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Emily doing mcnasty at Z Dam, Richmond, VA

Seth Ashworth has been coaching me weekly since 2018. Since we are not in the same location with me being in Richmond, Va and Seth in Canada, we use video review. The goal of video review is to look back at the tricks you are doing, the lines you are running, or waterfall you are going off, etc and analyzing them to improve your kayaking.

EEW GoPro Mountain Games 2023

In the beginning of each year I write out my detailed goals for the year. We then set a plan and chip away at those goals each week focussing on certain things to learn and improve. These things vary loosely based on water levels, traveling to kayaking spots, competitions, etc. Every Sunday I submit my videos to Seth and he watches the videos and gives me feed back. Video review has improved my kayaking so much. When we started back in 2018, I could only double pump and loop. Now I can do almost all freestyle tricks in flat water, have won freestyle events, came in 2nd in King of the James down river race, made the USA freestyle kayak team, competed in the World championships in England, and finished 4th place at GoPro Mountain Games in Vail, CO 2 times. My down river tricks have improved and lines on waterfalls with now working on freewheels etc. Video review has made my kayaking SOOOOOO much better. I don’t think I can stress enough how it has changed my kayaking.

EEW GoPro Mountain Games 2023 Space Godzilla

How I do video review:

I use my iPhone and prop it up or use a tripod at whatever feature I am at, zoom in a little bit so when reviewing its not too far away that you can barely see what you tricks you are doing. I am careful of placement so it doesn’t fall into the river or fall over in general. I let my phone run for about a 30 minute session then I come back and restart it again for another 30 minutes depending on how long my sessions are. You can use any camera (GoPro works too) for this but I use my iPhone because it is the quickest way for me to edit my clips in iMovie to review them. I keep my iPhone in a waterproof case while doing this.
Once I get home, I start looking at the longer videos that are 30 minutes and start to clip them in iMovie getting rid of the down time in the clips (waiting in eddy, catching breath, etc) so they are shorter. I then name the shorter clips: Z Dam 1, Z Dam 2, Z Dam 3 etc. These clips are usually 3 to 4 mins a piece.
I then use iMovie again and combine the shorter clips from above and start to grab out the tricks I am working on and getting rid of the tricks I am not looking for in this set. So if I’m working on offsides mcnasties, I grab all of those and delete the rest. I then name it offsides mcnasties. If I am working on Space Godzillas, I grab all of those and delete the rest and name it Space Godzillas…. And so on.

Once you have your videos organized based on each trick/line or whatever you are working, on you can review it now. You can go through it in slow motion and see what you need to change and what you are doing right and wrong. I like to look at the great tricks and analyze exactly what I did to make that trick great. Then I move into the tricks that didn’t go so well and compare to the great tricks so next time I paddle I have that in mind to work on. See below for what Seth looks for in the videos I send him each week.

EEW the chutes on the Potomac river

What are you looking at with these videos: What Seth looks at for me and what I have learned to look for over the years. Seth lays it out nicely in 4 steps, check the link out to his youtube video: These 4 steps are what he lays out in his video and has me looking at when I review my footage. I also appear as an example of how much progress I’ve made at the 9:28 mark as evidence how much video review improves your kayaking.

Boat: Where is you boat pointing, boat angle on wave or feature, edging correctly, etc
Body: Is your body forwards, center, sitting up straight or crunched down, body turning correctly, etc.
Paddle: Where is your paddle at. Is it pushing, pulling, too much on arms and not using core enough that’s pulling boat off. For me big ones are: Is my paddle in water long enough pulling for mcnasties or paddle not enough under butt using as a lever for blunts.
Head: Look where you want to go. In freestyle, is your head down stream when should be looking up. Are you looking at your bow instead of straight ahead when on wave. The movement of head can make trick go better or worse. If running a line, looking where you are going vs little glances you get off line.

I have attached a video of a ride while I was at Worlds in Nottingham, England at inlet to analyze 3 tricks that I put in slow motion to give an example of video review:

Trick 1: Mcnasty onside: Body: My chest is not up straight it is crouched over. Paddle: is not fully in the water. Head: I am looking upstream. This trick I rushed but it landed straight.

EEW mcnasty

Trick 2: Space Godzilla right: Body: straight. Paddle: is reaching across the midline of my chest which is good. Head: looking in the correct spot.

Space Godzilla right

Trick 3: Space Godzilla left: This is my offsides and I have been working on this for what seems forever. Body: kind of crunched not sitting up straight. Paddle: is reaching across my midline of my chest which is good. Head: looking where it is supposed to be. In the end my body and core sort of collapse with the boat traveling off from landing straight.

Space Godzilla left

I highly recommend giving video review a try. It has improved my kayaking astronomically. It is very easy to do by just setting up camera during your session and letting it run. I record on my iPhone, then use iMovie to trim, and then separate the videos into the tricks I am looking at. When I do this I can usually clip and separate these in 30 minutes or less. Its worth trying it to improve your kayaking.

Thats it, that’s all.
Catch you on the river!

Also huge shoutout Seth Ashworth for coaching me since 2018 and taking the time through out the years even though we are in different countries most of the time. I appreciate his time and efforts put in to help me get where I am today.