Dennis Newton – The ASP and GB Team training have gone really well…

It’s been a busy month of coaching in the UK in preparation for the World Championships. The ASP (Athlete Support Programme) and GB Team training have gone really well. I’m also stoked to be competing this year; there’s been a few minor setbacks in my preparations, but that’s life and right now I feel prepared and strong.
Between this, the new British Canoeing Coaching Awards has been launched and I qualified as a core trainer/assessor. There’s been some great changes to the coaching system, a big step in the right direction and I’m looking forward to supporting the awards to bring a new generation of coaches into our sport.
It’s going to be another exciting end to an awesome year.
I head out to Argentina next week, and will do my best to post some updates during the World Championships.

Look forward to seeing you all on the water soon

Dennis Newton – Nominated for the World Paddle Awards 2017

I’m humbled to be nominated for the World Paddle Awards alongside some truly remarkable individuals. I feel privileged to have been a part of so many paddlers journeys over the last 20 years. During this time I’ve had the pleasure to coach whitewater paddlesport to a diverse range of groups including children in crisis, disability sport, grass roots and world class athletes. It’s been fun and at times challenging, but I’ve learnt, and enriched my coaching, from all those I’ve had the honour to work with. I’ve been fortunate to meet and work with so many great people who have contributed to this sport and way of life. I would like to say thanks to all those who have supported me over the years.

If you would like to see all the other nominees and vote please use the link below…

Harry Price (GB Freestyle Team Jnr) – My year on the Athlete Support Program.


This year I have been super stoked to of had the opportunity to train with Dennis Newton(Sweetwater Coaching) on ADP and ASP coaching programs. Denis’s knowledge of coaching freestyle is exceptional due to his many years of experience, his enthusiasm and pure joy for being on the water makes being coached by him a totally awesome experience.

This year my main goals have being focused around the freestyle World championships in November. We have spent a lot of time focused on training for competition. We have covered: Technique on specific moves, planning your competition ride, Adaptive paddling as well as off the water exercises to increase desired physical properties

Technique on specific moves:

During ASP and ADP sessions; you receive feedback while paddling from Dennis, including quick tips on how to nail the move you have been dreaming about! Another important part of working on freestyle tricks is using video analysis. After most sessions we will look at video footage. Being able to slowdown, pause and re-watch certain clips makes it much easier to see where you are going wrong, or pick out good parts of your paddling! When using video feedback I like to watch clips multiple times, each time focusing on something slightly different. For example you can focus on the: Boat, body position, head or paddle.

Planning your competition ride:

When going into a competition it is pretty important to have a bit of a plan. A competition ride is very personal; it can take a bit of time to get right. Its also pretty exciting to have a chat about all the awesome links and combos that could potentially be done in a competition! The most important part about planning a competition ride is to enjoy it, and let your imagination run wild!

Adaptive paddling:

Adaption is an important part to making progress in kayaking. During training we try to be as flexible as possible with the techniques we are using. When something does not work, recognise it and then adjust it. If you do this in your training you will progress quicker than you can imagine. Check out Dennis’ s article on contrasting paddling: Contrasting Practices – Addressing a stubborn incorrect technique

Of the water:

Training of the water is an essential part of freestyle paddling. One important part of paddling is doing regular stretches, you will have much more enjoyable freestyle sessions if you are not struggling with back pain… We have looked at using equipment such as foam rollers to aid flexibility as well as some nice stretches that can be done daily. Recently I have also been doing some plyometric training to aid explosivity and speed while paddling.

Neitikoski Freestyle Development Camp

Awesome week, so much fun… there was a wonderful atmosphere, with everyone working to support each other in achieving their aspirations. It reminded me why this is such a beautiful sport.

It’s a unique opportunity to see and feel the outcome of our actions and interventions unfold; surfing waves, reflecting, smiling, laughing and just as importantly seizing the opportunity to improve and celebrate our success with others – something that I feel has far reaching effects on our daily interactions and perceptions of the world.

It really comes down to having fun on the water, meeting new faces, sharing our experiences and creating lasting memories…

I would like to say a big thanks to the Finnish Freestyle Committee for inviting me to run the Freestyle Development Camp. Freestyle has great potential in Finland and with your continued guidance and support the future’s bright


Finland National Team – Freestyle Training Camp 2017

Stoked to be back in Finland!  I’ve spent the last week coaching the Finnish Freestyle Team in the Northern Karelia region on the Neitikoski rapids, close to the Russia border. It’s an amazing place with forests and lakes as far as you can see in all directions, with the Lieksa River winding its way through them. The Team was ripping it up, although the water levels were higher than expected, which meant we had to focus more on wave tricks. We’ve now finished the Team Camp and looking forward to kicking-off the Freestyle Development Camp tomorrow…in the meanwhile it’s time to hit the Sauna


British Canoeing Freestyle Coach Award is coming!

The Freestyle Coach Award is coming! This is a super exciting time for freestyle in the UK, as there’s never before been a dedicated freestyle coach award! In January, you will be able to access a 2 day discipline specific training and then assessment to coach freestyle on all appropriate waters that are park and play.

