All posts by

Kristin Stickels

Do you ever wish you could go back in time and start your dragon boating career over again? Or that you could at least go back and give yourself some advice along the way? When I think back to my first day on the dragon boat, I recall exactly how I felt. The team I joined did an on-water warmup that lasted exactly two and a half minutes. I thought I was going to die. My arms were killing me (because let’s face it, almost no one knows how to

So, you’ve found yourself wonderfully addicted to dragon boating. Welcome to the club. It’s an excellent group made up of athletic, competitive individuals who enjoy the challenge of a sport that takes weeks to learn and years to master. No matter where you are in your paddling career, you can benefit from these helpful reminders of ways to take care of your paddling obsession. 1) Do Your Homework Thought you outgrew homework when you graduated? Not so. Learning is a lifelong process. We don’t grow if we aren’t learning and this couldn’t be

Have you considered attending a dragon boat camp, but are unsure of whether you are up to the challenge of 5-6 straight days of paddling? Have you wondered what is involved in a camp that is so singularly focused on paddling? Have you inquired about a camp, but are nervous not knowing anyone who might attend? In this post, I’ve outlined a typical week at one of the camps I coached at last year in order to give you an idea what a dragon boat camp is all about. Keep in mind that all camps have

Watching the high level of competition at the Olympics last month started me thinking about how the athletes prepare for their respective events. Not physically, but mentally. The competitors have an amazing ability to focus amidst all the chaos of the crowd and other distractions. What do their coaches tell them right before they go out to the starting block, the ring, the court, on the water, or wherever they will compete? What do they hold in their minds as they go into battle? At our races, Chris L., one of the more experienced

I’m sure you’ve heard it before. It is actually discussed quite often: one team claims that another team “stole” their paddlers. A teammate of mine recently pointed out how laughable this is. Did the other team sneak in at night wearing all black, toss your paddler in a giant sack and run off with him or her? Of course when talking about such “stealing,” people are referring to the active recruitment of paddlers from other teams. Sure, it’s an ethical issue, but the truth of the matter is that each paddler is capable of making his

If you are anything like me, you go through periods in your training where you might feel a bit stuck. No matter how hard you’ve been training nor how focused you are, you feel like you aren’t making progress. It can be frustrating, no doubt. Here are 10 things to keep in mind the next time you are feeling sluggish in your paddling development. 1) Feeling stagnant is a sign that it’s time for a change. Whether it’s a change in your diet, a change in your workout routine, a change in the frequency of

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “paddle whore” before. I used to use the term frequently to describe my love of being a guest paddler. I make it a habit to paddle or steer wherever and whenever I can. When I travel to other cities, I contact a local team and ask to attend a practice. When other teams need extra paddlers for races and my own team isn’t entering that race or that division, I join them to compete. I’ve been fortunate to paddle in Bristol with the Bristol Empire Dragons, in

All too often teams are formed based on a love of paddling, aspirations to improve overall fitness, and a desire to be out on the water. There is a lot of heart, but not necessarily a lot of thought put into the global structure of the team. Having twenty people willing to come to practice is not enough in the long run. As your team begins to grow, it is important to define the type of team you would like your club to be and to set out ground rules for the members.

Ringers. A delicate topic full of opinions and emotion. There are at least as many points of view on this issue as there are dragon boat teams. A “ringer” is defined as a highly proficient person brought in to supplement a team or group. Some teams use them, other teams are staunchly opposed. Whether your team uses so-called “ringers” or not, it is important to understand the rationale for using them. In a talk given by Canadian National Team coach Albert McDonald at Jim Farintosh’s Bow Wave camp in April, Albert explained how teams

We all want to be better at paddling. We spend hours training both on and off the water. We push to become better and develop our individual selves. However, dragon boating is a team sport that requires the collective efforts of the club. So, what habits can you incorporate into your discipline that will not only help you, but also help your team? Here are 10 principles to adhere to in order to be a better teammate. 1) Listen to your coach. Listen to the coach’s feedback. Not just when it’s directed

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