Tips to increase paddling angle?

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7 months 1 week ago #39258 by XV2PS
Hello,
My paddle angle is barely 45 degrees left arm up and less right arm up (got shoulder surgery there in April).
Both arms can lift up higher though.

Is there any trick/tip to induce/force a more vertical paddling? I could partly but it keeps lowering. Usually doing trips of approx 20km on flat water. Difficult to stay focused.

Thanks

Here is a short video:

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7 months 1 week ago #39259 by mrcharly
Changing too much at once tends to be counter productive.

I suggest working on your pre-stroke setup and top hand.
Work on technique with a stroke - pause in setup position - stroke 

Setup - paddle needs to be a lot higher and horizontal.

When driving with the top hand (the drive should all come from rotation, not from straightening arm), move it parallel to the surface of the water.

Look for Ivan Lawler's lessons on youtube.

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7 months 1 week ago #39260 by kwolfe
I guess my first question is, why do you want to raise your top hand.  If this is your typical pace, it looks like you are having fun cruising.  Raising that top hand will give you better leverage which you could use to be faster but do you want to be?

If so, mrcharly is spot on,  your set up is very important.  Also, try to keep your top hand sweeping in front of you at eye level.  You top hand appears to punch forward a bit which will shorten your stroke and result in that hand dropping sooner.  Top hand is only a guide while your bottom hand does the pulling.

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7 months 1 week ago #39261 by MarineO6
Appears as if you’re not driving enough with your body.  Here’s a link to some training resources (from this site!), check out the first one with Ivan Lawler.
It’s a bit long, but you only have to watch the first minute and 12 seconds (Part I, Essential Technique) to give you plenty to work with.

www.surfski.info/forum/18-training/18983...nique-resources.html

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7 months 1 week ago #39262 by M.v.E.
A more vertical paddle angle will put more stress on your shoulders I guess. So it might be not a good idea to increase your paddle angle when you had shoulder surgery recently. I think you can paddle pretty fast with lower arms as long as you´ve got proper technique and good rotation.

Current Ski: Nelo 550 L
Previous Skis: Stellar SR 1. Gen. / Stellar SEI 1. Gen. / Stellar SR 2. Gen.

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7 months 1 week ago #39263 by XV2PS
Thank you everybody. Lots of food for thoughts. Will try in coming sessions.
Yes I am having fun, but I would like to have a decent technique and speed up a little bit and see some evolution in my average speed. I am a 97kg stiff hippo and would be happy to reach higher than 8.8kmph averages. Losing weight is part of the challenge . And increasing speed would be a good motivator.
Thanks again.

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7 months 1 week ago #39264 by mrcharly
Don't obsess about speed. Really, don't.

There is always someone much, much faster.  The only valid speed comparison is with the person next to you, who is at a similar stage in their paddling journey. Even comparing your own paddles, day to day, isn't good. Water and weather affects speed a lot.

Ivan did a whole series about paddling (something to keep him occupied during lockdown). It is worth watching.

Key points:
Don't let top hand drop.
Keep your paddle stroke short. If you are 'locking your arms', driving from legs and rotating, your paddle will come out of the water nice and early. 
None-drive side hip - rotate this forward. Oscar says to push it forward, which sounded wrong to me. I tried it, and it really improved my rotation.

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7 months 1 week ago #39267 by XV2PS
Thanks Mrcharly

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7 months 5 days ago - 7 months 5 days ago #39277 by waverider
My biggest issue was dropping front hand into catch before rear had reached full set up height. This resulted in bottom hand stabbing the the catch, catch falling short, and that annoying plop. To overcome this when doing drills I open palm front hand and not closing fingers around shaft until blade is in water, this makes it impossible to pull early on paddle.

Keep the power arm straight and practice flicking the exit out wide and early with wrist and elbow bringing the forearm towards vertical, NOT the shoulder, at the same time pausing front hand extension until top hand is at full set up height, shoulder is only lifted after blade has exited. This way top hand spears it into water ( I think of it as taking a high angle pool shot). This gives maximum reach and eliminates plopping.

