How to Develop Good Technique for Paddling a Canoe

How to Develop Good Technique for Paddling a Canoe


This episode of Paddle TV is brought to
you by the ACA—improving the paddlesports experience for over a century.
Learn more at American canoe dot org. One of the great things about canoeing is that almost anyone can do it without professional instruction, but you need to
understand that developing good paddling technique is important. Not only will it let
you paddle more efficiently, but it’ll make your time on the water safer and
more enjoyable. In particular good technique will equip
you to deal with unexpected and challenging water and weather conditions. So in this video, we’re gonna look at a few simple ways to improve your paddling
technique and make you more comfortable and safer on the water. Let’s start by
looking at your paddling position in the canoe. Even though canoes have comfy and inviting seats and there’s nothing wrong with using them, it’s important to
understand that kneeling is a much more stable position because it lowers your
center of gravity and gives you more contact with your canoe. In particular, if
you’re dealing with any waves or wind or if you have children or pets in the
canoe with you, it’s a great idea to maintain a kneeling position with your
butt on the edge of the seat. Of course, if you’re going to do this it’ll be much
more comfortable if you have foam pads to kneel on. Whether you’re sitting or
kneeling, you’ll want to maintain good posture in the canoe, because this gives
you better range of movement and will help you avoid back discomfort. The
second thing we’re going to look at is how to properly use your paddle. First
things first, when holding your paddle, the hand that
grabs the shaft is the shaft hand. The hand that covers the grip is the control
hand. Your control hand should cover the grip of the paddle, while your shaft hand
grabs the paddle slightly wider than shoulder width. An easy way to check the
spacing of your hands is to hold the paddle over your head. Now that you’re
sitting in the canoe properly and holding your paddle properly, you’re
ready to start focusing on specific strokes. Although we’re not going to talk
about individual paddle strokes in this video, one key concept is that we power all of our strokes with our
large muscle groups instead of just our arms. In fact, you can think of yourself
as a tree, where the trunk gives the tree its strength, rather than the smaller
branches. The way to use your larger torso muscles to power your strokes is
by practicing torso rotation, which means twisting at the waist when you take a
stroke, rather than just pulling with your arms. For example, for the forward
stroke the reach should involve my whole upper body and not just my arms. This
means that if I’m taking a stroke on the left side of my canoe, I’m gonna reach
forward with my left shoulder turn my body to the right. Now, when I plant my
blade in the water and pull on it, I’m gonna be pulling with my whole upper
body and not just my arms. As a final note, it’s worth mentioning that when
paddling a canoe in tandem, paddlers should be paddling in unison on opposite sides
of the canoe to help keep the canoe going straight. Well I hope you found
this video helpful and if you did enjoy it, please subscribe to our Paddle TV
YouTube channel because we have lots more canoeing tips and tricks coming
your way.

3 thoughts on “How to Develop Good Technique for Paddling a Canoe

  • August 4, 2018 at 9:22 pm
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    First comment on a 9 month old video lmfao

    Reply
  • August 16, 2018 at 1:53 am
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    with 37k subscribers oof

    Reply
  • August 6, 2019 at 2:13 am
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    My first canoe ride was by myself, it was fun after I taught myself how to paddle by just pushing the paddle to the side after a stroke. My friend was mad because when he had to keep paddling left and right because the canoe kept turning on him so I showed him what I was doing and he got it immediately.

    Reply

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