10 Things About Teamwork From Dragon Boating

10 Things About Teamwork From Dragon Boating
7 Sheree 4 April 2012 Dragonboat Training & Techniques
Number 1: Timing and technique are more critical than power and strength

In many sports individual performance, strength, agility etc. are the focus of attention. The first skill the coach worked with us on was to have the entire team row in time with the same technique. It is amazing that a team with less brute strength can outperform a stronger boat on timing alone. This is the

1+1 is >2 principle in action. This does not mean that individualism is lost, but that individualism serves the overall purpose of the team. Otherwise, you are a group of individual contributors in a working group, but not a team. When all the paddles stroke in time the boat moves faster than the boat with stronger rowers who are not in time; using their energy against each other rather than focusing on their timing and technique.

Focus on ensuring that members of the team are working toward the same goal. Everyone on the team should be able to tell you how they contribute to the purpose and goals of the team.

Number 2: There is no replacement for a talented steersperson

With a good steersperson, whom the team trusts, each paddler is freed up to focus on their job. They are not worried about other boats, what direction this boat is going, how the boat will navigate the wake etc. In fact, the real job of the steersperson, beyond the technical ability to steer to boat, is to instill confidence in paddlers. The team does not lose energy distracted by problems that they cannot solve but on achieving the goals of the team.

Focus on team leadership that allows members of the team to perform their roles knowing that ‘things’ are being taken care of.

Number 3: One person out of time can cost the race for the whole team

This sounds like the inverse of number one. It is about what happens when even one person behaves in a way that compromises the performance of the team? This is where the steersperson and coach come in. Often the individual does not know that their performance is putting the team’s performance at risk. It is seldom about willingness or even the ability to perform but rather an understanding of the impact of their performance. Feedback is critical in ensuring that the members of the team move forward together.

Focus on providing data based performance feedback to the team including the impact of current performance both positive and corrective. Team members need to get objective feedback on their performance and what plan corrective measures to improve.

Number 4: You train long and hard for a short and intense race

Plans mean nothing if the team is not able to achieve its goal. Teams work hard, often on long term projects but realize that the measure of the value of the work is in implementation. Results are the measure of a team’s success.

Focus on the ability to achieve exceptional results.

Number 5: There is no “luggage” in the boat; everyone contributes

Boy, we all have bad days, but guess what, the team deserves your best even on those days. We all cover for each other when it is needed but everyone contributes..

Focus on helping team members understand their contribution and seek opportunities for them to apply their strengths more often.

Number 6: Treat other teams with respect but don’t get distracted

In the heat of a race it is easy to notice where the other teams are in the race and get distracted. But you can only control what happens in your boat not theirs. There is nothing you can do about what happens in their boat. You have all the control over what you do in your boat. A team with a strong start may not have the stamina to complete the race by continuing their opening speed. Focus your attention on your purpose and the results.

Focus on what the team can accomplish with the resources it has.

Number 7: There is always more to learn

No matter what your role or how long you have been with the team, or how many races you have been in, there are always things to learn. Not matter how good you are you can always be better. The coach would move us around to different positions so that we would learn new skills and perspective.

Focus on ensuring that everyone on the team is actively learning all the time.

Number 8: The lead paddlers (strokes) set the pace

There is incredible benefit from everyone on the team working in concert towards the same goal. Leaders in the team set the direction, provide visible support for the values of the team and hold themselves and others accountable for the performance of the team. Everyone is accountable to be in time with the strokes. It is not ones business but mine to watch and pay attention. Remember, one person out of time can cost a race.

Focus on leaders holding themselves and other accountable for success.

Number 9: You paddle as hard on a bad day as on a good day

A manager friend of mine said to her employees after being challenged about the lack of loyalty in the organization, “I do not want your loyalty, I want your commitment.” It is important the each member of the team is fully present all the time, whether in practice or in competition.

Focus on every individual on the team performing their best everyday.

Number 10:Teams win and teams lose, not individuals

In Dragon Boating, teams win, not individuals. The entire boat crosses the finish line or it does not. The people at the front of the boat or the steersperson do not get more of the ‘win’ that others. The team wins or the team loses. We are all one team.

Focus on being all one team. Individual skills, style, experience and knowledge all contribute to the work of the team. At the end of the day, we are all one team who achieve the results or not.

By ensuring that these top 10 success factors are implemented you can develop your team’s effectiveness. We hope that these 10 Success Factors helped you to reflect on the factors that need to be considered and planned a highly effective, high performing team.

