Moving swiftly along

paddling on Loch StrivenLast week’s canoe club session focused on forward stroke technique – the very thing for me, as I’ve spent a fair amount of time trying to figure it out for myself . To quote Manuel of Fawlty Towers, I learn it from a book. But that’s not quite the same as the real thing. Richard had us parading our skills (or lack thereof) around the loch and gave us votes out of 10, or some helpful commentary at least. We experimented with straight arms (the Frankenstein technique), then with a wide stroke, and with a slight bend at the elbow etc etc. My most significant learning was to engage my feet in the process of achieving rotation. I’ve spent months trying to get my head around how to get one’s torso more involved in the forward stroke (per the many books I’ve referred to) and this was the key. Once you start “pedalling” (as it were), you automatically involve the trunk muscles which contribute more power to your stroke than just your arms. Another breakthrough. I love these classes! (more…)