Diary of a middle aged kayaker

Chasing a percentage?

I’ve now raced in 4 Premier division slaloms since gaining promotion in the summer, with my final race, the British Open, coming up in a couple of weeks. I’m still getting to grips with the challenges of Premier and my results have been between 36th  – 42nd .   Better than last place, but not setting [...]

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Slalom update – process or outcome?

I wrote about the challenge of goal setting in my last blog post. Having a clear outcome goal increases motivation, but can also be tricky because outcome goals are uncontrollable and take our focus into the future, and being future focused during a competition tends to increase anxiety. This is a very personal challenge for [...]

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When goals get in the way

I’ve long been fascinated by the way goals can help or hinder performance, right from my early days of competition.  Having a clear objective ‘should’ be a good thing, but it seems to me that this isn’t always the case.  It takes a bit of care to choose the right goals. Over my winter slalom [...]

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“You don’t stop paddling because you get old, you get old because you stop paddling”

The 2013 slalom season 2013 has been an amazing slalom season. I’ve achieved much of what I set out to do and really enjoyed myself along the way. My first slalom career lasted from 1978 to 1990, so I feel immensely appreciative that I’m able to have a second crack at this brilliant sport.  Watching [...]

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Ivrea World Masters Games

I’ve written a descriptive report of the Masters Games for Sportscene (http://www.sportscene.tv/whitewater/canoe-slalom/news/canoe-slalom-at-the-torino-world-masters-games) so now I’m taking a much more personal perspective, in keeping with the ethos of Diary of a Middle Aged Kayaker. “Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.” ― Salvador Dali I came across this quote at a Dali art [...]

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The slalom season begins

Most of my recent paddling has been in a slalom boat, training at Lee Valley.  GB Canoeing has started twice weekly training sessions as part of its Olympic Legacy programme, and although this is targeted at young paddlers I’ve been able to join in.  As Paul Ratcliffe said, it’s about creating a healthy slalom ecosystem [...]

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Wet weekend in Dartmoor and the art of decisions

My paddling highlight so far for 2013 has been a wet and cold January weekend in Dartmoor. Paddling with a good crew, we managed three excellent rivers with good water levels. First up was the Upper Plym, a beautiful steep Grade 4 / 5 run that the guidebook calls the ‘jewel in the crown’ of [...]

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Destination Ivrea – World Masters Games

2013 is shaping up to be a big year for me. For a start I turn 50 this month and that feels like a significant milestone.  It’s also a year in which the quadrennial World Master Games takes place, and there’s a slalom event at Ivrea in early August.   http://www.torino2013wmg.org  I decided a couple of [...]

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Parenting Athletes

My last post about paddling parents provoked a great response.  In particular from Tim Ward, who emailed me about his experience as the parent of a competitive paddler – Alan Ward, who was junior World Champion in freestyle.  I thought it was worth putting Tim’s note up here because it contains some real nuggets based [...]

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Learning to be a paddling parent

One of the themes of the London 2012 Games was ‘inspire a generation’.  In my case it certainly worked. Seeing the Olympic slalom competition first hand was a real buzz and for the first time my girls are asking ‘when can we go kayaking again?’   I’m really pleased about this, because for the last [...]

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