-- Last Updated: May-09-13 1:10 PM EST --
Is there a consensus about which hand is the "control" hand during what phases of the stroke? Not left vs. right, of course, but pulling vs. pushing?
I've seen both cases but I can think of a few reasons why I would want to control (i.e., hold tighter) the shaft with one hand vs. the other:
- during the catch stroke phase, the pulling hand takes control (meaning, it holds the shaft firmly and determines how the paddle is oriented in the water), keeps control through the power phase and the release and preparation phases, then the other hand becomes the control hand during the catch phase of the next stroke...
An alternative is to have the pull hand be just a hook and holds the shaft without clutching it, while the top/pushing hand holds the shaft tight to determine the paddle angle. The problem I see with this is that both hands effectively exert power all the time (where in the approach above, the pushing hand can be completely relaxed during the power and release and part of the preparation phases, thus getting a significant break from having to clutch the fingers).
Edit: I suppose I should mention I'm thinking with a 0 offset paddle and no dominant hands and *not* the asymetrical case of dominant right or left control hand (for those with offset and one-sided control hand, what I see is that that hand seldom releases while the other is often half-opened and relaxed).
Considerations for WW vs. flat water?
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hand closer to water|
Posted by: Peter-CA on May-09-13 1:51 PM (EST)
Seems to me to be the hand closer to the water. For example, when doing sculls, the hand closer to the water is controlling the scull. And in the forward stroke, it is sometimes taught to open the upper hand (hand away from water) and just push with that hand so as to get people to learn to relax a tiring death grip.
Posted by: Jaybabina on May-09-13 4:27 PM (EST)
I have never heard of a "control hand" with a paddling stroke. Maybe for canoeists? In kayaking it usually refers to the sculling motion since the hand closest to the water is controlling the paddle movement and the other hand is used as a guide.
Posted by: mjflores on May-09-13 1:53 PM (EST)
I'm right handed but my control hand is my left. This means I hold my beer with my left hand, and use my left pinky and my right hand for paddling.
Over thinking things|
Posted by: mintjulep on May-09-13 1:58 PM (EST)
Try paddling with only one hand. Not very effective is it?
DON'T REALLY THINK CONTROL HAND APPLIES|
Posted by: scupperfrank on May-09-13 2:10 PM (EST)
Definitely involves a push|
Posted by: willi_h2o on May-09-13 2:30 PM (EST)
I wouldn't be too concerned with pulling since
Posted by: carldelo on May-09-13 3:55 PM (EST)
"Pushing across the center line of the boat
that guy is good|
Posted by: slushpaddler on May-09-13 4:54 PM (EST)
Check out his "stupid paddling tricks" in his youtube collection.
pulling and rotation|
Posted by: jcbikeski on May-09-13 8:01 PM (EST)
If you define pulling as involving bending the arm much then I agree it kills rotation. But you can still very correctly call it pulling even with a fairly stiff arm _because_ of torso rotation. With a fairly stiff arm and good rotation the hand near the water still moves toward the stern and that hand still needs to be tight enough to manage that energy transfer. The upper hand pushing certainly adds to the overall paddle movement but isn't the sole cause of it.
Posted by: angstrom on May-09-13 4:45 PM (EST)
For a normal forward stroke, very little control input is needed. The blade should track through the water with very little need for correction. I try to have both hands relaxed so that both wrists are straight.
Brent Reitz explains it very well|
Posted by: Dr_Disco on May-09-13 5:45 PM (EST)
Thanks, that's what my thinking is too..|
Posted by: Kocho on May-10-13 12:15 AM (EST)
And yes, the paddle will orient itself so no need to "control" it too much, except when there is a need for a bracing or drawing/sculling component in the stroke (and then it is the hand closer to the water that does it).
No control hand with unfeathered paddles|
Posted by: BNystrom on May-10-13 6:55 AM (EST)
No control hand with feathered paddles|
Posted by: CapeFear on May-10-13 11:53 AM (EST)
You DO NOT want a control hand if you're using a feathered paddle. Not only is it unnecessary, it's counterproductive. For normal paddle strokes, all you need to do is hook the shaft with your pulling hand and push it with a loose upper hand. The blade will find it's own path through the water. It's only necessary to grip the paddle firmly when using specialty bracing/sculling/steering strokes that require precise blade angle control.
The way the forward stroke is taught|
Posted by: dajarr on May-10-13 1:57 PM (EST)
to beginners, the right hand is the "control hand". The right hand stays fixed on the shaft, with the knuckles aligned with the top edge of the right blade. The shaft swivels through the left hand, with the feather angle adjusted so that the left blade will be perpendicular to the side of the boat as that blade is planted. For an unfeathered paddle, such as GP, the control hand switches with each paddle stroke.
Yes, but that's not the topic discussion|
Posted by: Kocho on May-10-13 6:57 PM (EST)
At least not my original question...
pulling hand all the way to the plant|
Posted by: CapeFear on May-10-13 7:46 PM (EST)
I would say in my case the hand with the blade in the water is always the control hand. It's the hand that slips the stroke into a needed brace, that feels and controls the blade angle in maneuvering strokes, skulling, that controls how far off to the side the blade slips while pulling the kayak past the paddle blade, etc. Of course the other hand has to cooperate - much like you often find the cause of a failed roll the result of the off-side hand. But overall, I would say from the moment the blade is planted, that pulling hand is the control hand until it is finished lifting its blade and planting the opposite blade. So from initial pull until planting the opposite blade.
That is traditional|
Posted by: Dr_Disco on May-11-13 9:05 AM (EST)
but is now out of date. With an offset paddle "control" shifts back and forth. I had a discussion with people at the ACA about this and they were surprised that anyone was still teaching single hand control.
On the other hand, looking at ...|
Posted by: Kocho on May-11-13 3:40 PM (EST)
Looking at sprint races in slow motion on YouTube, pretty much all of them seem to use a single control hand that does not let go off the shaft, while the shaft rotates somewhat freely in the other hand...
It takes a long time for change|
Posted by: Dr_Disco on May-11-13 6:22 PM (EST)
to occur. Ideas die hard. And switching from single control hand to no control hand takes time and practice. I found it relatively easy but I am not a competitive paddler and could afford the time it took.