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Jan 27, 2012

On Staying in the Game

Pondering the details as Coach Em performs her patented "Asian squat"
In any sport--dragon boat included--to do well you have to work hard, be confident, and most importantly, stay in the game. As you shake the cobwebs off, grab your PFDs, and assess your overall fitness game to your sport this season, consider this analogy...

Training for a dragon boat season is a lot like putting a jigsaw puzzle together. Both in paddling and in puzzle solving, the number of pieces can be daunting. Which comes first? Endurance after power? Or was it conditioning before technique?  Its like the old saying "you can't see the forest for the trees." If the details of puzzle solving--or dragon boat training--get in the way of seeing the big picture, wasted effort and time are inevitable. It will take longer to get to the end result of a completed puzzle, and there is a greater possibility that you'll give up early in the process. 

The way to solve any puzzle is to have a system--a set of guidelines to keep you organized. Simplifying the task by choosing to spread the pieces out on the table so all are visible, grouping similar colors, working the corners and edges are examples of steps that will take you toward your goals.

As a coaching staff, it is our goal to keep on a plan towards greater strength, power, and technique while peaking at the right time (tourney time).

But anyone who has ever worked on a complex jigsaw puzzle knows that it takes a long time. Working straight through to completion could be an all-night thing, and if you decided to tackle it that way, puzzle burnout would be likely. By the time you finished putting the puzzle together, you wouldn't want to see it again or even think of doing another for a long, long time. To prevent burnout, you would need to take longer than a night to do the puzzle, as well as take frequent breaks. That way, you would start-up again with renewed enthusiasm and heightened creativity. 

Like they say, "Rome wasn't built in a day," and neither is the accomplished athlete.

So while your brush-up your skills and fitness for the long haul, be mindful of a couple things:
  • Consider the bigger picture. Teamwork--"A few harmless flakes working together [to] unleash an avalanche of destruction." (L. Kersten)

  • Don't doubt yourself--Be confident! Trust.

  • Most importantly though, whatever your paddling goals are this season, don't forget to stay in the game