Teaching a Midget How to be a Center
SCDBC/ICEA organized a paddling clinic for the local Long Beach paddling community last weekend. I applaud SCDBC/ICEA for taking affirmative steps to develop the paddling talent in our community.
My team’s coaching staff opted not to participate as, although we greatly respect the accomplishments and knowledge of the instructor and will likely never be as decorated as he is in terms of medals and international wins, we believe the style he teaches is not conducive to what we teach our team.
We didn’t forbid our paddlers from going to the clinic. In fact, a few of our paddlers attended. I think it is fantastic that some of our paddlers took the initiative to get a different perspective on how to move a boat.
Let me get this straight – there is no “one” way to paddle a boat fast. The technique we teach fits our team’s physical composition. Most of us are on the shorter side of six feet (minus KGB and a few others, of course). And my team probably couldn’t beat any of the teams this instructor coaches.
Reviewing the videos that are floating around on the net of what went down last weekend, I see an east coast-style paddling technique being taught. I think that this method is ideal for the “bigger” paddlers out there. You know – big giant muscular 6 footers (man, I wish I was one of those!). It could be my West Coast bias, but to me, that style won’t get my team going any faster. I guarantee you my oc1/oc2 time trial times would be considerably slower if I paddled that way.
I would encourage the coaches that participated in this and any other clinic to really digest what the instructor is saying and determine if it is something that will make your team better. If it is, then spread it to your masses. If not, then have the courage to realize it and continue your search for what works.
Just my two cents.