Roll Practice

Sunday, February 17, 2008.  Nothing new accomplished today.  I had the pool to myself for an hour, things felt ugly for most of the day, especially the offside, just an off day.  But everything started feeling normal toward the end.  More back-deck rolls, went back to the onside screw roll.  Still no plowing ender.

Sunday, February 10, 2008. Worked on back deck rolls, rolling with the kickboard, finding the paddle after flipping.  Tried really hard to get a plowing ender, but didn't get close.  More offside, onside drills, etc...  The family and I swam for a couple of hours before the roll session and before they left, Jackson shot video to help me see what I'm doing right and wrong.  Mostly wrong.  Ricky gave me a pointer on how to hold my wrists on a back deck roll that really helped.

Sunday, January 26th, 2008.  Lots of fun today.  I rolled using a kickboard instead of a paddle for the first time, made my first bow rescue, braced for the first time and, this is the part I'm most excited about, my offside suddenly clicked and now feels the same as my onside.  Thanks again to Ricky Blizzard for all the tips and help.   It was a good day at the pool and a rare one with no swims.

Sunday, January 6th, 2008.  I went into the first roll practice of the year with plans to work on my offside C-to-C, but came away in love with the Screw Roll instead.  I did try the offside three times and hit it once, but spent most of my time sweeping and bracing. 

Sunday, March 25th, 2007.  I rushed over to the gym to catch the last hour of indoor roll practice this year.  All the rolls were on the first try, except for a couple of off-side attempts.  After the off-sides failed, I came up on-side. 

Sunday, February 25th, 2007.  35 rolls, no swims in today's roll session.  31 rolls on the first try.  All rolls are on-side, but I'm thrilled to death with the progress made over the past four weeks.  I look forward to seeing what happens the first time I go over unexpectedly in cold moving water

Sunday, February 18th, 2007.  14 rolls, 2 swims in 45 minutes of practice.  I hit my first three rolls, then swam twice, but ended with eleven straight rolls.  I didn't get them all on the first try, a couple were on the second or third attempt, but the end result was that I finished on top of the water.  And I had more successful rolls on the first try than I did on the previous week.  Every failed roll seems to be the result of bringing my head up first.  Hopefully practice, practice, practice will correct that instinct.  The first joint on my left thumb bled constantly from the banging it takes on the C to C rolls, even though I wore gloves this week, but I'm loving the practice.  Next week I'm shooting for no swims.  I tried out a low brace and when it didn't work, I rolled up. 

Fellow paddlers Jeff and Dale shot this footage of me working on my roll at the pool.  It's easy for me to see in the video that I have a ton of things to still work on, but at least I'm rolling the *#&! thing back up now.  And for any non-paddlers that actually watch the video, the particular kayak roll that I'm learning is called "C to C", thus the choice of "C and C Music Factory" for the soundtrack.

C to C (7MB) Feb07 - video from roll practice

Sunday, February 11th, 2007.  18 successful rolls, 5 swims.  Tried my first off-side roll (didn't even get close).  Tried bracing (not even close).  Had about a dozen easy rolls and around 6 that took two, three or four tries to get up.   When I'm unsuccessful it's because I'm pulling my head up.  I've yet to not roll when I manage to dip my head in the correct direction.

Monday, February 5th, 2007.  I attended my first roll practice at Pro Health in Mount Airy on Super Bowl Sunday.  I probably would have spent the entire two hours draining water out of my boat had it not been for a lot of excellent expert advice from one of the more experienced participants.  I had made a number of failed floundering roll attempts when Ricky Blizzard came over to give me some pointers.  It reminded me a lot of being on the golf course since my biggest problem was not keeping my head down.  And even though I knew exactly what I was doing wrong, I still kept doing it over and over and over.  Very frustrating.  Rolling is so counter-intuitive that it took a lot of practice for me to finally stop bringing my head up first.   One thing that helped a lot was rolling without my paddle.  Ricky had me ditch the paddle and helped by holding my hands as I rolled up.   That enabled me to focus on the movement of my head, without having to worry about what I was doing with the paddle.    After several of those practice rolls I finally started catching on.  Then after a few more attempts with the paddle it clicked.  The first time I made it up I didn't expect it and completely window shaded.  I then made two unassisted rolls before taking a break.  When I came back into the pool I made two more successful rolls and decided to call it a day.  My lower back was starting to ache.  Those were my first four true C to C rolls without pushing off the bottom.  I managed to go the entire two hours without touching the bottom of the pool with my paddle, which is a crutch that I'm trying to get away from.   I spent the rest of the class watching the people that really knew what they were doing.  I'm already looking forward to next week.  Hopefully I'll be able to progress a little more this Sunday and maybe have a pretty secure roll in time for the my French Broad trip in April 

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