Skills Acquisition

Paddlesport can’t be learned by reading. Thankfully some of the core skills are generic between all types of boat that the club has. It’s up to you to get in a boat and practice

The Core Skills

These are essential to effective paddling.

  1. Good Posture.
  2. Precise and coordinated handling of the paddles.
  3. Applying power by using strong muscle groups.
  4. Body, boat, blade and water awareness.

Make every paddlestroke count to the max.

You can achieve this by: -

  1. Good body rotation, before planting the blade on the water.
  2. Clean entry of the blade in the water. (splashing wastes energy).
  3. Full blade to enter the water. (Half a blade equals half the maximum power)
  4. Use strong muscle groups (the stomach, back and shoulders)
  5. Look at where you are going (so easy to get wrong with the forward sweeps)

Posture in the Boat

  • Feet need to be able to apply pressure on the footrests without being cramped.
  • Knees will be tucked under the thigh braces, again having good contact with the boat.
  • The backrest should give support. If this is too tight your legs will go numb. No good.
  • You should be able to move the boat in any direction by moving your hips.

Your body should be leaning slightly forwards. Never slouch.


Forward Paddling

  • Rotate your trunk. This will increase your reach. The blade should enter about level with your ankles. There should be gentle pressure on the footrest, stabilising ready for the main activity
  • The blade should not create much splash
  • Think of the blade as locked into the water
  • Drive your hips past the blade. This uses the much stronger abdominal and back muscles.
  • Keep the full blade in the water
  • Keep the blade close to the boat, as this will reduce the zig-zag effect of paddling.
  • Your top hand will have to come across to keep the lower hand close to the boat
  • The blade comes out of the water about level with the hips.
  • You should remain leaning slightly forward throughout the stroke.
  • Now plant your next stroke in by your ankles and you’re ready to start all over again.

It’s that simple!!!! Only kidding. It takes a lot of practice to do it right. I’m still working on it as it’s the most important stroke in our repertoire.

Recommended Books

BCU Canoe and Kayak Handbook
BCU Coaching Handbook


Committee Members Only

Log in directly or via social media.

Find Us

North Herts Leisure Centre
Baldock Road,
Herts, SG6 2ER

We meet every Sunday evening from 8.15pm until 9.15pm at the pool and then afterwards at the Orange Tree pub in Baldock.