Keep away (piggy in the middle)

Category: Childrens game, throwing/catching, pressure, agility
Number of paddlers: 3 or more
Materials:  Normal outfit and 1 or more balls

Description: Keep away is a game that is played in a lot of schoolyards and soccer pitches. This game, also called piggy in the middle (“Lummelen” in Dutch),  can be played with 3 or more people. The players will start in a circle and throw the ball at each other. One person is pointed out to be in the middle of the circle and tries to catch/capture the ball. When the person in the middle catches the ball, he will swap places with the last circle player who touched the ball. With a large group, the exercise should start with two or three players in the middle.

Goal: The original game is quite static with only the player(s) in the middle moving around. Throwing under pressure and making timely descisions to whom the ball should go to, are the main skills that are practiced here. The person in the middle will train its agility and its skills to gain possession of the ball by intercepting the ball with the paddle.

Variation: There are two main variations for this exercise and both will change the nature of the game. First, increasing the amount of balls in the circle will make it more difficult for the people in the circle to keep the overview and throw the ball to a “free” person. As a consequence, it will be easier for the player in the middle to intercept the ball without to much paddling. The focus will be more on throwing and catching correctly and intercepting the ball while the situation becomes more chaotic.

Secondly, increasing the amount of players in the middle and decreasing the amount of player forming the circle. Decreasing the ratio between the players in the circle and the players in the middle changes the exercise completely. When you keep only one ball in the circle the game will become more a “man to man” / “keep the ball in the team” type of exercise. When you allow the players to move around the pitch the exercise becomes less static and its goals will change. The skills that are practiced most now are positioning and agility. In addition, the exercise becomes physically more demanding.

Note: Unexperienced players may have difficulty deciding on time to whom the ball should go to. This can be practiced by letting them decide where to throw the ball to next even before the player catches his own ball. You can also add the rule that the players in the middle can tag the person with the ball. This will increase the pressure for the person with the ball.

Please note that this website is only meant to collect as much canoepolo exercises as possible. I do not claim ownership of the exercises. Because canoepolo exercises are passed along by trainers and players  it is very difficult to give credit to the inventor of the exercise.

T-Tag

Category: Tag game, confidence builder, children, agility, boatcontrol
Number of paddlers: An even number of paddlers
Materials: Helmets and balls (Depending on level of paddlers)

Description: In this tag game one paddler will try to touch the upper arm of the second paddler. Start with pairing up paddlers that have approximately the same level. The two paddlers that have been paired up take position and form a T, with the front of the boat of one paddler placed against the cockpit of the boat of the other paddler (picture 1.). When both paddlers are ready,  paddler A will start and try to touch the upper arm of paddler B.  When paddler B is tagged, the game stops and the paddlers switch roles. Paddler B now becomes the chaser and the tag game starts again. Of course, it is also possible that paddler B is faster and more agile than paddler A and paddler A is not able to tag paddler B. In that case, stop the exercise after a minute or two and switch roles as well. After a few rounds the paddlers can pair up with someone else to add variation to the exercise.

For clarification a short film of the whole exercise is included.

T-Tag – akayaklife.com from Ivette Boogaard on Vimeo.

Goal: This is my favorite exercise to build confidence. The paddlers will learn how to prevent being tagged which translates into how you can prevent being pushed when you are in possession of the ball in the real canoepolo game. In addition, the paddlers agility, turning and boat control will be increased as well.

Variation: The variation of this exercise can be found in the steps that can be taken to make the exercise increasingly more difficult. It is probably wise to switch to the next level of the exercise when the paddlers are comfortable with the current level.

The list of different variations of T-Tag:

  1. Paddler A should touch the upper arm of paddler B
  2. Paddler A should push paddler B on the upper arm
  3. With ball: Paddler B is in possession of the ball and paddler tries to take the ball from him (without pushing)
  4. With ball: Paddler B is in possession of the ball and paddler tries to take the ball from him (with pushing!)

When you want to make the paddlers extra tired all these variations can be done without paddles as well

Note: The exercise works best when the two paddlers try to keep together around the same spot. When paddler A chases paddler B all over the pitch, the exercise will lose a lot of value. When you are using the variation where paddler B is in possession of the ball please keep the 5 seconds rule in mind. It will increase the difficulty enormously but it will mimic the actual game the best.

Please note that this website is only meant to collect as much canoepolo exercises as possible. I do not claim ownership of the exercises. Because canoepolo exercises are passed along by trainers and players  it is very difficult to give credit to the inventor of the exercise.

