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Kayak roll practice drill

Previously I mentioned my problems with the roll, and also a few links to some, hopefully, helpful video including one by Eric Jackson.

I decided to take Jacksons methodology and went out and started to practice the ‘high brace’ as the last half of the C to C roll. But I have to stress here that what you are watching me doing is NOT practicing high brace. This is an exercise to help me develop relaxation, the c to c motion, and hip/knee action.

This is just an exercise I am doing to help me with my roll, which I have a lot of trouble with. My main problem is being able to relax my torso and keep my head down. The difference between the way I am doing this and the way EJ suggested is that I am not leaning back.

I know a few of you may say that I am just doing a bad, almost old school, style high brace. But that is not the aim of the exercise. When I practice this I am merely isolating and focussing on the last half of the C to C roll, not on practicing my high brace, which I practice using an entirely different method.

Some of you will ask why I do not just do a full roll? The reason is that I am breaking the movement down. By practising this way I am able to practice this half of the roll in quick succession without the distraction of having to wait to roll all the way around, then do set up, then mess up my roll, again, and have to bail.

My aim is to make as much use of my practice time without all the hassle of having to bail out after a multitude of failed rolls. So this enables me to isolate one part of the roll and focus on it.

When I practice this I am focussing on staying totally relaxed. I am not pulling down on my outermost arm, so I am not risking wrenching my shoulders for this particular exercise. Please remember this if you comment below saying that my shoulders are at risk. If I am doing this drill correctly my arm and shoulder involvement are minimised as much as I possibly can. My entire aim is to bring the boat up mainly with the hip/knee combined with keeping my torso and head on the water until the last second.

By performing this exercise in quick succession without too much thought, my aim is to build up muscle memory and ‘action’ rather than ‘thought’. You may say that if I practice the high brace I should be focussing on similar aspects. But with this drill my aim is not to stop a capsize as it would be during normal bracing practice. In fact I am trying to get the boat as inverted and as ‘capsized’ as I can before I try to bring it up again. I am trying to let the boat go right over before I start the action. I haven’t yet managed to get the boat totally inverted, but I have managed to get it close.

Lastly, I need to stress again that I am not practicing the high brace here. What I am doing here is an active ‘in the water’ extension of the old ‘practice the hip flick at the side of the swimming pool’ drill. That is how you need to view this drill. This is for my own use as I know how I learn movement and feeling. Others may not get anything out of it. But one thing I am not doing is… practicing the high brace!

Here is a video of my practice (you at the back, stifle that laughter!)

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