Below is the 2015 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 and ERG 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.
Because the conditions (tide, winds) at the OC-2 test location can affect results from day to day, this year an ERG test will supplement the OC-2 test. This is a new tool and is only intended to supplement the water test to help provide more consistent data. The water test is still the main quantitative component in measuring your ability to connect with the water.
3. Land Drill / Core Workout Attendance - Quantity and Quality
Dragon boat races are athletic competitions, so physical fitness and strength play an important role in how quickly we cross the finish line. Participating in the land drills and core workouts designed by Rod "Say No to Violence" Muramoto helps build that foundation. Again, just showing up isn't enough. You need to push yourself in order to make yourself (and the team) stronger. The work you put in here will be visible in the quality of your practices (stay stronger for longer) as well as your OC-2 time trial.
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!