Southern cross

Category: throwing, catching and timing
Number of paddlers: at least 6 paddlers
Materials: one or two balls

Description: In the post on the Australian cross I mentioned the Southern cross drill as an exercise that looked similar to the Australian cross exercise, but was unknown to me. Thanks to Ian Beasley, who provided me with information on the Southern cross drill, I am able to write this blogpost. This drill is one of the 53 drills that are described in Ian’s books on canoepolo: “Canoe polo – basic skills and tactics

Picture 1For the Southern cross you need four groups of paddlers that form a cross each in a corner of the pitch. The first paddler from group A will be in possession of the ball as depicted in picture 1. The first paddler from group B paddles towards group C and will receive the ball from paddler A. The paddler from group B receives the ball from the left and will pass it straight on to the first paddler from group C.

After throwing the ball, the first paddler from group A will paddle towards group D and will receive the ball from the paddler at group C that just catched the ball from B. Paddler A will throw the ball at the first paddler from group D and so on.

The exercise will continue rotating through all players. Start this drill at a slow pace so all paddlers can get used to the routine and increase the speed to full sprint when the exercise is clear to all paddlers. This animation will give you enough information to get the exercise going on the water.

Southern cross – akayaklife.com from Ivette Boogaard on Vimeo.

Goal: One of the main purposes of this exercise is to improve your throw and the timing of your throw. Not only when to throw but also how fast and where to aim for will be practiced. It can be very useful to change the way of throwing during the exercise to also practice one and two-handed throwing or right and left handed pPicture 2assing as well as one and two handed catching. It is also possible to change the side from which you receive the ball by flipping the order. The first paddler from group D has the ball and will pass it to the player of group B that is paddling towards group C.  This is also a great exercise to finish your warming up session with.

Variation: When all players are comfortable with the exercise and you have a group of 8 paddlers or more, you can increase the difficulty by adding a second ball. In principle the exercise will be the same only now two paddlers (one from group B and one from group C) start paddling at the same time. The first paddlers from group A and D are in possession of the ball and are ready to pass it to the paddlers from group B and C respectively (See picture 2).

The next animation will clarify the Southern cross with two balls.

 

Southern cross 2 balls – akayaklife.com from Ivette Boogaard on Vimeo.

Note: For teams that have a lot of experience and this drill is an easy warming up exercise you can increase the difficulty level a lot by letting the players block the ball after passing. For example, paddler B can, immediately after throwing the ball to C, try to block the pass from C to paddler A. 

Please note that this website is only meant to collect as much canoepolo exercises as possible. I do not claim ownership of the exercises. Because canoepolo exercises are passed along by trainers and players  it is very difficult to give credit to the inventor of the exercise.

Catch me if you can

Category: Tag game, sprint training, children
Number of paddlers: An even number of paddlers
Materials: NA

Description: This is a sprint exercise disguised as a tag game. In this tag game one paddler will be chased by a second paddler, who has to try to touch the kayak in front of him with his paddle. Start with pairing up paddlers that have approximately the same speed. The two paddlers that have been paired up take position behind each other  with 1/2 meter in between them. When both paddlers are ready,  the first paddler will shout go and both paddlers start to sprint. When the first paddler is tagged, the sprint stops and the paddlers switch roles. The first paddler now becomes the chaser and the tag game starts again. Of course, it is also possible that the first paddler is faster than the second paddler and the distance between the two only increases. In that case, after a sprint of 15 to 40 meters, both paddlers should stop and switch roles as well. After a few sprints the paddlers can pair up with someone else to add variation to the exercise.

For clarification a short film of the whole exercise is included.

Catch me if you can – akayaklife.com from Ivette Boogaard on Vimeo.

Goal: The main purpose of this exercise is to sprint and increase the speed and fitness level of the kayaker.  By disguising a sprint exercise as a tag game, the sprinting exercise is less boring. Especially when training younger paddlers it is very useful to introduce different games in the training session to keep the session interesting. This exercise is also useful when you want to teach kayakers how to deal with the waves and currents that are present behind a sprinting kayaker. 

Variation: A variation of this exercise can be used to train the reverse sprint (see short film below). The two kayakers position themselves facing each other, with at least 1 meter in between the kayaks. Now the first paddler will sprint using the reverse stroke and the second paddler will chase him using the forward stroke. After switching roles, the second kayaker has trained his reverse sprint as well.

Catch me if you can – reverse stroke – akayaklife.com from Ivette Boogaard on Vimeo.

Note: The paddlers can be paired up any way possible. When a fast paddler is paired up with a slower paddler you can adjust the distance between the kayaks. Increase the distance between the kayaks when the faster paddler is chasing the slower one and decrease the distance when it is the other way around.

Please note that this website is only meant to collect as much canoepolo exercises as possible. I do not claim ownership of the exercises. Because canoepolo exercises are passed along by trainers and players  it is very difficult to give credit to the inventor of the exercise.

