Performance evaluation: how fast do you paddle?

”If you don’t know where you are, you can’t choose the way to where you wanna be.”

At TiP we always want to know where our athletes are. Only this way we can help them get where they want to be. Even with all the modern technologies evaluating one’s exact competition ability in our sport is not an easy task. Absolute times are often not enough to quantify paddling performance.

With this in mind TiP team is using 3 simple tools to track progress of racing and training results in real world training environment. In today’s article you can learn about them and download the material we prepared for you to use the same tools in your training.

Tool #1:   Tracking the gap to the best in your class

You can use a simple spreadsheet showed bellow to track your race results compared to the best in your category. This spreadsheet can help you track your gap to the best in your class over a period of one competition season or between more consecutive seasons.

Example how to use this tool: shown in the table is the progress for the international results of Tom Liebscher, he was gradually improving through his 2017 season, closing the gap to the best and finally culminating the season with  the K1 1000m World champion title in Račice.

Download the .xlsx spreadsheet for race result tracking and the .pdf document with all the 3 tools described in this article from our Free Resources page.

Tool #2:  Calibrating your result on another boat class

If you train in a group with nobody racing in the same boat class as you or find yourself in an event where there is a top performing boat only in another category/event, you can calibrate your result on these boats. This way you are able to get a better feel for your own performance.

Example how to use this tool: imagine you are a male K1 paddler and you find yourself on a session with Lisa Carrington;  you are faster than her but not quite sure it is enough to think you could win a World championships too; in the table bellow you can see there is approx. 14-15% time difference between the male and female K1 200 paddlers (different from distance to distance).

Tool #3:  Relative differences between the World Championship gold and the rest of the field

We prepared a table showing what are the differences in times between:

  • the Gold medal and the 3rd and 5th placed boat at the World Championship A finals (only Olympic classes)
  • the best time in the semi-final and the 9th best time in semi-final (theoretically last to make it to A-final), 14th best time in semi-final (theoretically middle of B-final) and the 18th best time in semi-final (theoretically last to make it to B-final)

Example how to use this tool: If you are a junior or a senior athlete and you get to race one of the best in the world you can now know how much you need to improve to be fast enough for a World Championship B-final, A-final, 5th or 3rd place. If you are a junior K1 200m paddler for example and you loose a certain amount of time racing a junior world champion on an international race, you can read in the first row bellow: 1,82% behind her can still mean you are worth a World Championship podium, 4,28% behind her still means you are able to get into the final, 6,78% behind her should be still just enough to make it to the B-final on the Worlds. Of course it is just a theoretical indicator of your value, you still need to go out there and make your paddle walk the talk 😉

Download the PDF document with all the 3 tools described in this article from our Free Resources page.


Hope you can profit from this article and use our Free PDF materials to make better informed decisions in your everyday practice or coaching.

We appreciate any kind of feedback from you. Don’t be shy to contact us for additional explanation or help with training of course.

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