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2020 Competitive Season Practices Began Sat Jan 4th ...
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Feb 28, 2020

Conditioning for Dragon Boating


Conditioning for Dragon Boating
Good job everyone for this past weekend!  What a way to start the season with OC2 time trials. Your workouts on and off the water are paying off, and it shows!  You can always trust your conditioning. It's what we rely on to get us through all types of sports....'true that!' Still not convinced?  Let's break it down, shall we?

In this case, we're conditioning for dragon boating.  Paddling a dragon boat doesn't seem too difficult on the surface for most. How simple is it?  Here’s a start, you dip the wide end of the paddle into the water and pull - what is so difficult about that?  You can say that about many sports: what’s so difficult about running, cycling or any other sport, for example?  The simplicity of many sports masks the amount of total body conditioning that is required for an athlete to be competitive.

Speed is acquired through both strength and endurance. The explosive power you need in a race comes from having strong muscles and well-conditioned lungs. A properly conditioned body is also the best defense against injuries. Here's some guidelines in preparing for this type of sport.  Will you be ready for the next OC2 test or even a big tournament?  We know you will.

I.   Stretching:
First and foremost, stretching should be done prior to and after cardio and strength training exercises to avoid muscle cramps and injuries. More advanced forms of stretching, such as Pilates and Yoga, are great for improving flexibility and could be done on a day when you are neither strength training nor doing any cardio exercises.  This is a must during our warm ups before hitting the water or even the gym/ track. 



II.   Cardiovascular Exercises:
Many people like alternating two or more types of cardiovascular exercises. There’s a wide range of possibilities: cycling or stationary biking, jogging or running, and swimming.

Running is an effective cardio exercise. No equipment needed other than a good pair of running shoes. However, there are important pre-requisites to be a runner: good knees, good ankles, strong bones and a healthy heart. But for some, running can be a risky activity if overweight or have osteoporosis.  Running can also be substituted by stationary bike rides and/or an elliptical machine.

For an advanced running exercise, there is a routine called ‘interval training’.  After warming up, run and gradually increase your speed to near-sprinting. Sustain the high speed as long as you can. When you could no longer sustain the speed, drop the intensity immediately to a slow jog for about half a lap or 200 meters. (If you are doing this for the first time, you might substitute slow jogging with power walking). This is your "recovery period". Then start running to a near sprinting speed again. Alternate the fast and the slow phases for a  total distance the same as you would run in continuous training. The concept of interval training can be applied to many other cardiovascular exercises such as biking, swimming, stair master, elliptical machine.  Come out to our SDWW in Long Beach for a great pERG workout at the Gabe's this season.  Ask any of the coaches (coaches@spacedragons.org) and get signed up now!
crossfit GIFIII.   Strength Training:
It’s the more important part of physical conditioning for many reasons.  Here’s a couple:

·         Performing cardiovascular exercises regularly without the support of strong muscles can cause injuries easily. 

·         You need to build muscles to keep your metabolism fast.


Strength training can be accomplished by using free weights (dumbbells or barbells), weight machines, resistance bands and your natural body weight (calisthenics). We recommend dumbbells, resistance bands and calisthenics because they’re versatile and don’t require a gym membership. Need more?  Try connecting to our Facebook fitness group, Space Camp.  But if you do have a gym membership, take advantage of it because the gym is a place where you can also ask many of the trainers there for great ideas and tips.  They’ll be more than happy to assist I'm sure.
I'll explain.  Typically, strength training is done in a routine basically like this: 2-3 exercises per muscle group, 3 sets per exercise and 10 reps per set (depending on your strength tolerance). Inhale in the starting position and then exhale while you exert yourself.  Whether you are using free weights, resistance bands or machines, you should increase the weight or resistance level by small increment once you no longer feel the resistance.  Instead of increasing the weight or resistance, some people find it easier to increase the number of reps – DON’T! By increasing the number of reps for an exercise without feeling the resistance will increase your chances of an injury by wearing out your joints (*ahem – like us Masters, exception to coach Rodimus ,<3). However, if you train a few times a week, increasing the weight or resistance by a small increment each week is the most effective way to boost your muscle strength.
If you haven’t worked out in a while, expect some muscle soreness after strength training. It’s a lingering sensation, which usually starts a few hours to a day after your training and is distinctly different from the sharp pain in a sport injury. The soreness comes from muscle tissues breaking down and reconstituting after the workout - a necessary process for the muscles to become strong and toned. Resting adequately and eating properly help speed the recovery process and in turn which helps eliminate the soreness. 

