Dec 17, 2013

Dragonboat Practice Entry #3 - Off Season Training

I've joined a Dragonboat team which starts its training during Fall/Winter aiming for summer season 2014. After doing a series of core, upperbody and lowerbody training several weeks in a row, today was the fit test to set a baseline to go from at future fitness tests.

When I set out to try new things, my goal was primarily to have new experiences. What I realized through all of this was actually the new people I met and the friends I met. Meeting friends once I finished school was extremely challenging, but by partaking in these different activities, you get exposed to new networks of people outside of your friends (and even friends of friends).

Anatomy of a Dragonboat

{via Dragonboater}

1. Dragonboat head

2. Drummer: The drummer sits at the front of the boat and plays a drum that sets the "heartbeat" for the pace the paddlers have to stroke to.

4. Paddlers: There are 20 paddlers sitting in two rows of 10. The first two paddlers are considered "pacers" (#3) who set the pace to which all other paddlers must be synchronized.

5. The Boat

6. Steersman: Uses a sweep oar rigged at the back of the boat to steer.

7. Dragonboat tail

Paddle Form

Starting position: The A-frame

Padding Basics 

I found this challenging as at first I found there was a LOT of strain on the shoulder performing the Upper Arm Lift and Drive. A common injury from Dragonboating is Shoulder Rotator Cuff Tears. You technically should feel it in your back.

Training Schedule:

1. Off-Season Training (November to April): Winter focuses on building up cardio, strength, endurance, core, speed and power. . 
2. On-Water Practices: usually takes place in the pool and works on technique and endurance. 
3. Race! (Summer)

There are two races planned so far outside of Toronto, and they include New York City and Montreal - two places I haven't visited and would love to see outside of racing.

Learning how to Paddle

Once we were done with fitness testing, they taught us the proper form of the stroke with the paddle for Dragonboat.

With one of the main coaches Simon. We learned a brief introduction to the crew, the roles of the drummer, paddler  and steersman.

Some of the commands we were taught included "SIT UP", "PADDLES UP", "READY READY", "LET IT RUN", and "HOLD THE BOAT" (you can look up a full Glossary of Dragon Boat Terms and Commands from Dragonboat Hawaii).

One of the co-captains Simon instructions us on posture, form and pace. 
Waiting quietly for instructions to begin :)
I'm realizing that I have to keep up with my fitness outside of the weekly practices. I know I originally had taken this up to have fitness goals to work towards - rather than just aimlessly working out with no particular end goal other than "looking and feeling fit". Stratford Dragonboat has a great training schedule and preparation guide that I will probably be referencing in the future.

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