Many people think that moving the paddle back and forth as quick as possible is the best way to increase speed. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Speed is a function of good technique, executed well. Meaning, that just because your technique may be effective, doesn’t necessarily mean that you are utilizing it properly. If you rush through all the phases of your stroke and don’t take the time to execute each phase correctly, then you are not using your level of technique in an efficient way.
Rushing through the initial power phase of the stroke without taking the time to really drive the paddle down into the water causes you to miss out on potential power that would cost you the same amount of energy. Avoid being too hasty in getting the paddle into the water without a complete stretch of your reach; it only costs you a little patience and time to completely extend your arm forward. Also, rushing through the recovery phase will break the flow of a smooth rhythm, which is where real efficiency resides. If you rush into getting your hips all the way back under you to the neutral position, then you miss out on all the potential momentum you can generate through the hips.
The reason so many of the good paddlers look good, is because they take the time to maximize each phase of their stroke which projects an air of smoothness and rhythm. Since they move through each phase completely and without rushing, it looks smooth and ultimately translates to efficiency. This is the key to speed.
As you begin to complete each stage before moving on, you will learn how to increase your tempo but not at the cost of rushing through each phase. So slow down for a moment and practice giving each movement complete execution before moving into the next phase. Even if your technique isn’t perfect, taking the time to commit to it will give you the opportunity to go faster, more efficiently.