Fee for Service Coaches
Note: This is a personal reflection on coaching. Some coaches won't share my view.
I have either attended, or observed, short coaching sessions run by prominent former elite paddlers. These are usually conducted on a fee-for-service basis. The cost can range from $150-$250 for a lesson ranging from 1-3 hrs.
Most of us need help to improve...very few people can achieve by themselves. If you are willing to pay for a bit of specialist help, I think it is very worthwhile.
I have seen the following professional coaches in action and would happily give a personal recommendation. (Click on their logo to go to their sites):
Multiple Olympic and world championship medalist. Probably Australia's best ever paddler and across multiple disciplines. A polite perfectionist. Will not tell you that things are good unless they are actually great! Conducts clinics in Canberra once or twice per year. They book out fast, so express interest early if you want a place.
Olympic K4 finalist. An energetic coach. Has a great teaching style - has several different ways to explain each element of the stroke.
If you'd like to discuss my experience with any of these coaches (especially if you are thinking about visiting one but not sure who), feel free to have a chat. I have no financial/commercial interest etc...just sharing knowledge if it helps you.
Online Coaching Resources
This is just a random collection of links, images and articles. Its broken up into paddling disciplines to make it easier to navigate. New content will be added from time to time, so please check back regularly.
No guarantee on quality...just enjoy, learn what you can, but use at your own risk :)
A couple of videos of some seriously fast flatwater kayakers (Click on Title)
- Knut Holmann
- Anders Gustafsson
- Aussie K4 Gold Medal at London Olympics
- Chad Meek winning the World Marathon Championships in 1996 (the commentary is not in English...but who cares?
A Couple of Videos of some seriously fast flat water Canoists (Click on Title)
- 2014 1000m C1 World Championships - Tragic Finish
- Larry Cain SUP Paddling
- Quick Blade
- Some sample core strengthening exercises(it is a surf ski website, but core strength is important for all paddlers)
- Push Up Progression by Larry Cain Olympic C1 Gold Meldalist
- University of Sea Kayaking site put together by Wayne Horodowich containing articles and references on Sea Kayaking
Coaches and Instruction Opportunities
There are several Coaching and Training Sessions available for BGCC members to take part in.
As these are all organised by the coaches and instructors on a voluntary basis, you are advised to contact those in charge of each session to make sure there have been no changes to the session times and/or that this week's session will be going ahead. Most of these sessions are held from Molonglo Reach, either on the Molonglo River or out onto Lake Burley Griffin.
Participation in training sessions is only permitted for club members with the exception of the "Taste of Paddling" Sessions.
Taste of Paddling Sessions
Taste of Paddling sessions for non-club members are conducted on a number weekends, for instruction in boat selection and use, basic paddling stroke. Also refining paddling strokes, trying less stable boats. These sessions must be booked through Patricia Ashton. For detail, see under Coaching
- 2020 dates: TBA in October, November, December
Beginner Paddlers - New Club Members
Join the Burley Griffin Canoe Club - New Members' Inductions will generally be held on the first Sunday of each month, over the warmer months. We then offer beginner sessions at various times during the week, or, if you’re more advanced, there are training sessions with coaches which are more race-orientated.
Beginner paddlers are welcome and catered for between October and April, from then on water and air temperatures steadily drop and many of us train and travel for the winter race season, or hibernate totally.
However, if, during the colder months you are super keen, transferring from another club, or you are an experienced paddler, please let us know and we’ll try to set you up in a training group. Patricia.
All new club members using club boats (except canoe polo), are expected to attend an Induction Session. These will cover club rules regarding the shed, boats and safety. You will learn which boats are available for use (depending on your paddling capabilities), how to use these boats - carrying them, adjusting them and how to get in and out of them. You will learn some basic paddling skills on the water. Sessions take about 2 hours.
Once you have attended your Induction, there are various options open to you. If you have had some experience paddling you may wish to join one of the paddling groups listed below. If you are new to paddling and wish to gain skills, confidence and paddling fitness in a non-threatening, somewhat more gentle session, the following times are ideal.
