New Season

By Jim on Monday, May 3, 2010

 What do I do now?



After the season finishes it is often the hardest time of all.

Many questions go through your head.

How much rest should I have?

How do I improve on last year?

What resource do I need to get better?

Where did I go right and where did I go wrong?

How much do I really want it?


When I first started paddling I was a young guy who would go in search of the best people in my chosen sport.

I would make the effort to travel if need be, I would digest all their words and advice then work out what worked best for me.


After a few years of moving around the country or within my own city, I found I had enough knowledge to start to work hard on my own.

The thing about training on your own is that you get lots of time to work on the small things, these small things end up being the major things that help you improve in the end. The time spent on my own allowed me to work on my drills and paddle stroke.


To start a new season I would always give myself a few weeks off from paddling and all sorts of training. If you are confident in your paddle stroke you can have some time off.

In this time I would work out what will be the biggest event for me in the coming season, then work back from there. It is so important to have one major race to work on for the season. Then set yourself another 2-3 races to have a big go in, to see where you are at with your training. From these races you can see if you need to alter your training to beat your time, pick out people of similar ability who you can race against or just make it to the finish line for the first time.


To improve I would look at new training methods available, refer to this link on the website: . This will explain how to structure your training?


The most important aspect in setting up for a new season of training is having structure. You should look at your stroke. Get a video session done early on, enabling you to work on your stroke over the entire season. Then you won’t have to rush it, allowing you to dedicate a session a week to drills. The video session lets you see what you are doing correct and what you are doing wrong. This is something I did a lot of.

I can help you with this, email me at for further details.


As I said earlier, it is always a good idea to source some training squads that have paddlers better than yourself.  This will force you to push yourself harder. A GPS device is good and helps you monitor time, speed and distance to log into your training book, but nothing beats man on man racing when training.


The one aspect of my paddling and training that I tried not to do, was dwell on the areas where I went wrong throughout the year. I hated looking backwards, when you are positive you like to look forward. I would reflect on my stremgths and weaknesses by writing these down. This was the easiest way to workout what might have made things go wrong. Sometimes you find that you may have not eaten well that week, late nights leading to less sleep or you may find you just had a bad training week or race. In reality sometimes there is no obvious answer and you can have bad sessions or bad races. It’s how you bounce back from the bad sessions and races that make you the real winner.

For me I would have an extra day off or I would go to a race where the competitors may not be as strong to get my confidence back. Nothing beats winning or doing a PB.


To complete your year’s planning you need to be honest with yourself. You are the most important person, you need to be happy with what you have done with your paddling. Remember it is you who has to get up early mornings or do the hard yards in the late afternoons, so be true to yourself.

There is no use having a goal of being an Olympian if you are only going to train 3-4 times a week. You will just be disappointed.

The best way to set a goal is workout where you were last year and add 10%.

If you need help in any areas of paddling look at and take the tips from there.

If you set yourself a plan that can stay consistent all year and be honest with yourself, you will improve by at least 20%. Your season will be enjoyable and rewarding.

I can tell you with all the training I did, nothing was more rewarding then achieving my goals.


Check the blogs and podcast from MYKAYAKCOACH to help you throughout the year and set your goals.


GOOD LUCK and most of all ENJOY IT.