Do you struggle with a consistent roll? You’re not alone. The roll can come and go, especially if you paddle rivers where you don’t flip over.
The roll can be challenging to perform consistently due to these 3 things:
a. The movements are counter intuitive. As land-based mammals, humans are accustomed to using strength to push ourselves up or brace ourselves if we fall. Water isn’t solid so you can’t use your arms and upper body to simply push yourself back up. Good body awareness, especially in your hips, and an understanding of surface tension is key.
b. Whether you want to admit it or not, being underwater with your lower body snuggly inside your boat is scary. The mental game for rolling is real, and no, a love of/proficiency in swimming does not automatically equal underwater comfort in your kayak. The sooner you get real with your nerves, the quicker you can work on your underwater comfort, and the easier it becomes to master your roll.
c. The roll requires flexibility and strength. If you’re musculature is really strong, but not very flexible you’ll struggle with the roll. If you’re super flexible, but don’t have any hip strength, the hip snap will feel challenging. The right combination of strength and flexibility is needed for a consistent roll.
I’ve created three videos to help you develop a strong, consistent roll.
The first video is all about your mental game. Learn why Be Do Have is a more effective way to approach the roll than a Have Do Be attitude:
The second video is a yoga based strengthening and stretching sequence specific to the muscles used for rolling:
The last video is a walk through of my kayak sweep roll. I’ll guide you step-by-step in my roll technique:
If you want a consistent, strong roll then you’ve got to work on all three of these aspects – mental game, flexibility/strength and effective roll technique.
PS – Thanks to one of my private instruction clients, Chuck Cloninger for the inspiration to write this blog!