Coaching & Officials


The IDBA has adopted the International Dragon Boat Federations (IDBF) National Coaches Awards Scheme. Details of the scheme are as follows.

Crew Helm (Personal Skill and Teaching Award)

The Crew Helm Award is a combined personal skills and teaching award for those wishing to helm a dragon boat and teach a dragon boat crew the basics of paddling a dragon boat in a recreational or informal competitive environment.

The Crew Helm operates at the introductory level of the sport and is the basic personal skills award.

Foundation Coach (Coach Level 1)

The Foundation Coach Award is the starting point for coaches and should be considered as such. The Award is for those wishing to take and supervise young people in basic dragon boat activities in a controlled environment, for example an outdoor activities centre or to teach a crew the skills necessary to participate in informal competition.

A Foundation Coach will be competent to supervise a Crew Helm at dragon boat festival (charity type) races. The candidate will be encouraged to develop their skills under the guidance of a higher-level coach.

The Foundation Coach is the basic award for those wishing to become a Participation Coach in dragon boating.

Participation Coach (Coach Level 2)

The Participation Coach Award specifically aims to develop participation coaching skills and the idea of performance coaching in those holding the Foundation Coach Award or in the committed and experienced dragon boat enthusiast.

The Award is focused towards independent action of the candidate, who will be encouraged to develop their skills and expand their knowledge of training techniques and general coaching and related skills.

The Participation Coach Award is the general coaching award for dragon boat sport. The Award holder will be capable of running crew training sessions and is qualified to be the person in charge of dragon boating at an outdoor activities centre and to be responsible for a crew and its helm in normal summer race conditions in both a dragon boat festival and sport racing type of environment.

A Participation Coach who holds a Race Helming Certificate will be competent to helm in all kinds of racing conditions and to oversee trainee Race Helms in a sport racing environment.

The Participation Coach operates at the Foundation and Participation levels of the sport.

National Performance Coach (Coach Level 3)

The National Performance Coach Award is specifically aimed at developing performance coaching skills in the committed Participation Coach. The Award is for those coaches who wish to improve the performance of crews competing in sport racing up to and including National Championship level.

International Performance Coach (Coach Level 4)

The International Performance Coach Award is a qualification for those coaches active in the IDBF Member’s National Coach Training Scheme. The International Performance Coach must be capable of assessing up to Coach Level 3, as well as developing dragon boating on a regional and national level, including National Team Coaching.

Race Helm (Personal Skills Award)

The Race Helm is an advanced personal skills award that requires a high standard of watermanship and racing awareness. The Race Helm Award is for those with experience of steering (helming) a dragon boat crew, in a sport racing environment, that is in a regular series of races organised by an IDBF Member or by an organisation with IDBF Affiliate Status. Ideally, candidates for the Race Helm Award should already hold a lower personal skills award, such as a Crew Helm Award.

The Race Helm Award syllabus seeks to help develop ‘racing skills’ in the committed dragon boat racer. The Race Helm will be competent to steer a dragon boat in moving water and under formalised race conditions. The Race Helm Award is not a coaching qualification.

Coaching Awards Scheme Summary

Award Modules 
Crew Helm 1) Basic Helming & Boat Handling
(Personal Skill & Teaching Award) 2) Basic Commands
3) Safety on the Water Part 1 – Crew Activities
4) Safety on the Water Part 2 – The Crew Briefing
5) Safety on the Water Part 3 – The Capsize Routine
Foundation Coach 6) Running a Training Session
(Coach Level 1) 7) Induction of a New Crew
8) The Governance of Dragon Boat Sport
Participation Coach 9) Paddling Technique
(Coach Level 2) 10) Principles of Training
11) Paddling Technique & Analysis
12) Safety on the Water Part 4 – Dragon Boat Racing
13) The Rules & Regulations of Dragon Boat Racing
National Performance Coach NPC-1) Paddling Technique & Analysis for Development
(Coach Level 3) NPC-2) The Physiology of Training
NPC-3) Training Programmes
NPC-4) Race Tactics & Psychology of Racing
NPC-5) Running Courses & Assessment of Awards
  Assessed Training Session
International Performance Coach Curriculum Vitae
(Coach Level 4) Presentation
Log Book
Race Helm RH-1) The Rules & Regulations of Racing
(Personnel Skill Award) RH-2) Safety on the Water – Competitive Racing
RH-3) Race Helming
3no. Assessment Observations


The IDBA has adopted the International Dragon Boat Federations (IDBF) National Race Officials Training Course. Details of an IDBF International Officials Grade 1 standard course are as follows.

  • History of Dragon Boat Racing
  • Event Organisation
  • Race Programmes
  • Racing Rules
  • Technical Officials
    • Chief Official / Race Secretary
    • Chief Boat Marshall
    • Starter / Aligner
    • Course Umpire
    • Chief Judge
    • Safety Officer
    • Rules and Protests
    • Situation Analysis
    • Open Discussion

Assessment of Officials for the certificate can be held in the evening or on a separate day, with a written multi-answer tick test (approx. 1 hour) followed by a one to one interview, per candidate, of approx. 20 minutes each.

2018 Planned Courses

Course: IDBA Paddler’s Clinic (Land based)
Date: TBC
Venue: Rathvilly, Carlow
Places Available: 10
Cost: €35 / head (Subsidised by IDBA)
Duration: 1 Day

Course: IDBF Crew Helm Course
Date: TBC
Venue: Grand Canal Dock, Ringsend, Dublin
Places Available: 8
Cost: €125 / head
Duration: 1 Day

For enquiries about any of the courses listed, please email

The IDBA are available to run any courses required at your chosen venue, please do not hesitate to contact us for further information.