle from behind 26
Gaining possession with the boat Always get your kayak between your opponents kayak and the ball Try to get under your opponent to get the control position Keep paddling until the ball is adjacent to your knees. Then either turn into the tackle to maintain direction or turn on the ball to gain field position and time. 27
Get your boat between the opponent and the ball 28
Get your boat between the opponent and the ball 29
Position the kayak between the opponent and the ball, and keep paddling 30
Turning on the Ball One of the best skills to have is the ability to ‘turn on the ball’. By leaving the ball on the water and using turning strokes, flat turns and support strokes, you can maintain possession indefinitely. Using a flat turn and low support strokes, keep the kayak between your opponent and the ball at all times. Always look at the ball, not at the opponent or their kayak. Keep the ball around knee level so there is little chance for an opponent to steal it. Use the paddle to keep the ball within arms reach. 31
Get your boat between your opponent and the ball and turn on the ball to maintain field position or free up for next pass 32
Turning into tackle At times, it may be better to turn into a tackle and get under the opponent. For example, when you want to remain goal side of an opponent, or near a boundary line. When tackled on a fast break, it is sometimes possible to hold direction (and even dribble) towards goal, as the opponent pushes you in the direction you wish to go. 37
Turning into tackle Key Points Use you edges to get under your opponent Brace and power sweep through the initial tackle on the far side form your opponent to maintain your position and direction. Keep the ball next to your knees and in arms reach so you can get a pass or shot away. 38
Get your boat between your opponent and the ball and maintain direction to the goal and shoot 39
Turn your back on opponents to avoid hand tackles 40