These cards are the creation of both Craig Morris and Gareth Wilson (British Canoeing Slalom Podium Coaches)
See a video from Craig and Gaz explaining the idea behind them HERE
Below is a record of I have used the cards over the last couple of weeks (as well as some examples I have used before the cards got published)
Staggers on Darleks section at HPP
The reason I would play a card is sometimes to create a desired outcome. The beauty of the cards is sometimes something happens that is different to what you may expect. This means you can then also guide to the outcome you as a coach feels would be beneficial to work on, with the advantage then of the unexpected outcome either aiding development, or creating a new area for development.
(I will go into this more on the Use your head card)
Card 1 - Bingo
One interpretation of this card is that the coach sets a series of Skills up.
With ups this could be different styles of ups, or approach/exit angles, but for this session focusing on staggers, I set a series of skill to be put on show involving staggers
It turned into a game, with each paddler having to cross off the skill. The winner was the first to create a line, either vertically, horizontally or diagonally.
Both athletes chose different routes which was nice. Playing on there strengths primarily, and what was appropriate/achievable on the stagger sequence that was set.
We also discussed each skill could only be ticked off if they were clean.
BR on every turn - Sweep every turn - Reverse every turn
BR on every turn - Spin every turn - Turn though every turn
(NOTE if you are unsure of what turn above/turn though/turn after are click HERE and read the tasks tab)
DG would of done
Reverse every turn - Turn above every turn - Paddle spin between each turn
BUT - I would done them all in a single run and tried to claim all 3 boxes - whether this is right or not doesn't really matter, it created a talking point about knowing the rules of our sport.
Card 2 - Use your head
Complete a course without your paddle crossing between the gateline.
What I was anticipating
The actual 1st run concept
I praised what was done, and when we tried what I was anticipating.
Fro me this card means you have to think, be accurate, and be dynamic, but not by having to force the issue.
On the last gate on run 2, one of the paddlers was late into the sequence, and did not meet the requirements of the card. On feeding back I asked what happened? They responded " I was late so couldn't drop under like I planned to keep the paddle outside - I could of just thrown my paddle away though :P
Again they were thinking but in a fun way.
This involved on every sucsessfull run the course either got made wider, or gates moved closer together.
This would create some interesting Questions:
How does my turn and stroke sequence change as the stagger changes (tactics)
When should spin over going forwards?
I like this card because each run creates a new set of problems to solves.
With a (simplified) Lee Valley style gate system as well on the Darleks then the gatelines can also be brought closer together to make the stagger more different and maybe into a new piece of water, again creating a new stagger to solve. (with no other water users using this section gates were easy to move)