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The Strategy To Build A Dragon Boat Race Piece

Hey coaches, this is for you. And if you are a paddler, you may be interested to know how your coach gets you race ready😊
Three components to consider when building a water season progression:

  1. The end goal or race distance you will train for in the training period
  2. The targeted energy zone required to race that distance
  3. The strategy to build the race piece with starts, powers and the finish

Before we get into the details of building a water progression its important you work backwards from festivals the team will attend with the practices sessions you have. I like to work with the number 10. It’s just a preference that allows me to maintain complete focus on the teams goal within that time frame. 
This means that should a team only have 4 weeks to prepare for a festival, I may add a weekend camp or additional practices to get 10 sessions in.
I have found it near impossible to put together a progression to include all the elements required to race in less that 10 sessions. However, this is based on our season of being on the water only 6 months of the year and working with the premise of paddlers not having pre season fitness training. Proper preparation can also make the time frame shorter if the cardio race distances are achieved through dry land training. 
Here is how to break out the 10 rule:

  • For a level 1 team, or team that trains once weekly, this is a 10 week period 
  • For a level 2 team, or team that trains twice weekly, this is 10 sessions or a 5 week period
  • For a level 3 team, or team that trains three times weekly this is also 10 sessions or approximately a 3 week period

Lets take a look at the components of water progression training:
The end goal or race distance you will train for in the training period
Knowing the distances a team will race is the start of building a race strategy. A 500 meter race requires a different strategy than the 2K and 200M race. Knowing the distance you aim to race is the strategy of working backwards using the race distance to achieve as the end goal.
The targeted energy zone required to race that distance
I use the method taught to me by Jim Ferintosh which is “Rate Of Perceived Exertion” to train energy zones. What is brilliant about this method is it is broken into times we can be in each energy zone. These times dictate the race distance we can travel while training that effort. For example; building a 3 minute race piece requires training that energy zone.
The strategy to build the race piece with starts, powers and the finish
The race piece consists of a start, the body and the finish. Training a team in progression while monitoring their speed allows coaches to build the race piece the team aspires to. It also allows coaches to dial up the training or dial down based on numbers!

Let’s consider the power call. Calling for power is a TOOL that can be used to counter what may be happening during the race piece such as the bow dropping, boat speed decline, fighting another boats wake or just increasing boat speed when you have glide. Training teams to respond and adapt to drummer calls is also part of building the race piece. 

I have built a ready made template of the 10 week progressions complete with drills and how to use training and tools to build a race strategy. 

If you are a new coach this template will be great for you to use as you learn to build your own training progressions.

If you are a coach that has not taken the formal training to develop progressions these will help you create a water season. 

If you are a coach that has not yet trained a team for the race distances of 200M and 2K the Level 3 progression will get your team ready to race every distance.

These progressions were designed as a template to be used exactly as is but they do allow coaches to use their own skill sets, experience and expertise by modifying. Click here to learn more about these progressions 

Watch the video below to catch a glimpse of the one of the drills in the progression trainings:

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