Paddling Skills

Paddling technique analyses

The following session is designed to give the player an understanding of methods to enhance their own paddling style and attempt to correct any bad techniques or habits that may have been picked up due to a lack of initial basic skill training.

Many people are never taught the true art of paddling and learn by trial and error. Hopefully by giving them an insight into the skills required they will learn correctly and feel willing to improve their paddling style to improve their game.



FORWARD PADDLING – The catch, the pull and push, the exit, posture, pedalling, symmetry, high elbows, body rotation.
Drill- 20 metre paddle towards camera, 20 metre paddle @ 90 degrees to camera.

REVERSE PADDLING – Full extension, body Rotation.
Drill-As for forward paddling.

SWEEP – Power from the pull and push action.
Drill – Two revolutions one way then reverse.

DRAW- Increase efficiency, sculling draw
Drill- Draw 10 metres sideways both sides. Introduce the sculling draw.

BOW RUDDER – Wide plant, combination with draw to make Duffek Stroke.
Drill – Complete a box of 10 metres in both directions. (Four strokes then BR.)

SURFACE TURN – Initiate turn with a sweep on outside of turn and then a Duffek stroke on the inside of the turn. Stern stays on the surface.
Drill – As for bow rudder.

STERN TURN – Improve technique, add extra bow feather and draw to increase turn, stalling stern turn
Drill – Paddle away from camera, turn and paddle towards camera.

BRACING – Low Brace, high brace with low arm position, low brace changing to a high brace, high brace scull.
Drill – Attempt brace as and individual then with a hand tackler.


A short course should be organised that incorporates as many of the strokes explained above to test the students new skills.
This could be the beginning of a standard test that is introduced to canoe polo to test the full range of strokes.


1. Start with a 360 degrees turn
2. Paddle forward to marker
3. Right surface turn around marker.
4. Forward paddling to marker.
5. Left stern turn at marker.
6. Forward paddling to marker.
7. Right stern turn at marker.
8. Forward paddling to marker.
9. Stop at marker
10. Draw to the right.
11. 180 degree turn.
12. Draw to the left.
13. Stop at marker
14. Reverse paddling to marker.
15. Turn at marker.
16. Forward paddling to marker.
17. Left surface turn at marker.
18. Forward paddling to finish.

Suggestion for course set up:

1. 10m x 10m course. Possibly use markers for 20m sprint test.
2. Weight with rope and shock cord the last metre to a float e.g.. 2 litre milk carton.
3. Weights connected by rope that is 10 metres long. This will keep the rope under water and not near the surface where it can be tangled by paddles.


1) Medley of strokes over a course.
2) Stop and Go on whistle + turning.
3) Partner drag-
4) Sprints- Pyramids


Strength- Weights pulleys, squats, curls, presses
Strength use heavy weights.
Heavy medicine ball- throwing
Wrist strength- Squeeze a tennis ball.
Running games- touch ,netball, indoor soccer.

Stamina- Fast work, fast passing, fast weights.-Breathing deeply.