Course Design.

General slalom chatter...rant about the bad, rave about the good
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Mike Mitchell
Posts: 100
Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2014 10:44 pm

Course Design.

Post by Mike Mitchell » Tue Oct 01, 2019 8:56 pm

Is it time to have some better guidelines on Slalom course design.

Having attended most Prem and all the Div 1 Slaloms so far this year I have made the following observations.
Nearly every Prem course has been technically and Physically demanding. The Lee Valley Prem at the start of the season was probably the best course I have ever seen, it had everything. Spin gates, Forward down in the eddy"s, Stopper moves and everything repeated on the Left and Right.

As for Div 1 Slaloms, its been nearly all fast easy courses with nearly No options on moves and predominantly Left or Right handed courses.
So you could say most C1 paddlers now switch, but everyone has a strongest side so the course still needs to be balanced.
If you look at results in K1 Men everyone in the middle of the results is within 10 seconds and there are often 6 paddlers on the same second. This is because everyone is paddling the course nearly the same way.

Quote - Rule 9.4.3 - The Course must be entirely navigable throughout its length and provide the same conditions for right- handed and left- handed C1 and C2 athletes. The ideal course should include.
Minimum one [1] Gate-combination, which offers the athlete several options.
Constant directional changes and flowing movements using the technical difficulty of the water.

So the question is should the course be set for those that are looking for Promotion to the next Division, or for the majority of the paddlers ability.
Do Div 4/3/2 Slalom coures get designed for the Div 2 paddlers or the Div 4 paddlers.

I personally would like to see a different course designer for the Sundays race from the Sat race. Someone that has not been running the event and is to tiered to change the course on a Sat evening.
Also a minimum number of Gates that need changing between Sat and Sundays race. Unless river levels change the course.

So for the future we could have trained course designers, but this would mean having a weekend away on training a course.
Remembering the Quote. 90% of coaching is setting a challenging course. So Slalom coaching and course design could be linked.

If we want to make any change for next season then it needs to be in for the ACM or are we just happy with it as it is.

I suppose for the younger paddlers they have not seen anything different. But I come from the days of Revers Gates, Merano's, S Gates, Pancake moves and yes we used to set a revers to the Right and the Left.

JimW
Posts: 433
Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2015 2:17 pm
Location: Pinkston

Re: Course Design.

Post by JimW » Tue Oct 01, 2019 10:40 pm

HPP prem the other weekend had a combination with 3 options, but prem paddlers only took on 2 of the options. As far as I can tell there was only a judge and a vet that took on the 3rd options, which would have been quicker for many people than the way they messed up whichever of the other options they took on, unfortunately the vet in question (me) was making a mess of the previous combination and couldn't link the 2 together properly to make the 3rd option work right, but I'm convinced that anyone arriving in the right position (almost everyone else) could have gained from it.

Is it really the case that courses are being set without options, or simply that paddlers and coaches are discounting options either without seeing/trying (prems and limited practise races) or based on timing sequences in free practise when possible?

JoS
Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2016 2:30 pm

Re: Course Design.

Post by JoS » Tue Oct 01, 2019 11:25 pm

This year, 3/4 courses have mostly been set for where there's enough water in between the rocks to fit some gates in! If you have a secret source of people who aren't tired on a Saturday afternoon to come and set a completely different course for the Sunday, I want to know where you keep them because I've never met any.

Mike Mitchell
Posts: 100
Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2014 10:44 pm

Re: Course Design.

Post by Mike Mitchell » Wed Oct 02, 2019 9:35 am

JoS wrote:
Tue Oct 01, 2019 11:25 pm
This year, 3/4 courses have mostly been set for where there's enough water in between the rocks to fit some gates in! If you have a secret source of people who aren't tired on a Saturday afternoon to come and set a completely different course for the Sunday, I want to know where you keep them because I've never met any.
I will be at Symonds Yat this Wed and Thursday evenings Then Friday and Sunday trying to get a course sorted for the following weeks Slalom, river levels will determine the course again.
Then off to Llandysul the end of next week to race Div 1 in K1, C1 and C2 both days. I am sure Llandysul will have their course sorted but if they need a hand i will be there, always willing to help. [ I do also work full time]

WindsorCC
Posts: 99
Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2016 8:22 pm

Re: Course Design.

Post by WindsorCC » Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:46 pm

Just further to this I thought Gareth did a great job with course design at Llandysul this weekend.

Two really different courses, both properly challenging with lots of options. Great fun to race, and equally fun to spectate seeing different approaches and paddlers really pushing themselves.

Paul.

Mike Mitchell
Posts: 100
Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2014 10:44 pm

Re: Course Design.

Post by Mike Mitchell » Tue Oct 15, 2019 8:15 am

I agree Paul.
Llandysul with perfect water levels and Two totally different courses.
Lots of options on different gate moves and all the options being uses.
Lovely to paddle and spectate.

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