Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Anatomy Of A Paddle Stroke - The Posture

A correct posture is very important.

The posture changes somewhat during the stroke. 

For good paddlers with years of experience, a good posture does not seem to be a problem - they just have it.
For people that started later this is very different. You can see all kind of 'solutions' when you watch paddlers passing by during training sessions.
For whatever reason - muscular imbalances, lack of core strength, wrong technique, fatigue etc. - it is not that easy to maintain a proper posture.

Theoretically it is quite easy:

My key thought is - "a straight spine".

Imagine you want to strike a golf ball, imagine you want to run, imagine you want to throw a javelin - whatever you want to do in athletics, it will require a straight spine at one point in time. Anything but a straight spine will hinder what you are trying to do.

Thus: you sit upright, on the edge of your seat, with the hips slightly tilted forward. Your lower back maybe in slight lordosis just before you begin your stroke with the catch. 

Your head is held up, your chest is 'open', your sternum is 'leading'.

Just a good, free posture that allows you to move freely in all directions.  

You can freely breathe as you do not compress your diaphragm and you upper airways are in a natural neutral position.

Overall you are relaxed, as you are likely in the recovery phase. Tighten up and your posture will suffer.

Make yourself tall. Sit proud and confident, like someone who has mastered the paddling stroke.

Viewed from the front , you should sit dead center relative to your boat. The less you get out of this position, the less you contribute to the roll of the boat. And that is a good thing.

Some people lean over the blade during the power phase of the stroke. As long as you know what you are doing this is perfectly all right - the main caution remains, however, that you should not cause the boat to roll while doing so.

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