What to do when you can’t kayak – Training tips from coach Craig

With the challenging weather that we have been experiencing lately it has been really hard for some of us to get onto the water for our daily paddling session. Craig Mustard, the newly appointed Lead Mens coach, give some tips on what paddlers can do if they are unable to get in their usual kayak training.

We are hearing from lots of paddlers and coaches lately that they have been unable to paddle regularly due to flooded rivers, water quality issues or the endless bad weather. This can be very frustrating as important events or selection trials loom but just because we are out of kayaks, it does not mean that valuable training cannot happen.

There are three big pillars you need  in order to be the fastest kayaker that you can be:

      1. Fit
      2. Strong
      3. Technically Sound

If you can’t paddle, you can still improve your fitness by running, cycling or even jumping on a rowing machine. If you are not used to these activities, I recommend being reserved on the time and intensity when starting as you don’t want to pick up any niggles by starting too hard. A 30minute running or cycling session is still far better than having no session at all.
It will also allow you to keep the routine of training which is equally as important.

Another way you can make the most of your time out of the boat is to work on your strength and mobility. Good mobility and improving your strength will benefit your technique and both will influence your speed of your paddling. Mobility and strength work will pay off big time when you return to kayaking but be careful not to overdo the workouts. I highly recommend getting in contact with a personal trainer or a professional in this field before starting your workout routine.

If you have access to a kayaking ergo you can also use this time to work on your fitness and at the same time also work on paddling technique. Ergo’s are fantastic for training when you can’t get on the water and also really useful for technical work if you know how to paddle on them.

Having a mirror set up when using a kayaking ergo so you can work on your technique at the same time is extremely useful. I also suggest using the lowest resistance if you are not used to using an ergo. If it is your first time on an ergo, ask a coach or training partner to help give feedback on how you are going. If you don’t know how to use them correctly, they can be counterproductive and have the potential to cause injuries or reinforce bad technique.

A final bit of work that you can do whilst off the water to help improve your training and kayaking is understand or remind yourself of the key principles of kayaking technique.

Head to the Paddler.nz website and read through the Principles of Technique manual. This has been developed by the some of the best coaches and minds in international kayaking to help paddlers and coaches in NZ. There are also some suggestions for drills and activities. Create a plan on how you could factor some this into future sessions when you are able to get back into your kayak.

Go well, and see everyone out on the water when we can.