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Kristin Stickels

If you are a rookie to Team USA, or your own country’s national team, this guide is for you. After all of the preparation, Welland is just about in sight, which means at this point everything you’ve been doing for the last two years will soon come down to a few minutes of racing on dragon boat’s biggest stage. The physical training is tough, but practices have taken care of preparing the body. What about the other parts of World Championships – the parts that nobody tells you about? That’s

As a coach, hands down one of the most difficult things is selecting the race boat. On competitive teams, coaches spend countless hours reviewing data from fitness tests and time trials, as well as video, in order to determine what they consider to be the strongest boat. The coach’s goal is to win while creating a cohesive team that will function as one unit. If you aren’t selected for the race boat, it can be extremely disappointing and frustrating. As a coach, I have been the brunt of such frustrations. I

No one likes to sit on the bench while the rest of the team competes. Everyone wants to be in the race. So, should a racing team only consist of 20 paddlers in order to avoid having paddlers sit out? That doesn’t really make sense. Every team has some paddlers who sit out more often than they compete in races, but does this make them any less of a teammate than the race crew? Definitely not. The role of the reserve paddlers (often called subs or spares) is simply different from the

Have you ever wondered what is it like to train for hours, making sacrifices, pushing yourself to new levels while preparing yourself for the Dragon Boat World Championship? Team USA paddler Bob Mina recounts his experience.   Since 2008, a morning of practice starts the night before. I have to pack three bags – one with dry clothes for the drive to work, one with the clothes I’ll change into AT work, and one with my run gear for any mid-day mileage I can fit in. I move out of the

As competitive adults in a competitive sport, we see paddlers of varying talents either develop into top-notch athletes or hamper their own progress. How is that an athlete with mediocre ability can develop into an excellent paddler, yet a paddler with incredible talent can stall their own achievement? First, let’s take a look at why athletes with average talent can do so well in their sport: 1) They work hard. This is worth repeating. They work HARD. Have you ever noticed that when things are simply handed to people, they do not tend to value

I am doing a little research and would love to get my readers’ opinions! I’m sure that you have been to many dragon boat races in your paddling career and I’d love to hear about some of your favorites. Even if you’ve only been to a few, your opinion counts. Take the survey below and let me know what you consider the best dragon boat races in terms of venue, competition and location. It’s just three quick questions. Thanks for helping me out. I appreciate your time. I will post

I’ve always been a water baby. From a very young age, I wanted to be in the ocean as much as possible. I grew up in California and spent most of my summer days at various beaches in Southern California. Swimming in the ocean and riding the waves was about as good as it got. Unfortunately we didn’t know as much about sun protection then as we do now.   I  live in South Florida now, and as a paddler I’m out on the water as often as possible, so I am exposed

I came across this photo recently and couldn’t stop laughing because it is so true. I wish I knew who to really give credit for this creativity (there are many who seem to want credit for it): But, what does this really mean? It’s easy to laugh at, but not as easy to articulate, nor as easy to convey to your fellow paddlers. I have been at training camp for the US National Team for the past week and was recently out on the OC2 with Holly, an awesome fellow paddler from

As paddlers, we often forget how important the front and back ends of our boat are. Sure, the steersman steers the boat straight, the drummer keeps the cadence of the stroke rate, but what else do they do? So much more. Unifiers of the team. Controllers of energy. Conveyors of information. Catastrophe prevention team. Without them, the team wouldn’t function well. But sadly, many teams take these positions for granted. Let’s first consider the drummer. This is a position with very traditional roots in the sport. Often an inexperienced team will grab the

Admit it, at times you have wondered how in the heck your coach created the latest boat layout. You wonder what put you in that particular seat. Good question! A good coach takes many things into consideration when creating the lineup. It isn’t just about boat balance. When setting the distribution in a boat, a coach must account for the combination of all four strengths mentioned in a previous blog: physical, mental, attitudinal, and behavioral. A powerful (physically strong) paddler with low attitudinal strength (highly negative) must be balanced, even if

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