Here's a starting point.  Below are the muscle groups involved in dragon boat racing and some suggested (basic) conditioning exercises.  Note: Not all of these exercises may pertain to your specific regimen, but does help those individuals looking to improve their strength who are not too familiar. 

*Remember to always….HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE, before, during and after! (As if us coaches don’t stress that enough)

Primary Muscle Groups
Free Weight Exercises
Calisthenics
Back
  • Back muscles are used in the "pull water" phase
Pull-up, Chin-up (Reverse-grip pull-up)
Shoulders
  • Emphasis: lateral and front shoulders
  • Front shoulders are used in the "reach" phase and the "catch" phase
  • Shoulder muscles are also used throughout all paddling phases to keep your paddle as vertical as possible against the side of the boat (aka. the "gunnel") for maximum propulsion
Abdominals
  • Emphasis: upper and oblique
  • Upper abdominals are important in the "reach" and "catch" phases, as you lean forward
  • Oblique abdominals are used as you rotate your torso repeatedly and as you lean outside to keep your paddle vertical throughout all paddling phases
Sit-ups, mason twist/rotation, all forms of crunches
Hips
  • Hips are used throughout all paddling phases as you lean forward and pull back repeatedly
Sit-ups, Leg lifts
Legs
  • Legs are used in the "pull water" phase as you push/drive with your legs
Lunge
Chest
  • Chest muscles are used during the "reach" phase as you bring the paddle to the front after pulling it out of the water
Push-ups
Secondary Muscle Groups
Biceps
Pull-ups, Chin-up (Reverse-grip pull-up)
Triceps
Push-ups, Dips
Neck & Trapezius
Neck rotation

If 15-30 minutes a day or every other day is all you have for exercising, allocate your time mostly to weight-lifting and focus on the major muscles: back, shoulders, abs, and legs. Work on one or two muscle groups per day. Do cardio once or twice a week. For each cardio session, spend 5 minutes on warm-up, 5-7 minutes on high intensity training (e.g. sprinting) and then 3-5 minutes cooling down.

We understand that people who have to juggle life, school, a full-time job with irregular hours or extensive travel requirements might find it impossible to have a structured workout plan. However, try to find it within yourselves to take time from a multitude of daily obligations and get in a workout.  You’ll never regret it.  The key success factor to staying fit is being able to adapt and improvise.
A reality check:  You won't be as strong as a person who has a workout routine throughout the week but your body will still be better conditioned if you do something than if you do nothing at all.  Feel free to inquire with any of the coaches and those individuals with experienced strength training.  We have lots of them on the team.  So get ready for a great 2020 paddling season!  Space Dragon strong!  Let’s do this!!
Excited Kung Fu GIF by DreamWorks Animation

Your friendly, fun-loving and whip-cracking coaches!

Esmer (team Braddah)

Feb 5, 2020

Reposting an oldie, but a goodie. Below is the 2020 Boat Selection Criteria.  While similar to years past, we have updated the criteria to exclude paddle ERG testing due to logistical inefficiencies. Happy hump day!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
How do the coaches determine who paddles on which boat? It's no black magic. The coaches make the decisions balancing what we believe is best for each individual as well as what we believe is best for Space Dragons as a whole.  The tricky part is that not everyone agrees on where that balance lies and what is "best for Space Dragons," not even all the coaches.  It is impossible to make everyone happy, but with seven coaches bringing different perspectives, we hope to get as close as possible.  The following set of criteria is used in the decision making process:

1. Practice Attendance - Quantity and Quality

Coming to practice makes you a better paddler. Only at practice do you get the opportunity to sit in a dragon boat and get coaching on your technique.  You work on starts, finishes, pacing, timing, blending, paddling-specific conditioning. How do you become a more effective paddler? Paddle more! BUT, just showing up isn't enough. In order to become a better paddler, you need to take advantage of the time on the boat by staying focused and determined, and by seeing every single stroke as an opportunity to make our team better.