 

 

 

Australian cross

Category: throwing and timing
Number of paddlers: at least 6 paddlers
Materials: one or two balls

Description: This throwing and timing exercise is known to me, and other dutch canoepolo players, as “Australian cross”. When looking on the internet to check how well known this exercise is, I only found an exercise called “Southern cross” which is well known amongst Australian canoepolo players. These two exercises look alike but have a different throwing and kayaking pattern. I hope to find out how the “Southern cross” exercise works so I can add that to this blog and can explain the differences.

For the Australian cross you need two groups of paddlers (B and D) that are Start picspositioned at one side of the pitch each in a corner. At the other site of the pitch two paddlers (A and C) are positioned each in a corner as well, as depicted in picture 1. Paddler A will be in possession of the ball. The first paddler from group B paddles towards paddler C and will receive the ball from paddler A. The paddler from group B receives the ball from the right and will pass it straight on to paddler C.

In the meanwhile the first paddler from group D will paddle towards paddler A (who kept its position to get the whole exercise going).  Paddler C passes the ball to the paddler from Group D. After receiving the ball from the left, the paddler from group D will pass it to paddler A. The two paddlers from group B and D will replace paddlers C and A respectively who joined the end of the queues of group B (paddler A) and D (paddler C).

The exercise will continue rotating through all players. You can start with kayaking slowly to get used to the drill and increase the speed to full sprint when the exercise is clear to all paddlers. In the beginning this will be a difficult exercise to perform and especially the timing of the throwing can be a challenge. But practice makes perfect and hopefully this animation will give you enough information to get the exercise going on the water.

Australian cross – akayaklife.com from Ivette Boogaard on Vimeo.

Goal: One of the main purposes of this exercise is to improve timing your Start pic 2 ballsthrow. Not only when to throw but also how fast and where to aim for will be practiced. Another main purposes is to improve catching and throwing while kayaking at full speed. Which is challenging because you receive the ball at your left or right side and you have to pass it on as fast as possible. Apart from these two main goals, keeping an overview of the exercise is also important. Who is coming from where, when can I expect to receive the ball and to whom do I need to pass it, it can get quite chaotic.

Variation: When all players are comfortable with the exercise and you have a group of 8 paddlers or more, you can increase the difficulty by adding a second ball. In principle the exercise will be the same only now two paddlers (one from group B and one from group D) start paddling at the same time. To get the whole exercise going it is now useful to have two paddlers at positions A and C. One who has possession of the ball and ready to pass it to the upcoming paddler and one ready to receive the ball (See picture 2).

The next animation will clarify the Australian cross with two balls.

Australian cross 2 balls – akayaklife.com from Ivette Boogaard on Vimeo.

Note: This exercise can be done on land as well. When performing it in slow-motion it can help to understand who needs to do what, when and where. However, when it is performed at running speed the timing of throwing and running is even more difficult than on the water because everything will be faster compared to on the water.

Please note that this website is only meant to collect as much canoepolo exercises as possible. I do not claim ownership of the exercises. Because canoepolo exercises are passed along by trainers and players  it is very difficult to give credit to the inventor of the exercise.

Drill instructor

Category: warming up, sprint training, children
Number of paddlers: the more the merrier
Materials: NA

Description: This is a group exercise that can be used as warming up and sprint exercise or during a beginners course to practice different strokes. All paddlers need to take position next to each other, all facing the same direction. Leave enough room between the kayaks to be able to turn without hindering each other. One paddler is chosen to be the drill instructor. The drill instructor will shout a command (eg forward stroke, whole turn, side stroke) which is executed by the whole row of paddlers. When everybody is finished, the drill instructor will shout the next command and so on. When the drill instructor is lying in the middle of the row, he will be clearly heard by the other paddlers. To make sure that even the paddlers at the end of the line know what to do, everybody needs to repeat the command before executing it.

Goal: When the exercise is used for warming up, the goal is to warm up all kayaking muscles. It is therefore important for the drill instructor to use the whole collection of kayak strokes. It is better not to use the fast forward and fast backward strokes during the warming up. Doing the strokes at a normal pace is tiring enough for a warming up. This exercise can be transformed into a very effective sprinting exercise  by including a lot of fast forward and fast backward commands. When these commands are alternated with some whole and half turns your sprint exercise is complete. Keep an eye on the fitness level of the whole team and do incorporate some easy forward or rest periods when necessary.  This exercise can be a fun way for young children to increase their speed and agility.

Variation: The variation in this exercise will lie in the alteration of the drill instructors. Each drill instructor has its own set of commands and that will keep the exercise interesting. It is therefore nice to change drill instructors a few times within the exercise.