[Please remember to get to the shed at least 5 minutes before time, to be ready to paddle. The longer it takes to get on the water, the shorter your paddle will be. Coaches lock the shed doors before getting on the water, so if you are late you will miss out]
Thursday 5:30 p.m. with Patricia - technique, basic skills, building up fitness and strength - 1 hour contact Patricia
Saturdays at 1:30 p.m. (on non-race weekends only!) – with Helen. Please contact Helen before 11 a.m. at: Helen or she will not be there. Be at the Club Shed before 1:30 p.m. to take out boats. Beginners will be accompanied with general beginner coaching as appropriate. More competent (faster) paddlers are welcome to attend at this time and paddle at their own pace - appropriate to their abilities.
Sunday: 9.30 a.m. These sessions will be lead by coaches, trainee coaches or experienced paddlers on a roster basis. Depending on participants this could be a gentle paddle to the wetlands, carillon or Kingston, or short races up and down the river.
Wednesday's: from 5:45 p.m. We run our club time trials - you can use these to increase your paddling fitness or you can take out a boat and go for a paddle yourself. Shed Is open from about 4:30 till 7:30 p.m.
Gary – Intermediate /Advanced Paddlers
This intermediate/advanced group includes regular interval sessions and drills/technique sessions.
Interval sessions sound scary, but they are not. Anyone wishing to get fitter and faster is welcome.
Intervals are structured as 'out-and-back' so the group gets back together regularly regardless of various speeds through the group. Excellent for time trial and Marathon series racing. A stopwatch or GPS on the deck of the boat for each paddler is helpful but not mandatory.
If the coach is unavailable for any session (this is pretty rare!), programs will be set in advance and there are almost always other paddlers in attendance.
6:00 a.m. Tuesday & Thursday (all year) - Interval session. Off water by 7:15-7:30.
6:30 a.m. Saturday Interval session of about 90min on Saturday.
7:00 a.m. Sunday - Long paddle of about 2hrs on Sunday.
Margi – Intermediate/Advanced Paddlers Training for Competition. Be the best you can be.
Anyone who seeks to improve their racing performance are welcome to attend these sessions.
TrainSmart integrates information on paddle and boat physics, physical and fitness attributes and biomechanics towards personalised training to prepare paddlers to be the best they can be. Sessions are structured to keep group cohesivity through the session so it does not matter if you are a fast Open MK1 paddler or an older masters paddler. The common ingredient for participants in this group is a desire to improve their racing performances. Participants in the program are encouraged to attend the Wednesday Night BGCC Paddle and Time Trial.
Sessions are usually 60-75 minutes during the week and longer on Saturdays. Sessions follow a 2-week microcycle pattern within a block periodisation format designed around key races. The program includes on-water and off-water sessions (gym, run, portage, cycle). If Margi is not around to run a session, details are sent to you in advance and the group trains at the usual times.
Training Times are:
· 6:30 am. Monday, Thursday, Friday.
· 6:00 pm. Tuesday
· 7:30 am. Saturday
Members of this squad are mostly training for State and National Championships, PNSW Winter Series races and Masters Games. Some paddlers get selected onto National Teams and compete at the World Marathon and World Masters Marathon Championships. The program follows similar training philosophies to those of successful paddlers and nations in marathon kayak.
Paddlers are regularly tested so that the training program can be adjusted to facilitate sustained improvement. There is a small cost to cover consumables when we do testing. Testing follows similar protocols to that used nationally and by successful marathon coaches around the world. If available, Mick Leverett gets involved in these testing weekends to help prepare you for the myriad of strategies and skills needed to be successful.
Overseas Tours: Members of the squad try to travel to South Africa or to the World Marathon Cup in May-June of each year to get some international experience, socialise and race with some of the top names in our sport, work with some really good coaches and have a bit of a change of scenery. Preliminary plans for 2020 are to go to Pitesti in Romania (location for the 2021 World Championships) for the Marathon World Cup over 22-24 May with a 10-day camp in either Portugal or Denmark preceding competition. The World and Masters World Marathon Championships are in Baerum, Norway over 25-30 August, 2020 so we may make a side trip to Norway to check out the course.
