All posts by

Kristin Stickels

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

Recently, I asked my fellow paddlers what they considered to be some of the best ways to improve one’s paddling ability. Whether you are aiming to make your local team’s boat or earn a spot on the national team, these wise words from some of the top paddlers in the USA are sure to help you up your game! 1. Listen to feedback. Be humble and open to coaching….there is always room for improving. Take your coach’s advice. Feedback is a good thing, ask the coach where you need improvement. Listen to your coach

Physical strength. Mental strength. Attitudinal strength. Behavioral strength. All four strengths are crucial components of a paddling team. To make the boat the strongest it can possibly be, each person should identify (with the help of the coaching group and captains) what their two preferred strengths are and cultivate those in and out of the boat. We tend to focus on physical strength because that seems intuitive to a sport, but strengths are not only physical in nature, they are also mental, attitudinal, and behavioral. Physical strength is measured as “strength-to-weight ratio”. While weight

We all love racing. We wouldn’t be paddlers if we didn’t love the thrill of the race and the joy of the winning. But yes, it happens. There are at least a few on nearly every team; those paddlers who love the glory of racing (and posting the multiple photos to Facebook while posing with the trophies), but they don’t seem to truly understand how important training and team practices are. They show up to training sessions sporadically and when race selections are announced, they don’t understand why they haven’t been

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