Important Practice Information & Sign Up

Community Crews

Community crews receive 2 practices included in registration fees. Additional practices are $50 and can be purchased during crew registration or later. A maximum of 5 practices will be scheduled for a given crew, one of which must be on a Saturday. Please book your crew’s practices by using the links below. There is a different link for each week of practices. Do not be confused by the “volunteer” on the sign ups, it’s just that is a fantastic sign up system run by a web company in Canmore. Crews have the opportunity to volunteer on the docks and earn free practices; contact Karen at for more information.

Open Practices & Steering Clinics

Open practice means that you can come down as a full or partial crew and we will fill whatever boats we can. These are not crew registered practices, however there is opportunity to add your crew should you make this a full practice, to help with the planning. Please do not expect to get on the water with a steer that has not been given permission from the steering coaches. Note: Steers need to sign up.

May 15 – 23:

Community Crew Practices

May 28:
June 4:
June 11:
June 18:

Out of Town Crews

Out of town crews are limited to one practice, on the festival Friday, at a fee of $100. You can pay for this practice with your registration and tent fees when registering your crew. Please contact Karen at, and select your practice time below.

Crew Practice Regulations

Crews should arrive at least 30 minutes prior to scheduled practice time in order to check in for the practice session, access equipment, complete a crew warm-up and the appropriate line-up.  At least 1 crew member is required to fetch boats for the first practice session; please arrive 1 hour prior to the scheduled practice time. 1 crew members will be required to take boats back after the last practice. Practices are one hour long each, so the more efficient your crew members are in helping fetching boats and getting geared up, the smoother your practice will run, and the more effective your practice will be.

A minimum of ten (10) paddlers in addition to the steersperson and drummer is required before a crew will be allowed to practice in a dragon boat – AT THE DOCK MASTER/HEAD COACH DISCRETION.

Practices Consist Of:

  • Safety orientation
  • Warm-up and stretching
  • Boat safety
  • Loading and unloading the boat
  • Proper practice to minimize risk of injury
  • Dragon boat commands

Drills for:

  • Paddling technique including focus on different parts of the stroke
  • Timing
  • Endurance
  • Strength
  • Simulated racing (including start pieces)
  • Individualized feedback to improve technique
  • Racing strategy
  • Cool-down and stretching

Additional Crew Practice Information

  • Practices are held on Henderson Lake. The dragon boat dock is just east of Henderson Pool, in the north west corner of Henderson Lake.
  • Novice Crews and all new paddlers must watched the safety orientation video. We encourage more experienced paddlers to review the safety orientation as well. Head over to the safety page.
  • Novice crew (paddler) has 0 to 1 season of dragon boat paddling
  • Experienced crew (paddler) has two or more seasons (50% of the crew must fit in this range for the crew to be considered experienced
  • Cheques for payment of extra practices should be made payable to the Lethbridge Rotary Dragon Boat Festival. All practice fees must be paid in advance of practice.
  • Practices start in May (weather and resources permitting). All equipment will be provided.
  • Experienced crews MUST arrange to have their own coaches. All crew coaches should attend the Coaching Clinic – check in with the Race Chair. All coaches must have at least two years of dragon boat racing experience.
  • New crews will be provided an experienced coach for at least the first of their two practices.
  • Clinics will be provided for steerspersons and drummers; this is mandatory for novices and is recommended for experienced participants.
  • All steerspersons must be accredited by the Steering Coaching staff prior to steering alone with the crew.
  • Lack of attendance is not a valid reason for cancellation of a scheduled practice. There will be a $30 cancellation fee for any practice that is cancelled without 24 hours advance notice by the crew.