Canoe Polo holds training on Monday, Wednesdays and Sundays, at the river over the summer months, and Wednesday and Sundays at Tuggeranong pool through winter. Contact our Canoe Polo convener, Laura Kleinrahm: Laura
How can coaching help me?
Benefits of Working with a Coach
The main benefit of working with a qualified coach is that you get objective advice and support, to help you achieve your goals.
A coach can help you:
- get started in the sport;
- make the move from your current boat to a new boat;
- get fitter;
- paddle further;
- paddle faster;
- try your first race;
- improve your race results; or
- prepare for a major championship.
Anything is possible with the right combination of paddler and coach!
The following is general advice only. It has not been prepared with your specific needs in mind. We encourage you to check with your medical adviser before undertaking strenuous training. And for advice to suit your needs, it is always best to talk directly to a qualified coach.
In the same way that paddlers have different reasons for participating in the sport, so too do coaches have different strengths and areas of interest. It is important to find a coach who shares your interest and thinks they can can help you achieve your goals.
Here are a few thoughts on the range of things a coach can help with and the ways they might go about it:
Getting started in the sport or moving to a more advanced boat: if you want a few pointers, nothing too serious or too regular…
- you could attend one of the club's ‘new member’ sessions or arrange a single one-on-one lesson with a coach
- the coach will focus on safety, correct technique and injury prevention
- if there are particular things you need to work on, the coach can provide some ‘drills’ (specific exercises) that you can do to help you improve
- the coach will pass on their experiences as relevant to your situation and may be able to refer you to others for more assistance
Getting fitter, paddling further or going faster in your local club race: if you think some specific guidance would be helpful…
- a coach can help you assess your goal and work out how long you might realistically need to achieve them
- joining some of the introductory coach-guided paddles will give you a chance
Doing your first ‘big’ race (like the Paddle NSW Marathon Series) or preparing for a specific event (like the Hawkesbury or Myall Classics): if you have a goal, and would like some help to give yourself the best chance of success
- a coach can develop a plan or a general program - probably focusing on one or two main things - like building your endurance or preparing for specific water conditions
- the coach can also help you make specific preparations such as seating comfort in the boat or minimising comfort issues like chaffing, blisters, hydration, toileting, etc.
Competing to the best of your ability - Marathon or Sprint series, State or National Championships: this is getting serious now…
- get a personalised program - prepared with your specific needs in mind
- join a more advance training squad…particularly if there are other paddlers with similar goals, for support, structure and a shared sense of commitment
- you are training hard and the coach is able to act variously as advisor, mentor and motivator
- the coach will also be able to keep an out for signs of injury or over-training and help you minimise the risks and impacts
Learn to Paddle
The Burley Griffin Canoe Club holds several 'A Taste of Paddling' sessions, for non-members who would like to try out paddling.
A Taste of Paddling
Participants will be able to try out a variety of boats, learn about equipment, boat handling, entry and exit techniques, basic paddling techniques and basic capsize procedures. Participants are expected to be able to swim 50m. The sessions are held on the Molonglo River in calm conditions close to shore.
Sessions are run over 3 hours and all boats, life jackets and paddles are provided.
The aim of the course is to introduce you to the sport of kayaking and to deliver the skills necessary to use a recreational kayak safely, in calm, flatwater conditions, close to shore.
The courses cover a short introduction to a variety of boats and paddles, safety issues, entry and exit techniques, basic paddling techniques, what to do in a capsize.
A Taste of Paddling will recommence in October 2020 for this summer season. See the front page for advertised dates.
Or, if you know you’re keen to paddle regularly:
Join the Burley Griffin Canoe Club - New Members' Inductions will generally be held on the first Sunday of each month over the warmer months. We then offer beginner sessions at various times during the week, or, if you’re more advanced, there are training sessions with coaches which are more race-orientated.
Find out more in Coaches and Instructor Opportunities