Lessons learned …

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I finally got around to having my one-on-one paddling lesson with Ben Maynard to see if I really did have ‘a next level‘:

The session went for two hours and it was a bit of information overload on the water, especially as I’m not a kinesthetic learner – I don’t tend to learn well by ‘doing’, especially with someone constantly throwing new information at me and correcting everything I do.

I also never really seem to get what instructors are telling me when they start talking about ‘feeling’ and ‘hearing’ how certain things are working so I tend to just smile and make positive noises whilst silently hoping it will all come to an end.

That said, it was a brilliant lesson and well worth the money.  Ben is a really good instructor (even with a student as crap as I am) and spending a solid hour on the water going through drills with him paddling along beside you pointing out various thiungs (the good and the bad) is much better value that the group sessions.

Unfortunately for me, despite telling me that “I almost had it, and just need a few tweaks’ we then completely deconstructed my stroke and I quickly realised I am in fact a very long way from getting it and am still relying way too much on my arm and shoulder strength and I’m just not using my body at all to generate power.

What I found really brilliant though was the video analysis of my paddling afterwards where I could actually see all the things he was talking about … my paddle blade going into the water too shallow, too late’ my right arm spiking into the air then dropping too quickly; my legs not working with the boat  … that was my kind of learning – sitting back and watching!

I walked away with a ‘small‘ list of ‘priority areas‘ to work on:

Exhibit A: Why I’m a crap paddler.
Sigh .. I have a long way to go.
I was thinking on my way down to the session about my goals for paddling this year, and I decided on three:
  1. To get more comforable in bigger weather conditions (may consider doing my Sea Skills Proficiency);
  2. To set up and learn to sail my sea kayak comfortably
  3. To beat a certain someone in at least one race

… and to do that last one, I need to start working on those drills from Ben.

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