Paddlefish Lexicon

Want to speak Paddlefish?

Calls from Referees/Starter:• "Attention Please" -- followed within 5 seconds (I believe) by a gun or "Go!" to start the race
• "Lane x, you are past the line, back it down" or "All boats, move up to the line/start", etc: calls at the start of the race to align the boats
• Warning calls during a race "Lane x get back in your lane": a command directed at the cox/steersperson
• False start calls at the beginning of a race: this is for the drummer or cox (whoever is 'in charge of the boat') - they can then issue the "let it run" command for the boat

All hands on the boat: On land -- everyone grabs a part of the boat and lifts; used in putting boat into water or taking it out

Left side, push off: Paddlers on the dock side of the boat use the ends of their paddles to push away from the dock (together)

Paddles up: Ready to catch; full body lean, back toward the shore, lower arm straight, upper elbow slightly bent above or near the head; with the tip of the blade just above the water and in front of the handle.

Ready ready: Exaggerated form of paddles-up, with blade of paddle buried in the water (pinky finger of fist should be wet -- arm pit should be just barely above the side of the boat); this is the start position

Starting 6: 6 full strokes to get the boat moving; keep together, following the stroke

Build 5: moves the speed of the boat (not necessarily of the stroke rate) up: each stroke incrementally "harder"

Power 10 (or 20): Everything into it. 100% effort.

Finish: 110% -- go beyond using it up and keep going. We're in the finish portion of the race (we are not done yet!).

Take it away: Start paddling.

Hold the boat: Paddles straight down into the water, blades buried, at your hip, perpendicular to the boat.

Draw: Pull the boat to one side with the paddle.

Back it up (or back it down): Done together and snappily -- paddle backwards!

Front 3: the 6 people who are on the first three benches of the boat.

Back 3: the 6 people who are on the steersperson end of the boat

Engine Room: the middle three-four rows or six paddlers (rows 4-7 in the boat).

Let it run: Our favorite. Paddles out of the water, resting across our laps. Good time to reach for the water bottle.

Catch: last phase of the recovery before start of stroke when the blade is buried in the water. The bottom hand snaps the blade forward from the release (blade exit by hip), the top hand drives the blade into the water at the catch.
Sit up: stroke motion - key that it is NOT the arms that perform the stroke, it’s the sitting up and uncoiling of the body that move the boat.

Snap to the catch or "Snap the bottom hand": signal to get to the catch quickly snapping out the bottom hand from the exit of the paddle at the end of the stroke

Rotation: rotation from the hips during recovery which sets up the body and paddle for the catch

Reach or "Reach it out": sets body up for catch. This does not mean collapse the body - body should be supported by back and ab muscles

Stroke: the paddler in the first bench, either on the left or right, who sets the pace of the boat

Drummer: drum beat signals the catch of the stroke which should be more motivating to drive the top hand down rather than relying on this for timing! Drummer sets the beat off of the stroke, rather than the other way around. Changes in stroke rate are communicated to the stroke directly.

Steersperson or cox: Like a classic VW, we keep the real power in the back of our vehicle. The steersperson keeps the boat on course and coordinates control with the drummer.

Timing: Is everything. Think of dancing, think of sex: move with the people on the boat.

General note on commands:
• Any changes in stroke rate/power are preceded by an explanation of the change, then a call of when it will happen e.g. "Take it up for a power 10 in three...one...two...three... right here"
• On the water, and when pushing off a descriptive command should be given first and then the execution command: e.g. "Ready to lift, and lift" or "Ready to shove, and shove"


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