The best opportunity we have to get better as a team is at practice. Only at practice do we have the chance to feel the water and learn to blend and paddle together. We'll work on starts, finishes, power, endurance, conditioning, etc.
Bench coaching is a great way for paddlers to get 1-on-1 coaching to help improve technique and timing. The coaches plan to do more bench coaching this year, and here are some ways to help you get some bench coaching if that's something you're interested in:
1. Sit next to a coach (duh)
2. Ask the coach for pointers during practice. Some of us are better than others at remembering to bench coach, so don't be shy about asking.
One of the best things about Space Dragons is that we train as one team, so for the most part, people can sit wherever they want and get the same workout. The drawback is that we don't get enough practice racing in our crews, so the boats feel totally different on race day compared to what they felt like in practice. This year (and based on some paddler feedback), we plan to add a few additional practices split by skill level. These won't necessarily be the same as the Red/Blue/White boat splits, but the idea is to get closer to the conditions we'll see on race day.
But to compete with the best, water training alone isn't enough. There's a lot more we can do on our own schedule during the week to help boost our performance.
Training on land is especially important when we consider the limited amount of water time we have together. The work you put in outside of practice will show in the OC-2 time trial results. Not only that, one of the biggest benefits of being a part of Space Dragons is an improvement in overall health and fitness. It's a win-win situation for both you and the team.
This year, to help you measure your progress, we'll be hosting Fitness Tests on the first Saturday of every month. Each exercise directly correlates to muscles used in paddling. Participation is optional (but encouraged!), and results will be public with a goal of creating a supportive environment. Thanks to everyone who participated in yesterday's trial run! This will be an evolving thing, and I hope you had fun. :)
Finally, keep your eyes out for SoPas and SoBay Space Dragons Weekday Workouts, starting soon!