Note: All teams will have fast paddlers and slower paddlers and to keep the whole team together as a line might be difficult. It will be a bit easier to keep all paddlers in a row when the line is moving in both forward and backward direction. So when you are all  paddling forward and there a few paddlers falling behind, then use a command like backward paddling or half turn and forward paddling to change the direction of the whole line. The faster paddlers will over take the slower paddlers and the line is complete again.

Please note that this website is only meant to collect as much canoepolo exercises as possible. I do not claim ownership of the exercises. Because canoepolo exercises are passed along by trainers and players  it is very difficult to give credit to the inventor of the exercise.

 

 

 

Cross ball

Category: Throwing, time pressure
Number of paddlers: The more the better, but at least 6
Materials: 2 balls

Description for an even number of paddlers: This is a relay race to practice throwing under time pressure. The paddlers are positioned in two rows facing each other, with the first paddler of each row in possession of a ball (picture 1). All paddlers will lie still and the ball is thrown in a zigzag manner between the two rows. This means that all red boats in the picture form a team and all yellow boats as well.  The first person of each row will throw the ball to the person next to the person across from them. Those paddlers will also throw the ball to the person next to the person across from them and so on (Picture 2). At the end of the row the ball has to be thrown back the way it came. The group that gets the ball back to the first person in the row the fastest will be the winner of this round.

CrossballstartCrossballarrows 

For clarification an animation of the whole exercise is included.

Cross ball – akayaklife.com from Ivette Boogaard on Vimeo.

Description for an odd number of paddlers: Of course this exercise can also be done with an odd number of paddlers. The set up of the exercise is comparable to that of an even number of paddlers, only now there will be one paddler left over. The leftover paddler is neutral and will play for both teams (the middle man). Lying between the two rows at the end, the middle man will receive the ball from both teams and will throw the ball back to the person he got it from. The middle man needs to be neutral and will receive the ball at a first come first go principle. The next animation will clarify the exercise with odd number of players.

Cross ball odd number of players – Akayaklife.com from Ivette Boogaard on Vimeo.

Goal: The goal of this exercise is to keep throwing accurate while under time pressure. Making a throwing mistake will drastically decrease your teams chance to win the relay. The winning team is most often that team that is able to stay calm and throw accurately.  When you increase the number of rounds the overall pressure increases because it will be more difficult to throw accurately during the whole exercise. On the other hand, the teams get more time to make up for their mistakes (if there were any).

Variation: A lot of variations are possible by changing the throwing or catching method, as already described in the exercise chase your ball.

 

Please note that this website is only meant to collect as much canoepolo exercises as possible. I do not claim ownership of the exercises. Because canoepolo exercises are passed along by trainers and players  it is very difficult to give credit to the inventor of the exercise.

Chase your ball

Category: Throwing, warming up, keeping an overview
Number of paddlers: the more the better, but at least 4 or 5
Materials: 1 or more balls (depending on the number of participants)

Description: As the title already implies, in this throwing exercise you will chase your ball. The exercise starts with all paddlers lying in a big circle facing each other with one of the paddlers in possession of a ball. That person throws the ball to somebody in the circle and will paddle after his ball. He chases his ball! The person that received the ball will throw it at somebody else and will follow his ball as well. The first thrower will take the place in the circle of the second thrower. Start off with one ball to get the exercise going, you can always add more balls when you want to increase the difficulty or speed of the exercise.

It sounds pretty difficult but just look at the animation and try it yourself. The whole exercise will come naturally when you are on the water. Just lie in a circle and chase your ball.

Chase your ball – akayaklife.com from Ivette Boogaard on Vimeo.

Goal:  At the end of your warming up this exercise can be used to warm up your kayaking and throwing muscles. You can also do this exercise at any other time during the training. For the inexperienced paddlers this can be a nice precision throwing exercise that is a bit different from the standard throwing circle exercises. But it can also be a great exercise to increase ball awareness and general overview. Increasing the number of balls will make the exercise more difficult. The paddlers will have to paddler faster and the necessity to have an overview of the position of the balls increases.

Variation: A lot of variations are possible by change the method of passing the ball around eg. throwing with two hands, only left or only right hand. You can even choose to throw the ball with your paddle. In addition, you can vary the method of catching the ball the same way.

Note: This exercise is perfect to finish your warming up session with. However, don’t start your warming up session with it because your muscles are not warm enough to throw balls when you just started your training session.

Please note that this website is only meant to collect as much canoepolo exercises as possible. I do not claim ownership of the exercises. Because canoepolo exercises are passed along by trainers and players  it is very difficult to give credit to the inventor of the exercise.