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I spend a lot of my time working with individuals on “purposeful movement” …

Whether it’s in the gym or on the water, moving with purpose/intention and moving with the knowledge of “why” you want to move that way is important in moving safely, effectively and in preventing injury.

I just wrapped up an ACA L4 Kayak Instructor Course with JK Team member, Kyle Thomas. The three most important things I want all my ACA instructor candidates to walk away with are: Safety, Effectiveness and Fun!

We had a strong group of candidates this year … with a mix of competent class III – class V paddlers. As an experienced paddler, it’s easy to “blow off” the basics and just paddle, without really thinking or considering the true “why” of your movement and what is the true purpose of that stroke or technique … but these experienced paddlers came to learn this.

Professional instruction is a great way to learn the purpose of your paddling strokes and techniques. It wasn’t until MANY years after I started paddling that I took my first professional instructional course. So I spent many years “guessing”, which resulted in a slow learning curve. Today, instructors have many tools and progressions that speed up your learning curve. Good instructors are able to watch you move and give you pointers to troubleshoot what you are having a hard time with … as well as explaining why it’s important, for example, to have good posture and rotation before you take a paddle stroke … instead of just “pulling a stroke”.

The last day of the L4 Instructor Course is the candidates final exam … this might sound intimidating … but, their final exam consisted of actually leading and teaching a kayak course to “true beginner padders”… woo-hoo … FUN! To me, the smiles on the “beginner students” faces is proof that it really does pay for paddlers to take the time and financial commitment to learn how to become effective and safe instructors … these “mock students” left the day feeling confident and excited to continue to pursue their kayaking experiences. And THIS … is all of our goals in the paddlesport industry … to get “butts in boats” ~ in safe and effective ways!

If you’re kayaker … take a course from a professional, certified instructor. If you’re a kayaker who wants to teach …. learn how to become an effective teacher with the ACA or another knowledgeable instructor. Learn how to paddle with purpose … this will speed up your learning curve and allow you to paddle for longevity.

See you on the river.