Dragon Boat Water Progression Plan – Level 3

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Welcome coaches! This Level 3 program is laid out for participants to paddle three times weekly for 10 weeks in the summer with the end result being ready for high level competing, or nationals!

LEVEL 3 PADDLERS: This water progression is for paddlers who participate in seasonal team or club paddling programs to prepare for the upcoming water season. This training may attract paddlers new to the sport if recruiting for nationals. No experience is required. However, base fitness or participation in the club programs is suggested. This technical coaching will prepare paddlers to do a 200M, 500M, 1000M and 2000M race at the end of 10 sessions.

LEVEL 3 CRITERIA: This program is formulated on the criteria that defines a level three paddler. These paddlers:

  • May be paddlers either part of a team or individuals trying out for a club crew
  • Are responsible for participation in the club seasonal programs
  • Have the intention of working towards earning a seat on the boat
  • Develop their skills and abilities according to the team criteria
  • Are competitive within their own goals and those of the teams

LEVEL 3 PROGRESSION GOAL: This program will prepare paddlers to be able to sustain multiple RPE training progressions to prepare for all race distances.

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. The program’s written progression is sufficient. Peaking, tapering and recovery of paddlers is important at this level. The Race Strategy section will provide guidelines.

MODIFY FOR MORE PRACTICES: It is not recommended to add dragon boat practices to this progression. Fitness, OC paddling and technical erg sessions are highly recommended. Paddlers may also choose to do individual training on an OC if doing time trials. Coaches can recommend this program to their paddlers: Ace Your OC1 Time Trial For Dragon Boat Try Outs.

The OC1 Technical Training Program For Dragon Boat Paddlers is a perfect compliment for clubs that have OC1’s where paddlers who are not doing time trials want to cross train on the OC1 between dragon boat practices.

Coaches should keep these things in mind when training paddlers at level 3:

  • 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 3 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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