Diary of a middle aged kayaker

Archives for kayaking

Effort vs Age

I’ve become increasingly aware of two countervailing forces in my paddling life.  On one side is the training effort that leads to improvement, on the other is the decline brought about by increasing age. This season it feels like a pretty even match between the two! I raced in 10 slaloms over my first full [...]

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Small change, big difference

I’ve had two beautiful paddling sessions at Lee Valley this weekend. 30 degrees, sunshine, whitewater and good vibes. It’s a welcome change from the long cold winter. Lee Valley has been my default paddling destination over the last few months. I decided not to go creek boating in Italy this spring, and also passed on [...]

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Re-learning old lessons

One of the curious things about human nature is that people (and I mean me) can be a bit slow to learn, despite being taught the same lesson time and time again. One of the lessons I keep having concerns the expectation trap. This is the way that expectations, even positive, seem to interfere with [...]

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We stand on the shoulders of giants

I was working with a young slalom paddler the other day and I mentioned the name Bill Endicott. “Bill who?” he replied. I was momentarily shocked, but then it dawned on me that there must be a whole generation of paddlers who aren’t familiar with Bill’s massive contribution to the sport. Just as Isaac Newton [...]

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2014 Slalom season over – winter training and some proper rivers

The 2014 slalom season is over. I had two goals, first of all to gain promotion to Premier Division (done) and second to race well and achieve my best result at the British Open. So how did I get on? If I look at the results of the British Open I should be content; after [...]

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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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Is it worth doing dry land training for kayaking?

I’ve just spent two and a half weeks on holiday with my family, relaxing in the sun in Sardinia. This was the longest time I’ve spent off the water for well over a year, and a stark contrast to the previous few months when I was able to put in a solid training block that [...]

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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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Rules of the road – when slalom and plastic meet.

I was disturbed by a recent Facebook post from a paddling friend who said  “my session (at Lee Valley) today was completely ruined by the hoards of extremely selfish slalom paddlers..” an update that led to a long stream of comments about the difficulties of slalom paddlers and others sharing the same stretch of whitewater. [...]

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