Author Archives: Jackie Siemon

Check out a preview of PaddleCore’s Phases of the Dragonboat Stroke!

From beginners to experts these fundamentals are critical and will simplify and improve your stroke.

PaddleCore was in Long Beach California last week delivering a Coaching Workshop. Focusing on progressive dragonboat technique and program design, the workshop was a hit and we’re looking forward to seeing the Long Beach and regional teams compete in 2014! Long Beach is also home to one of the West Coast’s best dragonboat races, the Long Beach Dragonboat Festival scheduled for July 26th and 27th. If your team is looking for a beautiful destination race with lots of great competition go to for more information.

If your team or organization is interested in a coaching or technical workshop (of any size), contact PaddleCore.

Stay tuned for PaddleCore’s special release of the dragonboat stroke phases!

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Suffering from Shoulder Pain?

By Jackie Siemon

shoulder-painThe sport of dragonboat is not conducive to even muscle development due to its one-sided nature.  Paddlers often overdevelop or under develop muscle groups as a result of repetitive on-sided movements.  This in turn leaves some muscles weak, while others become significantly stronger.  Such effects are usually seen in the shoulders and back.  these resulting muscle imbalances can ultimately lead to injury.

As paddlers, we tend to train the bigger muscle groups in only a certain range of motion.  For example, the paddling stroke relies heavily on the pectoralis major muscle, but does not enforce proper range of motion of certain joints such as the acromioclavicular joint where the clavicle meets the acromion (the outermost point of the spine of the shoulder blade) of the scapula.  This adaptation of the larger muscles is beneficial in an athlete’s development, however neglecting flexibility and other ranges of movement associated with the joint is detrimental to even muscle development.

For paddlers, it is important to note that shoulder joint is supported very loosely by a set of muscles and tendons and is very injury prone without training the proper range of motion for the shoulder.

When the paddling stroke is trained in perfect conditions, muscles are correctly taught to move that way. However, the parameters of the sport differ depending on water density, wind conditions and water chop. If the muscles are not conditioned to adapt to a wider range of motion that is sometimes needed to overcome wake or increased resistance, injuries occur.

It is important to strengthen and maintain rotator cuff muscles to control excessive shoulder movement.  It is also important to work the posterior shoulder and back muscles for the shoulder joint to work properly. All exercises must always be performed in the full range of motion, allowing for your muscles to be accustomed to loads at every angle. By training the shoulders and back through their full range of motion, the muscles that hold the scapula in the correct position will be strengthened and the risk of injury reduced.

Aside from strengthening shoulders, stretching and mobility work is often overlooked.  flexibility is the range of motion of a joint non-specifically in the shoulder and mobility is about range of motion under specific circumstances.  Both together will decrease your likelihood of injury if your shoulder moves into an injury prone position.

Most injuries happen when the body is moved in a way that hasn’t been trained, for example, getting your paddle stuck behind you during wavy water conditions.  It is vital to incorporate isolated shoulder mobility exercises into your workout, especially if you are an individual who is suffering form shoulder pain.

A common injury for paddlers is impingement syndrome, which occurs when the tendon of the rotator cuff muscles become inflamed as it passes through the passage beneath the acromion.

Again, to avoid this injury among others, it’s important to have good mobility and flexibility in in the shoulder and develop good posture and work to increase strength in the rotator cuff muscle.

Stay tuned for a rotator cuff and shoulder conditioning program!

Happy paddling!

Teambuilding – DRAGONSTYLE!

By Jackie Siemon

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Corporate teambuilding facilitates better communication, motivates employees, promotes creativity, helps to develop problem-solving skills and increases the trust factor with employees.  Teambuilding in the workplace enables better communication, relationships and increases productivity.

“Nurturing teamwork is first priority for many business executives” says Suzanne Willis Zoglio, Ph.D and author of Teams at Work: 7 Keys to Success and The Participative Leader.  “There are obvious benefits of corporate teambuilding – increased productivity, improved customer service and it creates a more flexible system and employee empowerment.

