The Coaches Voice

CRNZ organised a series of Coaching Workshops around the country from July through to September focusing on technical development. We speak to a trio of coaches who attended the workshops for their feedback.

Gary Waller 

The Eastern Bay Canoe Racing Club coach (see above) says attending the workshops help build both confidence and knowledge.

Gary, who also assists as a coach as part of the Paddle ID and Foundation Camps, was keen to attend the workshops to aid his learning, which he could then share with club members.

“I enjoy working with Craig Mustard (the Canoe Racing NZ Development Coach),” he says. “I’ve learned a lot from his experience. I often don’t have the confidence to back myself, but by attending the camp and learning from their wealth of knowledge it has help build my confidence.”

Gary would not hesitate to attend future camps and would encourage others to make the same move.

“You pick up some great knowledge and it is a great way to improve your coaching. I coach to help the younger paddlers develop and grow and TO take them to the next level and the coaching workshops definitely help with this process.”

Rob Creasy

Having enjoyed a long period in sport as both a competitor and now a coach, Rob Creasy (see above) was attracted to attending the Coaching Workshop in Christchurch as an opportunity to develop his learning.

Boasting a versatile background as a competitor – Rob was a former world age-group triathlon champion, multisport athlete and rower – he also coached a number of sports including; triathlon, surf lifesaving, swimming and running.

Yet keen to give back to the sport, a little under a year ago he started coaching kayaking out of the Arawa Canoe Club

and motivated to expand his knowledge base opted to attend the workshop.

“I have a PhD in exercise physiology, so I understand how training and racing works but I wanted to learn more about technique and the physics of paddling,” adds Rob, who coaches a group of young, emerging Arawa paddlers including; Olivia Brett, Pieta Luthi and Mia Roadley.

The technique-based workshop, which focused on physics, biomechanics and style and problem solving, delivered an abundance of quality information which Rob is now imparting as part of his day to day coaching.

“Craig Mustard (CRNZ Development Coach) led an informative session,” he explains of the workshop. “I found it very interesting to understand how I could become a better technical coach and how I could iron out any crinkles in the technique of the more highly capable paddlers.  

“One area I really learned about during the workshop was the importance of leveraging the paddle with their body and doing this as effectively as possible. It is also very easy to tell someone what the right technique should be, but picking through it is much more difficult and finding those cue words and cue technical focuses is tricky. The workshop helped make this much clearer. It was very helpful to help reinforce or demonstrate the best way to do things.”

For a relatively inexperienced coach the workshop provided a significant boost his coaching knowledge, and he would encourage other coaches to attend such workshops in the future.

“There are always new things we need to learn,” explains Rob. “The workshops are not only a good learning opportunity but a chance to meet new people and to understand things from their perspective.”

Sam Manson

Multisport and white water coach Sam Manson (see above) attended the CRNZ coaching workshop at Arawa Canoe Club and received the reassurance his technical principles broadly aligned with that of CRNZ.

Sam, who has coached paddling for the past four years as runs his own coaching business, had some very clear aims from the day.

“The purpose was to find out what principles CRNZ had for the stroke technique and to build confidence in what I teach,” he says.

Christchurch-based Sam, who coaches among others Kate Cambie, the three-time fastest female paddler at Waimakariri Classic River Race and Sam Clements-Stewart, who placed second in the open male division of the Coast to Coast Longest Day earlier this year, was impressed by the workshop and has since applied his learnings to his coaching sessions.

“I left the workshop reassured that my principles aligned well with CRNZ,” says Sam ,who started paddling 13 years ago at the Hawkes Bay Canoe Club. “This builds a lot of confidence in my coaching and makes me believes I’m not letting my paddlers down. 

“From the workshop I learned slightly better terminology and better key points to focus on that make the stroke easier for a paddler to incorporate and adapt to. I also learned some great drills that I have been searching for to help with technique. I have already used the drills many times with the athletes I coach.”

Sam garnered some very handy technical information from the workshop and he would not hesitate in encouraging other coaches and volunteers to also attend.

“Even if people disagreed with the stroke that was taught as part of the workshop, Craig (Mustard) was more than happy to discuss and carefully explain his reasoning to offer greater clarity.”

***CRNZ will be running more technical workshops in 2021. If you would like to register interest or would like CRNZ to deliver this workshop at your club please complete the following form