DO YOU WANT TO BE A PROVIDER (i.e. Someone who trains or assesses the award)?
Right now we are accepting applications to be part of the provider team. If you know anyone who is proper clued up and passionate about freestyle and has coach education (or other teaching quals / experience), please let them know and get them to apply!

The deadline for applications is noon on the 21st August 2017.

Further information can be found on the BC official website: Becoming a Coach Award Provider

Notional Analysis & Wave Maps: Shorten the period it takes to get used to unfamiliar waves.

I was asked recently if there’s a way to shorten the period it takes to get used to unfamiliar waves… apart from surfing the feature and going through a process of success and failure, you can use video analysis, observing your performance post-session. This process benefits in avoiding making the same pattern of mistakes (that lead to failed tricks or preventable missed passes), and, of course, maximising your time and enjoyment on the wave. It’s aways worth having a strategy for getting the best from any river feature for that matter…

If you would like to try this approach here’s the fundamentals. If possible set-up the camera in a fixed position (ideally facing 45 degrees downstream) for a session or multiple sessions. Organise your video clips so that you can run through them with ease. Then set out a standard table template (keep it simple using paper or a spreadsheet) to capture the data you are seeking (e.g. the successful and un-successful setups, passes, tricks, flush’s, all against time). Then analyse the data you have acquired and present it on a basic wave map (example below), doing this will provide you a quick reminder of what needs to be considered and will also place the new information in the context of using the wave – aiding better retention of the insights you have gained.


Screen shot taken from the 2015 World Championships Analysis of Garburator Wave, Ottawa, Canada.

What does this wave map tell us? Starting with the objective that (from a ICF competition point of view) there is only 45 seconds to perform as many high scoring moves as possible, time is an important factor. The diagram shows that if the athlete sets up at the top of the wave between the landing of each move, it would take an average of 5-6 seconds each time (which potentially equates to two lost moves). If the athlete uses the very edge of the shoulder (a small almost unnoticeable ledge a quarter of the way up the wave face, the set-up time drops to 3-4 seconds. It was also shown that landing tricks in the central zone of the wave often placed you straight into another set-up.

The area where the tricks are initiated (take-off) can also make a dramatic difference. The green zone would allow quick access to the right shoulder, whilst the bubble trail marks a small rise near the middle of the feature for generating more air. The yellow zone offers, big air potential, although showed higher flush rate, and longer set-up times. The red zones indicated, a high rate of flushing when landing tricks. Although subtle, the initiation point marked with the red, white and blue balls show high rate of successful executions for each of the tricks listed.

This is just a sample of what can be gathered, the key is to present what matters and not over complicate things. There are also a number of considerations such as, is the athlete able to make the suggested adaptions in the training time available? This is a very individual thing, and each athlete will need to refine their own approach to the features demands to suit their current ability level and/or style.

Taking this and applying it…the first things is to always start with a clear objective to your analysis. If it’s a competition then this would need to consider the rules, if it’s not then it may be just about speeding up your adaption to the feature. Either way, it’s always going to be around optimising the interaction of you and the feature. For example; Is it a surging or smooth wave? This may effect whether it’s more beneficial to throw tricks in the top quarter of the wave face, or throw tricks deep in the trough. This may become apparent watching a number of paddlers over a period of time, or through observing yourself initiating moves high or low on the wave, or using both. There are lots of factors like this to explore and this short article only scratches the surface. If you sit and watch for a while you will often start to see patterns emerging, recognising these patterns provides evidence that will be informative and shape your practice, and also increase confidence in your direction of thought.

Quick Summary:

1. Have a clear objective to the analysis
2. Prioritise key factors of performance
3. Devise a recording method that is efficient and easy to apply.
4. Present the data ensuring it’s easy to understand.

Dennis Newton secures place on Team GB…


Stoked to have secured my place on the GB Freestyle Team 2017! Big thanks to my sponsors and supporters, here’s to another great season…

The ICF Canoe Freestyle World Championships will be held at SAN JUAN, Argentina, 27 November – 2 December 2017

Kokatat, Werner Paddles, System X, Playboater.

Photo by Dale Mears Photography


Finland National Freestyle Team – ADP update.

Platt, World Class 1

Stoked to be heading out to Finland later this summer to run our ADP World Class Freestyle Camp for the Finnish National Freestyle Team. As part of this trip we will also be running a Freestyle Development Camp to support the future growth of the team and promote the benefits of freestyle as a whole…

If you would like to get involved in our ADP programmes please check out our Athlete Development Programme page.



Nottingham Freestyle Development Camp

It’s been a blast since getting back to the UK – last week was our Nottingham Freestyle Development camp. The week kicked off with a warm up day getting to know the features, whilst profiling the group’s current ability levels and providing goals for the rest of the week. The themes of the week followed the training to train, training to compete and competing to win approach. This progressively layers skills to provide not just the technical, but also tactical, psychological and physiological elements to reach your full ride potential. It’s great fun and it’s not really about competing, it’s about throwing down the best rides possible as individuals and as a team. What a beautiful sport…

Nottingham Freestyle Development Camp Img1      dscf2733      dscf2798

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Big thanks to the Desperate Measures for letting us use the shop for video analysis, and the parents for all their assistance throughout the week.