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‘Pull or Push’?

Posted by Hornet Team on
‘Pull or Push’?

Coach’s Corner by Pat Bradley (World Champion National Team and Club Crew Coach)

Some dragon boat coaches refer to the working part of the paddling stroke as the ‘pull phase’. Most athletes (especially newer paddlers) when instructed to ‘pull’ will employ their outside arm to generate power, thus bending their arm using the bicep muscle. The more arm ‘pull’, the less transfer of power from the ‘core’ (body) to the paddle. Small muscle vs big muscles. The word ‘pressure’ (press) creates a different thought pattern from the word ‘pull’. ‘Pulling’ generally results in a negative catch.

So… to reinforce a ‘positive’ paddle-entry angle I emphasize two technical priorities when teaching the ‘drive phase’ of the stroke.

  1. The first body movement at the ‘paddle-entry’ position is immediate downward pressure with your body. (core)
  2. The second movement is aggressive ‘push’ from legs and sitting up (abs).

NOTE: I initially teach these two technical components separately in order to isolate the required ‘body-twitch’ movements. Once the athlete understands the two ‘push movements’, its’ time to put them together to develop muscle memory.

Bottom line is that dragon boat racing is a ‘pushing sport’, with reliance on efficient use of the big muscles.

Downward pressure at CATCH. 

Pressure/push  from leg drive to the EXIT   


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