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Drills on the water


  1. In The Dark. Paddle with eyes closed. Work up to 100 strokes.
  2. Pause. Pause before the catch for a 3-count.
  3. Single Side. Paddle on one side. Work up to 100 strokes.
  4. Figure Eights. Paddle in a figure eights in the waves. Work on paddling with a slow cadence to increase difficulty.
  5. Leg flips. Put both legs over the same side of the ski. Place the blade in the water as the same side as your feet. Flip your feet to the other side of the boat. Repeat on the other side.
  6. Sightseeing. Paddle looking left for 10 strokes, then paddle looking right for 10 strokes. Work up to 100.
  7. One and Done. Take one stroke and glide until the boat stops, take the next stroke and so on.
  8. More Drills and Videos
    1. New Zealand Paddler scroll down to the balance drills and balance videos


  1. One-hand catch. In a stationary boat get into your setup position, paused before the catch. Remove your lower hand from the shaft and practice planting your blade with only your upper hand.
  2. Two-hand catch. Same as the one-hand catch drill but grip the paddle shaft with both hands. Initiate the catch with the upper hand.
  3. Weight-Transfer. Have a friend sit on your bow in shallow water. They will stabilize your boat. Submerge your blade in the perfect catch position. Your friend reaches under the water and holds the tip of your blade as you put your weight onto the blade. Have them resist your downward weight so you may feel what the catch should feel like.


  1. Straight Arm. Paddle with both arms almost completely straight. Don't bend your elbows. Focus on keeping the paddle shaft parallel to your chest.
  2. Knee Taps. Rotate upper body until non-catch side elbow touches your non-catch side knee, then place catch in the water.


  1. Exit. Release power as blade reaches your hips and lift the blade out of the water with the back of your forearm.
  2. How far should you be taking paddle back? Drill that helps answer this


  1. Grabbers. Open your upper hand on the drive. Looks like you are reaching forward to grab something in the air. Helps train a loser grip.
  2. One Finger Drill. Hold the paddle shaft between your thumb to one finger. Paddle with no power. Good for overall formwork.


  1. Stroke Count. Mark off a short course of 50 to 100 meters. Count your strokes. Work to reduce your stroke count by perfecting your stroke. Another approach is to measure how far you can paddle in 50 strokes and work to increase your distance.
drills.txt · Last modified: 2022/12/05 15:45 (external edit)