The Meta-Technique explained: part 3 – managing your paddle

Hope you liked our last blog from the Friday technical series where we introduced the meta-technique for sprint kayakers. If you have read it (and haven’t got scared by the fancy title) you may also be interested in the article we are publishing today!

Last time we have described what meta-technique for sprint paddlers is (kudos to our biomechanicist Andrea Pace for coming up with the whole theory). Today we are explaining the first 4 meta-technique phenomena (the manage your paddle ones).

If you are curious about what champions do different from us normal people, download today’s article here!


For a quick glance check the article’s overview:

When we talk about managing your paddle, there are 4 main physical phenomena we have to combine and use if we want to paddle fast. Always consider the following:

·         Aim for 0 paddle slip! You may play around with your paddle having some forward slip, it may have some advantages, but it is still less efficient than 0 slip. Avoid at all costs any slip of the blade in the direction of your pull. This kind of slip is really bad for your efficiency as it creates a whole chain of errors that follow it.

·         Shoot for the % of water time (%WT) around 65% (measured from tip touching the water to tip leaving the water). You have almost no chance of a good performance with %WT bellow 60%. Be careful in training with drills, endurance sessions and ‘power exercises’ where %WT tends to be low. They may work if you handle this phenomenon, but if training with low %WT makes you race with low %WT, than you should avoid or readjust these sessions.

·         You need the ability to adjust your work angle to the situation. Starts, accelerations and race finishes may need lower working angles. Long distance session and races, travel speed on 1000m and 500m races may need larger working angles.

·         Learn to control and use in your advantage the length of your radius. You may shorten it during starts and when you are running out of gas. But when you want to paddle really fast or need a huge advancement per stroke, you need to be able to use a long radius.

·         All the above 4 phenomena and their interactions are crucial. If you are a paddler, master them and learn to use them instinctively. If you are a coach, learn to understand them deeply, to see them and discriminate them with a naked eye and finally learn how to coach them. In both cases, this will make a real difference for paddling performance!

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