Creative Volunteers Needed!

With the end of summer right around the corner, our next holiday is Labor Day weekend. Labor Day weekend in Lansing is full of excitement. Please join us for the second annual Capital City Dragon Boat Race down the Grand River in East Adado Riverfront Park. You can participate in this exciting event in many ways.   If paddling a dragon boat isn’t your “thing”, you could be a part of our dragon boat community as a volunteer!

The Capital City Dragon Boat Race is produced by a team of like-minded volunteers interested in renewing waterfront activity on the Grand River. We are looking for volunteers to help on race day – many different skills can be put to good use that day! But you can also get involved in advance!

Here are a couple of ideas for the creative members of our community:

  • T-SHIRT DESIGN: Please submit your design for our Volunteer t-shirts (short-sleeved or sleeveless). Main design should be on the back and include space for sponsor names and logos. You can include small design on the front, as well. We will also use this design for the Event T-shirts each team member will receive after the race. Last year’s shirt was long-sleeved with design down one sleeve. Design should reflect the Asian theme of the Capital City Dragon Boat Race.DEADLINE FOR DESIGN: MONDAY, AUGUST 6, 2012. Please contact us at LansingDragonBoat@gmail.com.
  • CREATE THE PADDLE FOR THE TEAM SPIRIT AWARD: The motto of the American Dragon Boat Association is “Friendship Through Paddling.” The Team Spirit Award is voted upon by the participants of the race, honoring the team that best exhibits this motto. We would like this award to be a plaque mounted on a small replica of a dragon boat paddle (Note: dragon boat paddles are unique in design, with a flat bottom on the blade.) Any woodworkers out there interested in creating this paddle for us?DEADLINE FOR COMPLETED PADDLE (minus the plaque): THURSDAY, AUGUST 9, 2012. Please contact us at LansingDragonBoat@gmail.com.
  • DESIGN THE MEDALS / AWARD PLAQUES: We provide medals for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishers. These should be designed to hang on ribbon lanyards and should reflect the Asian theme of the Capital CIty Dragon Boat Race.DEADLINE FOR DESIGN: MONDAY, AUGUST 6, 2012 Please contact us at LansingDragonBoat@gmail.com.

Please share this so we can reach out to Mid-Michigan creative folks willing to help us with these projects! THANK YOU!

~ Dragon Lady ~

Team Registration

About three more months until the Capital City Dragon Boat Race returns to the banks of the Grand River and brings excitement to Downtown Lansing on Labor Day Weekend again. The teams of 20-25 paddlers will race 40-foot long, ‘flag-catcher’ style Dragon Boats for 300 meters north into Adado Riverfront Park from the Lansing City Market.  Spectators will have opportunity to watch the race from either side of the river or the Shiawassee St. Bridge.

“Teams have been forming and community excitement is building. We look forward to the continued growth of Capital City Dragon Boat Race to become one of the premier dragon boat races in the Midwest,” says Mike Price, Executive Director of the Greater Lansing Sports Authority.

For more information, including team registration and training tips, please visit www.CapitalCityDragonBoat.com.  Training and informational opportunities will also be announced soon. Don’t miss it!

Dragon Boat “Funtivities”

With summer around the corner, many people will spend their occasional short breaks away from work, looking for the stress-relieving activities. This July, the Hong Kong Tourism Board and Dragon Boat Association will be hosting the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival in East Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong. Over 100 world’s top Dragon Boat teams from Hong Kong and more than 20 countries will be battling in this three-day bash. What attracts this many people to come participate in this event? What has made this Hong Kong Dragon Boat such a large international race event?

The key is their history and “funtivities”. This Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong was the first place to hold the Modern International Dragon Boat races. Since then, this sport event has been seeing as a large international event all over the world. This summer, the global peddlers will gather in the birth place of the modern Dragon Boat racing once again. Every paddler who participates in this race are very serious about their races and take this activity as a modern sport. Many do not just practice rowing in the water of their own districts, but also take part in physical fitness training such as running and weightlifting.

This major festival is also the perfect place for entertainment in Hong Kong. With paddling teams dressed up in creative costumes, it will feature the San Miguel Beer Garden with food vendors, live entertainment and beer contests.

This Labor Day weekend, Lansing will also be hosting Capital City Dragon Boat Races 2012 at the Adado Riverfront Park in Downtown Lansing. Participants and spectators will enjoy a fun filled day of dragon boat racing and entertaining cultural activities such as the Awakening the Dragon Ceremony, Panda Playland and Family-Friendly activities, “Funtivities”!  PLEASE get your team and register! Go Teams!

