In this series, I'll be sharing some tips and tricks that I've learned over my fifteen-year career as a high performance athlete. I don't believe in shortcuts, but I do believe that the right approach to a new skill can make it a pleasure to learn rather than a chore.

Though I'll be using paddling specific examples, which shouldn't be a problem for readers of, the tips and tricks discussed will be applicable to almost any activity. For example, the first in this series is the concept of rest. Rest is often seen as just a reward for a hard days work, when in reality, it's an essential part of skill acquisition.

So, whether you're a noob, a veteran, or a weekend warrior, you should find something here you can use to help you achieve your goals–for goals, see tip #2. Remember, sometimes all it takes to get a skill to the next level, or the first level, is approaching it the right way.

Happy Paddling!

Tom in action. Photo: Thomas Hall

About Tom

He was an overall world-cup champion, a world-championship silver medalist, and—in the defining race of his career—an Olympic bronze medalist. However, those results belie the struggles he faced: "I spent most of my time losing races," he said. "It's important to me to remember those loses, as they were, and are, the critical learning points for me as an athlete, as well as a person outside of sport."

Reaching and staying at the plateau. Photo: Aaron Schmidt

Pushing Past the Plateau

"I thought I would begin this series of tips by sharing my secrets for dealing with one of the fundamental, and insanely frustrating, features of skill development: the plateau."