As far as top hand height is concerned i dont think that is essential, and personal, just as long as you dont start catch until it is maxxed out and above front hand. Far better to extent front arm low than to try and reach the sky with top hand. Which is more stabalizing anyway and quicker to drop into a brace if required. Many excellent paddlers dont raise the top hand above shoulder height, with elbow still tucked down. Just try to avoid an acute angle at elbow, achieved by wide and early exit.

If you are feeling cramped up it may be due to a late exit, which also encourages punching forward
Last edit: 7 months 5 days ago by waverider.

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7 months 5 days ago #39278 by waverider
 

Don't obsess about speed. Really, don't.

There is always someone much, much faster.  The only valid speed comparison is with the person next to you, who is at a similar stage in their paddling journey. Even comparing your own paddles, day to day, isn't good. Water and weather affects speed a lot.

Ivan did a whole series about paddling (something to keep him occupied during lockdown). It is worth watching.

Key points:
Don't let top hand drop.
Keep your paddle stroke short. If you are 'locking your arms', driving from legs and rotating, your paddle will come out of the water nice and early. 
None-drive side hip - rotate this forward. Oscar says to push it forward, which sounded wrong to me. I tried it, and it really improved my rotation.
Rotating the hip forward to me set up the whole synchronization to the whole stroke, leg drive reacts to this, with the shoulders arms and torso following the hips. The paddle staying parallel to chest. All the arms do is spear (slide sideways from one side to the other) and exit (tilt from one side to the other) without ever moving out of the same plane as the shoulders. Punching forward leads to late exits )and vis versa) and the shaft not staying parallel to torso. Overhead or nose camera angle in slo mo will easily pick thi sup

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7 months 4 days ago #39279 by XV2PS
Thank You. More tricks for me to try. I did some short trials this weekend. They were OK, but it is difficult to keep them up long. Maybe lack of training too 

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6 months 3 weeks ago - 6 months 3 weeks ago #39294 by Belacqua
Hope the suggestions thus far have helped!

I'd like to add that about simplest way to describe paddling is having weight on the paddle, then driving it backwards with your leg.

I think if you are trying to keep your top hand high just to keep it high, you will like you said forget OR even if you don't forget, you may not get any benefit from a higher hand position. 

The role of the top arm is primarily to hold the paddle down in the water. Because the bottom arm is straight, it has almost no vertical leverage and can't fulfill this role. 

In order to keep sufficient vertical weight down on the paddle, your top arm will necessarily be in the proper position, the paddle angle will increase, your top forearm will be more vertical during the power phase, and you won't be able to punch forward like you are doing. (You will notice that when you punch forward the vertical weight on your blade disappears.) 

The most important thing to think about with the top arm is it needs to stay locked and resist the tendency of the paddle to pop out of the water--i.e. it resists the 'normal force' from the water acting against your weight down on the water.

Your paddling looks super fluid and relaxed though! Cheers!
Last edit: 6 months 3 weeks ago by Belacqua.

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6 months 2 weeks ago #39299 by XV2PS
Thank You Belacqua.

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6 months 1 week ago #39312 by Stew
Start at the bottom and work up, you build a house with solid foundations, we build our stroke from a solid connection with the legs. Obviously can't see your leg drive, but your hips aren't rotating at all, indicating not much of coming from the legs. That's the first thing to address. From there, rotating the upper body, almost none happening. You're blade placement is short, and "duck feeds" as you pull it back. Hands are too low, and your shoulder is in a weak position at that height. Think how you'd set yourself up for a push up, and the position your shoulder is in then in terms of stability and strength. Once in that strong and stable position, you can establish a strong catch and rotate around that point to generate your forward propulsion.

Keep working at it, and keep having fun on the water.

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6 months 1 week ago #39313 by Belacqua

Start at the bottom and work up, you build a house with solid foundations, we build our stroke from a solid connection with the legs. Obviously can't see your leg drive, but your hips aren't rotating at all, indicating not much of coming from the legs. That's the first thing to address. From there, rotating the upper body, almost none happening. You're blade placement is short, and "duck feeds" as you pull it back. Hands are too low, and your shoulder is in a weak position at that height. Think how you'd set yourself up for a push up, and the position your shoulder is in then in terms of stability and strength. Once in that strong and stable position, you can establish a strong catch and rotate around that point to generate your forward propulsion.

Keep working at it, and keep having fun on the water.
 