Follow @LansingDragons on Twitter and check our Facebook page! For more information, visit us at http://capitalcitydragonboat.com/

YouTube Video of Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilCTwmpSfWQ

Social and Physical Benefits Through Dragon Boat Racing

Marla Baker, a present captain and warehouse volunteer of DragonSports USA, was profiled in the article, “Dragon Boat racing offers social, physical benefits” by the Daily Journal of Commerce’s Reed Jackson on Thursday, May 10, 2012. Baker currently captains three times a week and has raced boats for nine years. Being on the bow of a 700-pound boat enables her to forget about any life challenges, such as raising her 10 grandchildren and running her boat repair company by herself.

“It’s a release for everything. This is definitely my out in life,” says Baker, “It’ll make you a happier person – on the jobsite as well as in life.” She is a successful former owner – known as the “hood lady” – of a stainless steel company that furnished kitchen restaurants across the country. Baker mentions that many racers are either architects or contractors. In fact, her husband, Chuck Baker is also an electrician. With their previous job experience, they have become proficient boat builders.

Darrell Hames, the owner of DragonSports, also believes that people who work in the field of architecture and construction have exceptional interest in the competitive sports like Dragon Boat racing.

Hames mentions, “It’s a sport where you have to have the ability to take time off and go to the races, and you have to be able to afford it.” This is the reason why DragonSports tend to get more racers that possess the individual professional aspects or are the business owners.

Dragon Boat racers are serious about making connections and competitive sports. Dragon Boat racing attracts people as a great opportunity for social networking. Baker states that the real draw to racing is that regardless of age, size or past, someone can make 24 new friends almost immediately. It does not only offer social benefits, but also physical benefits. Baker continues that this is one of the healthiest things you can do because paddling helps prevents injuries on the job site.

Lansing Dragons: Awakening the Dragon Ceremony

The 2012  race is rapidly approaching, but before setting sail, all Races must ‘Awaken’ their dragons. The isn’t your typical ceremony in the sense that it is quiet and calm. The dragon’s eyes must be opened and all evil warded off!

The for CCDBR will take place at dusk, Saturday, September 1, 2012. Spectators for the ceremony will be the first to see the boats, painted in immaculate detail. The ceremony, in respect to custom, will open the dragon’s eyes, ward off evil spirits and prepare the for competition. The ceremony not only blesses and cleanses the area for , but also the spectators and competitors.

According to , dragon boat racing came at a time when “A time when superstition determined how a person lived. In fact, dragon boat racing began more than 2000 years ago when a group of superstitious people believed that the boat racing would ensure prosperous and bountiful crops.” The awakening ceremony was originally created to cleanse, but also to honor the death of a Ch’u statesmen. When his advice to the king of Ch’u was rejected and he was exiled, his sorrows lead him to throw his body in the . The people of the kingdom who loved Ch’u Yuan would float in the river around his body, beating drums and splashing their oars to keep fish and water dragons from him.

Dragon boat racing made its way into with some extreme rituals, such as drowning a person in sacrifice or capsizing a boat. Thankfully, many of these rituals have been removed over the years and the ceremony has evolved into something entertaining. Though much has changed in the years since Ch’u Yuan’s death in 4 B.C, the CCDBR will honor the custom in their own style at dusk the night before the races.

Those attending the can walk across the bridge to the ceremony and enjoy the festivities. Racing will commence the following morning, Sunday, September 2, at 8 AM until the bracket has been completed.

Dragon Boat Race to revitalize Lansing Waterfront

riverfrontOur mission for the is simple: to revitalize the , and the .

The River Trail, Adado Riverfront Park and Grand River play host to thousands of people looking for in , each summer. These are sites where families spend quality time together, friends catch up on their busy lives and lifelong healthy habits are formed. It is imperative that we invest in these . Dragon boat racing gives us the perfect platform to attract more visitors and raise money for revitalization projects.

The dragon boat committee formed a partnership with Mid-Michigan Environmental Action Council (an action-based environmental organization) to ensure that all proceeds from the 2011 race are used to create environmentally sound projects that will enhance . A few positive changes have already started to materialize at East Adado Park, the area around the boat docks will being cleared out and additional docks will be constructed.

We are thrilled to bring the fastest growing in the world to Lansing. We hope that this event will spark a new interest in Lansing’s waterfront.