The week of April 15th through April 21st saw 10 members of the Annapolis Dragon Boat Club in Indialantic, Florida to participate in a dragon boat camp. This was a new training experience for most of the attendees. The camp was on the level of a pro/am sports team training camp. Early risers could stretch and prepare for the days coming work outs with yoga at sunrise facing the beach. Early morning (8:00 a.m.) on the water paddling session followed by general audience group discussions of dragon boat related topics like, international racing and nutrition. After a lunch and some down time, there was another afternoon session of intense paddling and stroke refinement. The early evening made further instructional sessions available on topics ranging from in depth nutrition information to coaching theories and development or additional on water practice in an outrigger canoe. The camp boasted some 180 participants and mixed team practices were the order of the week. The teams were also videotaped twice during the week for specific discussion of each individual’s stroke mechanics, reviewed in a group setting. The mixed men and women team that Annapolis was part of contained paddlers from California, New York, and Pennsylvania. The coach was Kristen Stickels who some of you may know from her dragon boating blog, The Paddle Chica. The coaches, across the board, represented dozens of gold medal wins in international competitions and provided personal insights valuable to all participants.
The experiences gained were manifold across the team participants in team relations and exposure to other coaching styles, different paddling styles and one-on-one training with the coaches in the boats during personal training at the conclusion of the morning paddling sessions. The intense all dragon boat centric training also resulted in deep restful sleep each night for those involved. There were also several social evening with the entire camp population and the boat team that practiced throughout the week, to a person, the week was a resounding success team work, dragon boating, and physical development.