As you guys saw from Part 2, we've got some big challenges ahead of us. How are we going to meet those challenges?? PRACTICE.
In a nutshell, our schedule for Saturday and Sunday is:
8am - Special Boat (beginning after Tempe, arrive early so we can get on the water by 8am)
9am - Warm-up
9:30am - PADDLE
11am - Stretch, Announcements, Land/Core
When the days get long enough (sometime after Tempe), we'll throw in Wednesday practice at 6pm.
This is a little different from our 2012 schedule, where we had both Special Boat and Land/Core at the same time after an 8am practice. Why the change? It's based on your feedback plus some additional scheduling restrictions we had to work with. From the feedback gathered this year, a few common themes emerged:
- People liked that the Special Boat offered additional paddling time and targeted bench coaching
- People wanted to see everyone participate in Land/Core (including coaches, who were often paddling on the Special Boat)
- The Special Boat took away some of the social aspects of the team (less bonding during land drills, different finish times meant fewer people stuck around to eat together after).
To address the feedback and continue growing stronger as a team (both on the water and as a family), the above schedule is what the coaches came up with. I know it's not ideal. Back in the glory days of scheduling (when there were fewer teams competing for the popular practice slots), we had an Early Sat/Late Sun schedule, with Land/Core after practice and Special Boat before practice on Sundays only. This gave relief for people with early or late personal restrictions on at least one of the weekend days. With the growth of the Long Beach dragon boat community (a good thing!), that type of scheduling is no longer possible, so we're trying to find a balance as best we can.
But enough of the logistics! What can you expect at practice?
Special Boat - This is a chance for coaches and steerspeople to get some much needed paddling time. It's also a great opportunity for anyone to get some 1-on-1 bench coaching to improve technique. While paddling on the Special Boat doesn't give you attendance credit, any additional water time will help you become a better paddler (which is really what matters, right?).
Warm-up - Pretty self explanatory, but don't underestimate the importance of warm-ups, especially in the winter! As much as we hate to admit it, our bodies aren't invincible, and anything you can do to prevent injury goes a long way in overall health and happiness.
PADDLE - Practice doesn't make perfect... perfect practice makes perfect! We recognize that everyone has different goals - some people want to destroy the OC-2 time trial, others just want to have fun on the water and stay in shape. So, it's important for you to let the coaches know what your goals are so we know how to divide our attention. Either way, we train as one team, so be ready to put in 100% when we ask for it, to pull for yourself and for your teammates. It's really up to you to take responsibility and make the most of our limited time on the water. This is the only chance we get to practice the details - timing, blending, applying power together. And I promise, regardless of your goals, the more effort you put into the hour and a half practice, the better you will feel when you get home. :)
Stretch, Announcements, Land/Core - Stretching is yet another injury prevention tool that shouldn't be taken lightly! Land drills and core workout will follow Announcements (and late push-ups/burpies). These are important to help us gain strength and endurance through cross-training.
All this makes for a long morning. We will do our best to respect everyone's time and make sure everything is run efficiently, but please bear with us as we work out the kinks early season, and of course, any feedback is welcome.
And for the BONUS ROUND: While it's not part of our "official" practice time, the Space Dragons Weekday Workout is starting up again in the South Bay and South Pasadena.
Finally, I've said it a million times before, but I'll say it again here...
Tournaments aren't won and lost on race day, they're won and lost AT HOME. So get off the couch, put down the remote (Kim!) and get to practice!