You might wonder why should I improve my edge control. The answer is simple.
If you can’t control your boat, you are not going to be able to control where it goes. Everything in kayaking comes back to the most basic skills, especially edge control.
Edging your boat teaches you balance, it makes you more comfortable with your boat.
How you weight your edges determines how your boat turns and interacts with the water, whether it is a skill as fundamental as peeling out of an eddy or attempting a McNasty.
One drill I really like to work on edge control in the flat water is practicing tilting your boat on edge while keeping neutral and centered. this is a great drill to try to do without having your paddle in the water. Keeping your paddle out of the water teaches you balance, and forces you to use your abdominal muscles.
This is what you are going to do. Keeping your body neutral, pull your right knee up, keeping your left edge in contact with the water. To make yourself more stable, make sure that your body position is nice and forward over your cockpit. Look straight ahead, finding a point to focus on. Some coaches will have you look down towards the water, to emphasize the proper body position for this drill, and to clearly see how far you can maintain holding your edge out of the water.
Try and balance without placing your paddle blade in the water! If you need to brace, or start to lose your balance, decrease the amount of edge you are using.
Once you have this drill dialed on both sides, try rocking your boat once you have it balanced on edge. You don’t do this by thrusting your paddle back and forth in the water. Your body weight is responsible for the movement of your boat. Your paddle is only there to give you a little extra leverage. Start trying this drill without using your paddle first. You want to hold your boat on edge, while throwing your body back and forward, first towards the stern and then towards the bow. It is easier to throw towards your stern first because your stern has less volume, and is easier to slice underwater. The momentum from throwing back will help slam your bow forwards and under. This will help to transition into working on the double pump.
The next drill I like to do is when you are on edge, try paddling in a circle while maintaining the edge. If you have your right edge engaged, you are circling towards the left, and visa versa. This is a great drill to try in a pool, where you can easily pick visuals to guide your circle, starting and stopping in the same spot. I always have people start by trying to only paddle on the outside of the circle. This is because having your paddle on the outside of the circle helps guide your boat into the circle more easily. Make sure you try all these drills on both edges!