How to get your Paddle on….



erg-drawingOne of the things about dragon boating is that, even on the National  there is no one person on the team who stands out, Even in other team sports, there will be a certain member who stands out or who is having a great season, who everyone knows, a Michael Jordan or Ken Griffey Jr.

Even in sports related to dragon boating, such as rowing, the members of elite teams will be famous, if only within the circle of those who follow the sport or after an event like the Olympics, where a team might bring home the gold and be briefly in the international spotlight.

There really is nothing like that in dragon boating, often because the team can change from year to year and

Still, for those interested in the sport, there are teams that one aspires to join or at least to be capable of joining.

Are the odds even for everyone?

Yes and no.

Theoretically yes, because all that’s needed to qualify is a good enough test.

The reality is far more complicated because of the logistics and availability of training required to excel at that test.

Certain areas of the country simply have more resources and therefore more opportunity for people to develop and hone their skills. A town with one dragon boat team, regardless of the quality of that team, is not going to offer the same possibilities as a city with a dozen teams, a training centre and access to off-season training and conditioning.


The truth is, if you want to make an impact in the sport, you’re going to need to either make sacrifices or be innovative, if not both.

Here are some suggestions:



1)     If it’s possible, be willing to make a commute once a week or even once in a while to that training centre. Often, these centres will offer one and two day seminars that can help you improve your stroke or other aspects of dragon boating.

2)   Try to find ways to replicate the training in your town, even if it means going to a couple different places to access specialized equipment such as a multi-stroke erg machine.

3)   Think about getting a dragon boat training centre going in your town with like-minded people. If they permit it, put an ad up in your local gym and meet with like-minded people to go through a workout. There is something about being part of a group that motivates you to push yourself a little farther than you can on your own, whether that motivation be an encouraging word from someone else or the reluctance to not quit earlier than someone else in your group. (Let’s be honest here; competiveness is a great motivator.)

4)   Go online, find and download a training manual from a leading training centre. Many clubs or regional associations have training schedules or guides to qualifying for race teams. Use those to plan a workout regime. You may never qualify for the National Dragon Boating Team (or you may) but the knowledge that you have trained enough to do so is something that you can be very proud of, regardless of whatever you do.

5)    Go on Pinterest and find posts for what you want to do.  The motto is “A catalogue of ideas” and it really is that. With a little focus and time, you can find a plan for almost every aspect of having your best dragon boat season (or career).


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