FW Canoe Skills Coaching: works a treat!

FW Training 2020 07 18 101Thanks to volunteer extraordinaire, Mark S, for coming up with the idea of offering evening informal tandem or solo canoeing skills coaching for any level paddler (intro to advanced). He has done one session earlier this summer.and will be offering a solo evening session July 30th check the calendar for more info!

Building on Mark's idea, we offered Sat/Sun coaching sessions July 18 and 19 9:30 AM- 3:30 PM focusing just on paddling skills. (Our Paddle Canada national certification courses have usually been 2 days: 8 hrs each plus a 2 hour pool session for water safety and canoe rescues. They are great courses, but Covid19 required a change of plans!)  Our trial run was at Hartwell Locks: Saturday Tandem and Sunday Solo with a max of 6 participants making for manageable covid19 distancing and easy coaching. Both days, we paddled until lunch time. After some much-appreciated rest in the shade we were back on water for a little while longer until we all wisely and happily declared we were ‘sufficed’ with the sun/heat. Sunday afternoon, thunderstorms were threatening so we wisely called it a day.

Here are the strokes we learned/reviewed (some intro and some intermediate level technique) everyone 'got' them. Nice work all ! 

The goon stroke (aka stern pry, aka: River J), J-stroke; draws and pries (simple, underwater recovery and sculling), sweeps (forward and reverse), silent stroke(aka Indian or Hunting or Quiet stroke), backpaddling as well as check and skeg down....  all to pivot, turn, go straight forward or backward, go in a circle, land beside a dock or shore, as well as avoid a rock or sidle up to another canoe. 

Participants and coaches suggested that we do this again, repeating the shorter day format of learning and paddling!  It was a happy, successful event according to participants- here’s what they said:
- It was a great first experience for me with RACCC. 
- It was nice to be out on the water again!
- So happy to be out on the water, meeting everyone and learning new things. :)
- The length of time paddling ended up being perfect. (I was glad to finish early per tired arms, full brain and...guests coming)
- A huge thanks from me.   I definitely learned new things, including a good reason to do a J stroke vs whatever I love doing with a pry (aka ‘goon’)! 
- Nice to know the ‘goon stroke’ is actually a valid stroke! Strong and effective in wind/waves.
- I absorbed as much as my body and brain were able. I appreciated the breaking down of strokes.  Now to practice...
- Thanks again! I really enjoyed the coaching session. Not only did I learn to do a few things properly that I have not been doing correctly in the past, but it was also an excellent refresher for strokes that I knew but have not been able to practice this year due to COVID-19. The relaxed pace and the demonstrations of each part of a stroke were particularly helpful, as they allowed me to get a better understanding of the proper movements and the reasons why they are more effective, and then to practice them. Bill’s suggestion for an alternative way of getting out of the canoe onto a dock was very useful!
- I usually paddle in the stern but Saturday I only paddled from the bow.  Always a different perspective when changing ends in a canoe.  It was a great opportunity for me to practice some of the bow strokes and feeling the responsibility in setting the cadence for my partner in the stern.
- Thanks so much to all the coaches for generously sharing your knowledge and personality with us! I really enjoyed the opportunity to learn so many different strokes and a chance to practice. I appreciated your encouragement and coaching, both on the water and to continue practice on my own after. 
- The Hartwell Locks location was a good choice. Folks without cars can bike or take public transit!  The short drive from the boat house (5 minutes!) let us devote more time to paddling and less to travelling. The parking was right beside the water! Yeahhh! No portaging!
- We especially liked exploring the little side bays further along the canal.
- It was great fun discovering some of the channels and bays to see all those fancy hidden houses! And we had a chance to practice backpaddling and turning around in a tight space!. Never knew here in Ottawa you could live in the city but have such peace and tranquility.  

Kudo’s and thanks to the participants: Saturday Tandem: Bill, Sylvia, Tracy and Sam
     (Coach: Dot  and Tx to Bill helping from the bow of his canoe)
Sunday:  Solo paddlers: Jill, Fiona, Florence, Nancy    (Solo coaches: Nathalie and Dot)
                Tandem paddlers (we had enough coaches to fit them in): Fiona’s 2 enthusiastic teens (coached by Andrea and Suze!)

Here's a picture of part of the Flatwater Instructor Team out practicing our tandem skills at Hartwell Locks (Monday July 14). Thanks to Jane O for the great picture!  Thanks to Mark (in the blue hat) for reviewing/teaching a number of the strokes and coaching the group up another notch.