Mixing up your practice can do plenty more for you than just keeping things interesting. Prof. Dave Collins and Dr. Loel Collins spoke at Canoe Wales’ first Adventure Sport Coach conference about a fresh perspective for adventure sport coaches. Their key theme was a coaches ability to manipulate the task, environment and the individual, to really make a difference.

OK that was great, what does that mean for white water paddlers? Well, basically to develop robust adaptable skills we need to develop our understanding and skills in each area.

Individual

Here I’m at one of my favourite moves on the Dee, crossing the flow through a steep breaking wave. There are only a few inches from success and missing the eddy on the other side and breaking out through the wave feels great.  To develop, I’ve worked on the move in my usual boat (blue Z:1), then changes to a bigger volume boat that force me to change something about my performance to succeed. I’ve changed something about myself and kept the task and environment the same.

Another example could be to change the people you are paddling with to get a different viewpoint on skills/decisions/future.

Environment

This is the most obvious but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it must be harder. The need for a good base of experience and skills in each class of water before progressing can be frustrating to hear but really is necessary. Progression is really rewarding. In this example, I’m using the same boat and measuring my own performance (so individual the same) and my task is to consistently surf across an inconsistent wave with at least five cut backs (so task the same). The first photo is café wave at Tryweryn, the second Chainbridge wave on the Dee.

Task

Again simple, but using the above example, rather than five cutbacks at café wave, work on a flat spin or in the first example on the Dee, break out through the wave and cutback in the flow and back into the same eddy.

The skill of a coach isn’t just their ability to use these ideas, and others, but knowing how and when to use them, their professional judgement and decision-making, something not really taught but clearly virtually important!

Content retrieved from: http://palmequipmenteurope.com/blog/en/how-mix-it.