All posts by

Kristin Stickels

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

With summer approaching for those of us in the northern hemisphere, paddle season is getting under way and we are heading back out onto the water. It’s an exciting time. We are dusting off our summer gear and perhaps looking for some new favorites. I wanted to share with you a few of my absolute summer must-haves. These are things that I can’t live without and, whenever possible, I have included a photo of me using them, just to show you how much I love them! I promise to only recommend things that I

We all know that paddling is a great workout, but there is a distinct difference between being in shape to paddle and using paddling as your primary method of getting in shape. Quite often, newbies join a dragon boat team to lose weight and/or get fit. That is actually what I did many years ago. I was looking for a way to get out on the gorgeous water in Miami and get in a good workout at the same time. True, for many people being out on the water with teammates is often more fun

Being part of a dragon boat team is so much more than simply showing up to practices and races, yet far too many paddlers don’t recognize the various facets involved in improving the team and being a good teammate. Chris Edwards, a Canadian National Team coach, gave a talk about the three pillars of a successful teammate which he credits to an NCAA hockey coach. Here are the three pillars that each teammate needs to exemplify: Builder Each member of the team must be willing to help build the team. Your club might be well-established, but if you do not work

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