Mary Collins, author of American Idle: A Journey through our Sedentary Culture says activity impacts our brains.  Physical movement is of equal importance to the brain as stimulating it by reading and writing.  Collins says, “Workspaces have become more confined to sitting at computers in desk chairs day in and day out.  Society’s health is suffering with crippling musculoskeletal problems that occur as a result of inactivity and poor posture.”  While a number of media articles suggest adults to walk more often and take the stairs, these suggestions are a good start, however Collins suggests that it is important to be “spontaneously active.”  Spontaneous physical activity can contribute significantly to differences in total daily energy expenditure in an individual.  By decreasing the amount of non-exercise and incorporating activity within the workplace there is high promise that productivity will increase in the office.

Measuring the outcomes of a corporate teambuilding event can be difficult if you have no way to do so.  Deciding what you wish to measure or determining an area of emphasis prior to the event will aid in defining success, for example; improving internal communication.  It is important to recognize that teambuilding can be fun, add value as well as give your employees tools they can use when returning to work the next day. And team building should create change that lasts.

A study led by Cameron Klein of the University of Central Florida was conducted in order to answer the question of whether or not teambuilding is effective.  He studied and surveyed 26 teams of small (less then five people), medium (five to ten people) and large (over ten people) sizes before and after their teambuilding activity.  The results were encouraging and suggested that teambuilding does improve overall outcomes of a team such as goal setting, interpersonal relations, problem solving and productivity at work.    Although teams of all sizes benefited from teambuilding exercises, larger teams appeared to have the most success.

Dragonboat offers the ultimate teambuilding experience because it builds on the skills necessary for today’s business environment.  It is an excellent way to develop teamwork, communication, build relationships and increase productivity in the workplace.  In an activity where synchronicity is more important than individual strength, developing a cohesive and inclusive team comes naturally with this sport.


Klein, Cameron, et al. “Does Team Building Work?” Small Group Research 40.2 (2009): 181-222.

Collins, Mary. American Idle: A Journey through Our Sedentary Culture. Sterling, VA: Capital, 2009. Print.


By Jackie Siemon

Running in sub-zero temperatures may seem extreme, but with the right gear, winter running can be tolerated.  When running or training outside during the winter it is best to layer your clothing.

Vicky winter runningHat – Keeping your head warm when winter running is really important since 10% of our body heat is lost through the head. Wearing a thermal toque or beanie will do the job and they are also small enough to stuff in your pocket if you start to overheat.

Balaclava – In gusty winds and freezing temperatures, the less skin exposed the better. Balaclava’s cover your mouth, which also helps to warm the air before you breath it in. Wool or fleece are great fabrics that will help keep you warm and dry. 

Gloves – Gloves or mittens are important to have on your winter run. Look for a pair that has micro fleece inside and wind protection on the outside. If you get too warm, they are easy to tuck into a pocket or tights.

Socks – Look for socks that go above the ankle. Socks that have an absorbent layer that keep your feet dry is essential. Also, double layered socks stop friction keeping feet blister free. 

Base Layers – Athletic clothing that wicks moisture away from your body is best. Try and stay away from cotton; it doesn’t evaporate sweat fast enough and can make you cold and wet. Synthetic fabrics, such as polyester are designed to wick sweat away from the skin without absorbing it. Wool absorbs moisture generated between your skin and fabric as you sweat, but it keeps you warmer than cotton when wet.

Jacket – A winter running jacket should be both wind and water resistant with a liner to help keep you warm. Finding a jacket with some reflective tubing is also important so you can be seen in the dark.

Tights – Running tights are essential for all weather running. They can be thin enough to keep you cool in the fall and tight enough to keep you warm in the winter. Compression creates more blood flow in the thigh, which creates warmth. There are also tights specifically made for winter running that are equipped with micro fleece on the inside and wind resistant panels on the thigh area for extra warmth.

We know winter running can be challenging but wearing the right clothing and being prepared for the cold will definitely make your winter workouts more successful.

Happy Trails!