Technique tips

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spotty dog close up page 17CO – ORDINATION – Top Tips

We’ve all had them! The one client who despite us never mentioning which leg swings in conjunction with which arm and trying to encourage natural walking …..will lose all natural rhythm as soon as they try to use their poles.

So how do we deal with it?

Dawn Mclean – Nordic Walking UK Tutor who has her own lively group in Preston and also supports the amazing Stepping out group, favours the following ‘fixes’

” A very easy first fix is to instruct to bring both arms into the sides and carry on walking.  Tell them to relax and then to start to swing the arms then when they are walking with arms and legs in opposition, just say start to plant your poles – viola!

This may need a couple of repeats but more often than not, it works a treat.

A good second fix would be to start from a stopped position. Stand at the side of your client and do exactly what they do.  Tell them to put one foot forward (let them choose and avoid lefts and rights, unnecessary complication here).  Motion/point to show them which arm to put in front so you are both in a ready to walk position with fingers curled arms lengthened etc.  Say ready and walk or go, whatever words you prefer and off you go.

A well used third fix (and this works well alongside the second fix) is to then sing a tune (you or them out loud or them in their head, whichever works best for them) singing in time with the pole plants to help keep rhythm.

Suggestion four would be to get them to focus on something else entirely as this may also do the trick, take the mind off the problem and the body can then relax into it.

More often than not, the majority of people tend to settle into coordinated Nordic Walkers. However, for those individuals who may continue to struggle, the main thing is that they are having fun exercising in the great outdoors so if not always perfect, does it really matter??

Great advice Dawn – we’ve added a couple more tips from the Instructors at HQ below too :-

  •  Its important to get client walking naturally and check that they have a natural arm swing and are not tense or awkward even before poles come in – a few drills at this point can be invaluable if somebody does display upper body tightness or jerky co-ordination. Some people will even stumble and move their legs unnaturally when being watched so you need to identify these traits and spend a tad more time on building their comfort levels & gaining natural movement is the key.
  • Introduce the poles as a teaching aid for getting the correct armswing initially and NEVER encourage a ‘plant’ or any upright use of the poles until they have mastered a swing from the shoulder and understand the correct pole angles. Swinging, train and dragging drills are invaluable at this point.
  •  Poor co-ordination usually kicks in when we try to get power from the poles’ and this is usually because the clients brain becomes focussed on what their arms are doing and so leg rhythm is lost (sometimes they almost stop stepping forward). At this point ALWAYS revert back to a drag drill or similar until the legs and arms are naturally back in sync.
  • If the client persistently moves awkwardly when incorporating the poles and you don’t think singing would work (for you or them!!!), get them to concentrate on the regular steps they take and to note them with a tick, tock or similar. This will get them used to the rhythmic action and HOPEFULLY you will then be able to get them to focus on that AND bring the arms in. This usually takes the mind away from the arms and stops any break in leg rhythm.

Whatever you do – stay chilled and allow client to feel that it’s totally natural to over think things and that their body will naturally fall into a natural action once they allow it too!

Share your tips with other Instructors by commenting below and let us know which song you sing!!!!.

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