March 12, 2018
Good timing occurs when the paddlers start and finish their strokes at the same time, applying their power to the water together. When this happens, their efforts add together to produce an overall greater acceleration of the boat than when their strokes are performed at slightly different times. Good timing results in greater boat speed as well as being more efficient for the paddlers. When the paddler’s strokes are out of time, less than all of the paddlers are pulling the boat at any one time. This is less effective as well as more tiring for the paddlers. Also when paddlers are very out of step, paddles can hit between paddlers and prevent effective paddling!
There are several ways of producing timing. Each paddler can look at the paddler in front of them and use them as a reference. This is fairly easy to do but if the person in front is out of time, it can bring the whole boat out as well.
The other method, preferred, is to watch the stroke on the opposite side of the boat. They cue their top hand to move up and down in time with the front paddler’s top hand. If everyone does this, they should be in time. If one or two paddlers are out of time, then this will not be propagated down the boat. However, it takes more concentration to use the front paddler as a guide than the paddler in front.