Note: This is a 20 minute method for teaching new paddlers how to get on the water safely and comfortably with 3 stroke skill to paddle out and back on flat calm water without assistance. It really works!
1.Introduction. Instructor to students
2. Objectives :
A. have fun in a canoe - safely
B. learn to paddle and control your own canoe without any help – safely
C. WHAT CAN GO WRONG OUT HERE !!! flip/fall/ lightening/wind/etc.
A. Life Jackets. Wear it – Wear it right – Wear it tight instructors test each jacket
B. front paddles left/ back paddles right [no switching sides unless both switch]
C. front and back paddle together when possible
D. Front’s main job is the motor. Back’s main job is to steer.
E. Limiting rules of the paddling site [i.e. Don’t go past the red marker]
4. How to hold the paddle: it looks like this...how much do we need to know.
5. Getting into the boat and getting out of the boat [boat carries if appropriate 2 and 4 person]
6. Changing positions in the boat on water [since the front & back have different jobs]
7. Strokes and Maneuvers:
A. Forward. “Everyone knows how to do the forward stroke so we don’t
need to teach it. …It looks like this [demo] just like a forward swimming
stroke.” [Put your hand on the blade and mimic a freestyle stroke]. How do
you stop ?
B. Back. “Everyone knows how to do the back stroke so we don’t need to
teach that either. It looks like this [demo] just like a swimming back
stroke.” [hand on blade and mimic a swimming back stroke] How do you
C. SPINS “What happens if the front paddles frontward and the back paddles
backward [you spin] and what happens if the front paddles backward and
the back paddles frontward [you spin the other way]. So without learning
anything new you already know how to go frontward, backward, stop
and to turn [spin] right and turn [spin] left.” [like an innertube]
D. What else there ? GOING STRAIGHT. The back person needs to do
rudder strokes to make the boat go straight. Here’s
how you do that [demo draw and push away/ pry “If you can’t tap
the side of the boat with the paddle then you can’t do the strokes”].
Students won’t get this. It will have to be repeated on water and each
stern paddler will have to be put in position “hands on” to do the stroke.
8. On Water Drill: Students, in the boat, in the water, at the bank ready to paddle . Instructors
in the water standing along side and with hands on the boat. Safety boat out on the water.
A. Wiggle the boat until the paddlers can keep their heads and shoulders
quiet and let their butts move with the boat. [just like a bicycle]
B. “Do a forward stroke.” “Do a back stroke” [the instructor moves the
boat forward and back with the strokes to emphasize the boat
movement, check hand position on paddles]
C. “just the back person Rudder Strokes.” [“LOOK AT ME”; Physically
rotate the stern paddler into a stern pry position by grabbing the blade
“Push out to go one way and pull in to go the other way” have the
Paddler do several pushes and pulls with Instr pushing for emphasis .
9. After all boats are out, instructors go out and help the 10% that are having trouble.
NEW MATERIAL: After students have exhausted their “discovery period” [half hour or so] Have them
switch positions and teach those students who are not having trouble additional skills/games : bow draw and cross draw, vertical paddle etc.