Dragon Boat Water Progression Plan – Level 2

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Welcome coaches! This Level 2 program is laid out for participants to paddle twice weekly for 10 weeks in the summer with the end result being ready for festivals!

LEVEL 2 PADDLERS: This water progression is for paddlers who may participate in seasonal paddle programs to prepare for the upcoming water season. They may be new to paddling or are return paddlers and have paddling experience. As such, there is technical coaching that will prepare paddlers to do a 200M and 500M race at the end of 10 sessions.

LEVEL 2 CRITERIA: This program is formulated on the criteria that defines a level two paddler. These paddlers:

  • Like to compete
  • Use paddling to improve overall fitness
  • Have the intention to place well in competitions
  • Want to work on their paddling skills
  • Are competitive within their own goals and have a focus on being competitive

LEVEL 2 PROGRESSION GOAL: This program will prepare paddlers to be able to sustain RPE18 for over 3 minutes to do a solid 500M race as well as doing sprint pieces consistent with a 200M race. This training will also prepare paddlers to do RPE19 as in starts, powers and finishes so coaches can build a race strategy.

PROGRESSION: You will see a build in piece length, then back down as the program builds in intensity or exertion. Follow the program as laid out even if it seems counterintuitive as this progression is layered. This program also develops a team’s top end where stroke rate or strokes per minute (SPM) are used. It is NOT necessary to use this aspect of training. The program’s written progression is more than sufficient. It is wise to take the festivals you are planning to attend and work this training backwards 10 weeks from that date to allow for proper progression.

MODIFY FOR MORE PRACTICES: It is easy to add a few weeks by adding more practices and lengthening the body times of each piece. I suggest duplicating the practices in weeks 5, 6 or 7. Avoid doing the practices after session 7 as they are targeted to peak paddlers for racing. You can always add endurance or base sessions as they are the foundation that high intensity is built on. 

  • Injury happens when paddlers do not have the strength or endurance to do the pieces
  • Introducing an RPE before the current one is peaked doesn’t allow for progression in the next RPE
  • Peaking and Progressing builds race pieces and race strategies
  • Losing form due to fatigue trains bad habits
  • Losing speed during pieces is an indication that the piece length may require adjustment
  • Losing synchronicity is a sign that either RPE intensity or piece length adjustment may be required

LEVEL 2 TEAM COACHING: It is important for coaches to keep the team mandate and guiding principles in mind during practices to provide training that aligns with the teams goals. 

Here is a list of equipment you may choose to use:

Tempo Trainer

If you choose to monitor the teams stroke rate you will need a metronometer or a device that keeps time. The tempo trainer made by finis is a great option.

GPS Tracker and App

A garmin watch with the bicycle app tracks speed and distance.

SpeedCoach OC2

This device can be useful to track stroke rate, distance and speed as well. It provides feedback as it gives data responding to the boats stroke rate but does not set it.

Foam Yoga Blocks

These foam yoga blocks float and are a good width and height for the drills.

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