In the sport of Dragon Boat, there are several factors that teams consider when the training season begins: form, reach, synchronicity, endurance, and a whole lot more besides. It depends on the Coach’s approach or what the training managers have designed for the crew.
Dragon boat is a very tough sport, let alone the training hours. There’s water training (actual paddling), land or circuit training, and some do have pool paddle training. Oftentimes, a dragon boater’s week can be quite full (especially in prepping for races).
If you are weak, inactive, faint-hearted, or sluggish, then it may not be the right sport for you; or, on the contrary, it may be the sport that will alter your lethargy. In short, it’s a sport for everybody. It’s a sport where you will be trained to be physically and mentally tough and then become as tough like everyone in the team.
Furthermore to being tough (in both mind and body), and an even tougher preparation to win races, there are things that only we dragon boaters can relate to and understand.
1. “Is dragon boat really that hard?”; “Is the boat stable?”; “Is there an alotted time to rest?” These are a few of the most common questions asked by people whom you’ve told you’re a dragon boater. We’d usually explain: “With the right amount of training and perseverance, it can’t be that hard.” Their reaction: “I might die in the middle of it!”
2. You become very competitive that you tend to be as quiet and focused as you can in the marshalling area. (This is where teams are being checked before being despatched to the boats.) Unknowingly, you may have employed this competitiveness in everything that you do now. Good for you!
3. You’ve imagined doing cross country paddling with your team using the dragon boat. Sure, why not?
4. Calluses and blisters on your palm, and, yes, in your asses, too. Ouch! You may want to grab a roll of athletic tape to cover the blister or to protect yourself from getting one. As for the other target of dragon boater’s blister (if we may neologise), you may need a team mate’s help to put on an adhesive film on that blister back there.
5. Some training days are just too early for you.
6. Your other arm is much stronger than the other. Not necessarily bigger, but definitely stronger. You’ll notice it when you lift something heavy. Things are so much lighter when you use your paddling arm.
7. You execute that first explosive stroke during starts with an imaginary paddle; at any time of the day and anywhere you may be. Sometimes you do that quick twist of your shoulder on the train, in the bus, in bed, in the grocery store, or on your way to the office. Then you do it again on your way out of the office or school.
8. You are haunted by the sound of the AIR HORN. If it’s any consolation, it keeps you alert.
9. Why dragon boaters carry this loaf-like or sponge-like rubber-y thing with them? (While in a sitting position, there’s repeated friction and pressure as they paddle; these seat pads protect the paddler’s backside from getting a blister or scrape.)
10. Others may wonder: “Is that a bullet proof vest?” Be proud in sporting your personal floatation device (PFD). It will save your life.
11. Most often, you have bigger and toner arms than your friends, colleagues or classmates. Only you know that in dragon boat, it’s not just about having massive arms; it’s about the perfection of form and proper breathing technique. In this sport discipline, it’s essential to have power and muscle endurance of the legs, core, arms and shoulders.
12. Synchronicity is beauty.
13. Your favourite training shorts have scratches on the fabric at the rear. It’s the rubbing and the “twerking” movement you do in the boat. Also, you think that it doesn’t hurt to have a bright, colourful and creatively designed jersey. Think Synchronised Swimming at the Olympics.
14. Paddling offbeat. It happens when one’s timing is offbeat from the “chords” being played during the race or training. If somebody is desynchronizing in front of you, it tends to break the chain of timing up to the last pair. Be alert! Timing is key.
15. When you see photos of you taken during the race and there’s only the two of you who’s not in synchrony. Well, we all get those. Do better. Perform like it’s being filmed all the time.
16. You know that sometimes, the dragon boat can either be “left heavy” or “right heavy.” The dragon boat is not a seesaw so this occurrence may slow down the glide of the boat. The solution: A skillful steersperson/helmsman must lean against the heavier side to retain the boat’s balance.
17. You have nightmares about doing the “STARTS!” You wanna give your first three to ten strokes, your most solid ever.
18. When your boat capsizes, do not panic. Stop struggling; you’ll float. Dragon boats are designed to float for a time, so keep your focus and look for your buddy (boat partner) and wait for the safety boat to come to you.
19. The rotator cuff injury. Not only tennis players have this, it is quite common among dragon boaters as well. It varies on how severe the tear on one or more of your rotator cuff tendons. Better see a sports doctor or go to an Osteopath quick! For starters, avoid the affected/painful side when you lie down in bed.
20. When your team makes it to the Repechage Heat as you’ve been proclaimed, “The Fastest Loser.”
21. When your team qualifies to the Semi-Finals Heat and it’s back-to-back races for you in several categories. It’s your eighth race of the day, but you’ve got to do it.
22. You’re in a state of shock after losing the heat for only a matter of milliseconds.
23. That moment of fear (or intimidation) and there’s deafening silence at the starting line.
24. That feeling when, upon reaching the finish line, your abdominal muscles feel so tight, it’s so hard to breathe. Aaaaaaaaah! You’re catching your breath so hard that you can’t even respond to your team cheer.
25. That moment when you’re paddling ahead of the other boats and you feel like flying, and you scream to victory as you cross the finish line. You also scream in your head things like: “I’m awesome!”, “My team is awesome!”, “I love my LIFE!”
Do you remember how it felt like when you got your first dragon boat medal?
GIFs: Tumblr, Tumblr, Tumblr, Tumblr, Tumblr, Tumblr, Tumblr, Tumblr, Tumblr, Tumblr, Tumblr, Tumblr, Tumblr, Tumblr, Tumblr, Tumblr, Tumblr, Tumblr, Tumblr, Tumblr, Tumblr, Tumblr, Tumblr, Tumblr, Tumblr, Tumblr, Tumblr, Tumblr, Tumblr, Medals – Charlon de Leon Mataga
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