2. OC-2 Water Testing

The OC-2 time trials are the easiest way for both you and the coaches to measure your individual contribution in getting the dragon boat past the finish line. Even in a dragon boat race, each paddler pulls some dead weight (the weight of the boat, plus the caller and steersperson). Similarly, in an OC-2 each paddler pulls the boat weight plus a coach who is steering. Water testing isn't everything - it doesn't show how well your technique blends with the rest of the paddlers, and it doesn't show how good your timing is, both of which are essential to being a good dragon boat paddler. What it does show is your fitness level, strength and how effectively you connect with the water to propel a boat forward.  How do we use this data?  Refer to the FAQ.  If you cannot make it to either the primary or make-up test dates with an excuse cleared with the coaches, your previous test time from the same season can be used.  People tend to get faster as the season goes on, so it's in your best interest to test before every tournament.  OC-2 testing is required to be considered for Red and strongly encouraged for Open.

3. Coaches Discretion
There are many unquantifiable qualities that make a good dragon boat paddler, things like timing, experience, technique, focus and a team-oriented, positive attitude. These are some of the things that the coaches watch out for when we stand at the bow during practice. A boat of the twenty "strongest" paddlers is not our fastest crew if they can't work together and motivate each other.  If any one of these traits is missing, that can be a deal breaker!  So be sure to pay attention to these unquantifiable details when working toward being a better paddler.

As always, if you have any questions about the selection criteria, any of the decisions that are made, or what you personally can do to make yourself a better paddler, don't hesitate to ask! We want each and every one of you to finish off this season with NO RAGERTS!

Jan 30, 2020

Support Space via Amazon Smile =D



Dragon boat is arguably the purest team sport around. To have a number of paddlers all paddling at once to drive a boat forward for a few fleeting moments in time, it takes a multitude of things to come together in order to have that boat cross the line in good order. 

Imagine the logistics that it takes to run the operational aspects of our team across multiple boats between Mixed and Genders crews and to place that load across multiple tournament competitions, all scheduled throughout the year at various local and international locations.

As a member-operated, non-profit team we depend on each other to keep this team running, progressing, and growing with your time, along with your relentless spirit and energy. And, "greatness" in any team is only as great as its individual sum parts and its dedicated members like you to support the vision, intention, planning, preparation, and execution of it all.  To that end, you can continue to lend your support in probably one of the easiest ways possible and if you're already a consumer on Amazon, you're already halfway there!

AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon with the same products, prices, and shopping features as Amazon.com. The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of your purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice! Can you guess which one I'd suggest?

Try following the steps below to pick your favorite organization!

1. Navigate to <smile.amazon.com>, enter "space dragons" in the search field.

2. Select "Space Dragons" as your charity of choice.

3. Voila! You're supporting the coolest "Physical Sciences/Earth Sciences Research and Promotion" organization in Placentia, CA!


Nov 27, 2019

Starting a New Chapter

Congrats everyone on a great 2019 season! As usual, we've gone through a lot throughout the year as a team, and we've come out the other side learning more about ourselves and the team. On behalf of the coaching staff, thank you everyone who's been a part of that journey. Whether you've been on the team for a month or over 10 years, your presence on the team has definitely impacted us coaches in one way or another.

Now...with the 2019 Season over and the 2020 Season coming up fast, we'd like to make an announcement about some changes to the 2020 Coaching Staff! Unfortunately, life happens and not all the coaches can stay coaches. This year we have a pretty significant change with 5 coaches retiring from coaching (not necessarily from paddling, but stepping down from the coaching position). And I want to thank and acknowledge these coaches for doing an amazing job. The time and effort they've put in has made a difference with Space Dragons and I couldn't thank them enough for their hard work.


So the coaches that are stepping down are:

AJ Chan
Jan Redondo
Michiko Sanrindo
Rod Muramoto
Chris Espino



Coaching has definitely a rewarding job, and I couldn't imagine how my life would've been without it. It's been a surreal experience and I've definitely learned a lot (as I'm sure the other coaches would agree). And as coaches, we wouldn't step down without having a plan in place to have capable, willing people step up to fill in the role.