Totally agree, and great description Stew! I will nitpick though about the push up position (which I have also heard Lawler say). I don't think either of you mean strictly a push up position--I almost feel it is slightly more toward a pull up than a push up. 

When I do a push up or bench press, the strongest position is with your hands about level with the nipples; this gives the most horizontal (if we let head to toe be the vertical axis) force.

Back to paddling, you hardly need any horizontal force with the top hand. You have so much horizontal leverage with the length of the paddle and fulcrum at the bottom hand. In addition, you don't want the top hand punching forward anyway as you are saying. 

The force that the top hand struggles with the most and has the least leverage against (at least between the forces it is responsible for) is the one coming directly up the shaft. So you position your arm in such a way that you are in a strong position to match that force.

I know you know all this, I just wanted to point out and explain the push up thing because it confused me as a new paddler when Lawler said it which seemed to clash with most of the rest of what he says. 

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6 months 1 week ago #39315 by waverider
My push up position would be hands level with shoulders which is also where i hold top hand, so analogy works for me

Look at Oscars drill for paddle exit, he doesnt move shoulder and keeps elbow down and flicks it out with forearm bringing hand up to shoulder height. Yes he is extreme tucking elbow in for this drill but it is a drill to use forearm. Minimizing shoulder lift and keeping elbow below shoulder is not only less tiring but can also reduce shoulder rotator cuff injuries especially as you get older. It is possible to efficiently paddle without moving shoulders at all neither forward/ backwards nor up and down, simply by using forearm

High top hand may be ok for young gun sprinters but for us old man marathon & Ski paddlers it is asking for trouble

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6 months 1 week ago #39318 by Belacqua
I have my elbows below my shoulder level too and mostly use my forearms to transition the paddle as well. Maybe I just do push ups weird lol!

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6 months 1 week ago #39320 by Stew
Belacqua, where did I mention anything about pushing the top arm? And the top hand deals with a tremendous amount of force if you are paddling correctly, it's not just about supporting the shaft or maintaining an angle.


And the top hand should be your pivot/fulcrum, not the bottom.


I'd also suggest that teaching the forward stroke can be like visiting a golf pro. Visit 10 pros and you'll have 10 different swings. All will teach something a bit different to set themselves apart from other teachers. I think we're seeing this in some online content now in paddling, as I work with paddlers to correct stuff they come to me with after watching various youtube clips. I had an old coach back in the day describe paddling as a simple sport made complicated. It is indeed a complex stroke, but if we establish the fundamentals and work to those, we can enjoy an efficient stroke, and important with paddlers as they age, be injury free. We all want to be doing this for the love of the sport, the enjoyment of the outdoors, paddling sensational skis and the great social scene. If we paddle correctly, we only add to that enjoyment.

 

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6 months 1 week ago - 6 months 1 week ago #39321 by Belacqua
I thought about changing my wording because it could have been interpreted both ways, but I meant that you are saying it is bad to push the top arm, which I agree with. I was trying to say, since we both agree about not pushing the top arm that it doesn't need to be very strong in the horizontal plane.

Totally agree that the moving fulcrum should be the stationary top hand. From a force resistance standpoint though, the top hand experiences the bottom hand as a fulcrum. And because that fulcrum is far away, the top hand doesn't need to be very strong to resist movement perpendicular to the radius of that fulcrum (in this case the paddle shaft). 

I also agree that the top hand deals with a tremendous amount of force, it's just most of that force is a combination of a vector perpendicular to radius of your torso rotation and one vertical from the water. That combined with the leverage the top hand has means most of the force is coming directly up the shaft.

All the overly complex drivel I just wrote is only to support my point that the top arm needs to be in a strong position to resist force coming up the shaft.

Couldn't agree more with your last paragraph :)
Last edit: 6 months 1 week ago by Belacqua.

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6 months 1 week ago #39323 by XV2PS
Thank you everybody. I am too heavy for push ups
My hips do rotate a few, my legs do push a few (with knees up and down), but I feel no blade being set to lift my body out of the seat. Probably not setting it forward enough.
My spine is pretty stiff (can't bent much forward). So I feel more like moving the blade backward than downward. I tried increasing paddle length from 214cm to 217cm in order to reach water further front, but it mostly makes it harder.
I will switch to pedal drive haha.

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