So introducing the 2020 coaching staff...*drumroll*
Devant Xoai as your new Head Coach!
Esmer Dizon
Robert Clark
Curtis Guinn
Sally Gee
James Cabrera
Janet Gonzales


The entire coaching staff is ready to roll and make 2020 an even better season! So show them your support and keep working hard to see what this team and family can achieve!




Feb 1, 2019

Practice Cancellation ... Feb 2nd-3rd

Oh Dear!  The Rain is Coming ... Due to volume and high winds and cold, Coaches have agreed to cancel practice due to possible unsafe conditions.


Sep 19, 2018

2018 Regular Practices are complete as of Sun Sep 9th

Enjoy the break =)

Off/Pre Season to start up in Oct/Nov, Notifications and Practice Poll will be updated accordingly when coaches decide on actual dates.

Aug 13, 2018

Calling all Space Masters!


Attention all Space Masters! Our time is quickly approaching…



With the 2018 Race Season quickly winding down it’s time to start thinking about 2019 and what lies ahead as a team.  It’s been several years since we have been able to field a Masters crew and I am hoping that we can once again bring back our Mighty Masters boat. With the help of our current list of masters and recruitment of our former Masters/New paddlers, together we can once again have a Space Dragons Masters Boat!  So if you haven’t been out lately, dust off your paddle and pfd, stock up on some Ensure and start coming out to practice. I hope to be seeing you soon!

Mar 7, 2018

2018 Boat Selection Criteria

Below is the 2018 Red/Blue/White Selection Criteria.  It's very similar to years past, but please review it and don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
How do the coaches determine who paddles on which boat? It's no black magic. The coaches make the decisions balancing what we believe is best for each individual as well as what we believe is best for Space Dragons as a whole.  The tricky part is that not everyone agrees on where that balance lies and what is "best for Space Dragons," not even all the coaches.  It is impossible to make everyone happy, but with seven coaches bringing different perspectives, we hope to get as close as possible.  The following set of criteria is used in the decision making process:

1. Practice Attendance - Quantity and Quality


Coming to practice makes you a better paddler. Only at practice do you get the opportunity to sit in a dragon boat and get coaching on your technique.  You work on starts, finishes, pacing, timing, blending, paddling-specific conditioning. How do you become a more effective paddler? Paddle more! BUT, just showing up isn't enough. In order to become a better paddler, you need to take advantage of the time on the boat by staying focused and determined, and by seeing every single stroke as an opportunity to make our team better.

2. OC-2 Water Testing



The OC-2 time trials are the easiest way for both you and the coaches to measure your individual contribution in getting the dragon boat past the finish line. Even in a dragon boat race, each paddler pulls some dead weight (the weight of the boat, plus the caller and steersperson). Similarly, in an OC-2 each paddler pulls the boat weight plus a coach who is steering. Water testing isn't everything - it doesn't show how well your technique blends with the rest of the paddlers, and it doesn't show how good your timing is, both of which are essential to being a good dragon boat paddler. What it does show is your fitness level, strength and how effectively you connect with the water to propel a boat forward.  How do we use this data?  Refer to the FAQ.  If you cannot make it to either the primary or make-up test dates with an excuse cleared with the coaches, your previous test time from the same season can be used.  People tend to get faster as the season goes on, so it's in your best interest to test before every tournament.  OC-2 testing is required to be considered for Red and strongly encouraged for Open.

3. Paddle ERG Testing
Dragon boat races are athletic competitions, so physical fitness and strength play an important role in how quickly we cross the finish line. We're incorporating the paddle erg this year to not only test that physical fitness and strength, but also to help the coaches have a consistent metric to help compare time trials over the year. Since our current location has varying conditions, the paddle erg scores will help give us those data points. 

4. Coaches Discretion

There are many unquantifiable qualities that make a good dragon boat paddler, things like timing, experience, technique, focus and a team-oriented, positive attitude. These are some of the things that the coaches watch out for when we stand at the bow during practice. A boat of the twenty "strongest" paddlers is not our fastest crew if they can't work together and motivate each other.  If any one of these traits is missing, that can be a deal breaker!  So be sure to pay attention to these unquantifiable details when working toward being a better paddler.

As always, if you have any questions about the selection criteria, any of the decisions that are made, or what you personally can do to make yourself a better paddler, don't hesitate to ask! We want each and every one of you to finish off this season with NO REGRETS!