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USA Canoe/Kayak

National Sprint Coaching Education & Certification Program 

Updated January, 2014

Download USA Canoe/Kayak Coach Education Model/Chart here.
Download USA Canoe/Kayak Coaching Education & Certification Program here.

Four Levels of Training & Certification


Coaching & Education Certification Program

USA Sprint Canoe Kayak established a framework for coach education in the spring of 2007. This program has been developed and updated annually. It has been established using the following guidelines:

  • To ensure our coaches receive training that is reflective of current trends in sprint canoe kayak and other related sports.
  • For each context, set areas of study have been developed with specific topics and standardized observables for coaching candidate evaluation.
  • Offered as a sprint canoe kayak specific program yet readily adaptable to a multi paddle sport framework.
  • Coaching candidates may enter at the level they are currently coaching.
  • Coaching candidates may receive training through interactive modules offered during National Junior & Development Team training camps; during Club visitations by the National Sprint Development Director; and online individually arranged module training.
  • Professional development seminars are offered at the Annual Coaching and Leadership Conference – Oklahoma City (February 14 to 16, 2014), utilizing USOC Performance Services staff and invited international coaching experts.
  • Professional development seminars offered through the Colorado Springs coaching services program will be made available to nominated HP2/3 certified/in training coaches.
  • A data base of USA Canoe Kayak coaching candidates listing their training and certification will be kept by the National Sprint Development Director.
  • Opportunities for ICE — International Coaching Experiences — will be aligned to the USA Canoe Kayak coaching education program.

Four levels are currently being offered to USA Canoe Kayak Sprint coaches.

Coach Level

  • For coaches involved with athletes at the development level of Club programs.
  • Conducted at Clubs by the National Sprint Development Director or designated “trained” learning facilitator (LF).

High Performance One

  • For Club coaches working with athletes in national level training programs.
  • Conducted at National Junior & Development Team training camps; National Team Trials; USA Coaching and Leadership Conference – OKC; as well as during club visitations by the National Sprint Development Director.

High Performance Two

  • For coaches working with athletes in training for international competitions and associated camps.
  • Conducted at National Junior & Development Team training camps; USA Canoe Kayak Coaching and Leadership Conference – OKC; as well as during club visitations by the National Sprint Development Director.
  • Prerequisite - must have HP1 certification.

High Performance Three

  • For coaches working with athletes in training athletes for Olympic Hopes Regatta; Junior, U23 and Senior World Championships and their associated training camps.
  • Conducted at National Junior & Development Team training camps; USA Canoe Kayak Coaching and Leadership Conference - OKC; as well as during club visitations by the National Sprint Development Director.
  • Prerequisite - must have HP2 certification.

Coach Level – Modules – provided in coach workbook with reference material.

  • Coaching and Ethics
  • Practice Planning
  • A Safe Training Environment
  • Analyze Performance - Technical – Canoe & Kayak

Submissions required for certification – Coach Level

  • Coaching candidate is to apply USA Canoe Kayak’s code of ethics to a sprint canoe/kayak scenario – submitted to National Sprint Development Director.
  • Coaching candidate is to submit a detailed practice plan – to LF &/or NDD.
    • Coaching candidate is to identify three elements for each phase of the canoe and kayak stroke using a checklist or reference model provided in the Coach Level seminar – to LF &/or NDD.

Coaching candidates for the Coach Level are to request a letter of support by the club Head Coach or Coaching Director indicating the coaching candidate is currently working with athletes involved in the club’s development level programming. This letter of support is to be sent to the National Development Director to complete the certification requirements for Coach Level.

The Coach Level program was fully implemented in the spring of 2009.

High Performance One — Modules

  • The Yearly Training Plan — YTP
  • Micro cycle — weekly training plan – tied to the YTP
  • Macro cycle — month long training plan – integrated into the YTP
  • Coaching and Ethics – if not already completed in Coach Level.
    • Analyzing performance — Technical – USA Canoe Kayak Technical Templates

Submissions for certification – HP1

  • Coaches are to submit to the National Sprint Development Director a detailed yearly training plan for the current year or one used in the preceding year. This outline is to be on an excel spreadsheet provided by the National Development Director.
  • Coaches are to submit to the National Sprint Development Director a detailed one month training plan from any period in the YTP as per guidelines outlined in the submission requirements document.
  • Coaching candidates for High Performance One are offered the seminar sessions at the National Junior & Development Team training camps; National Team Trials; OKC Coaching and Leadership Conference; or during club visitations by the National Sprint Development Director

High Performance One seminars were first introduced in July 2007.

High Performance Two — Modules

  • Coaching and Ethics – if not already submitted as part of HP1 or Coach Level
  • Coaching and Leadership - NDD
  • Coaching and Philosophy - NDD
  • Training Load for High Performance Athlete – Michael Shannon, OTC CV.
  • Analyzing Performance — Technical and Tactical – NT coach or NDD.
  • Video Analysis of athlete – presentation – by coaching candidate at National Junior &/or Development Team training camp.
  • Peaking and Tapering — Principles for Peaking – NT coach, NDD; USOC staff.
  • Nutrition – Eating to Enhance Training – USOC staff.
  • Strength and Conditioning – USOC OTC Strength & Conditioning Coordinator
  • Attend minimum of two USA Canoe Kayak Coaching and Leadership Conferences - OKC.

Submissions for certification – HP2

  • Coaching candidates are to submit to the National Sprint Development Director an outline of their coaching philosophy.
  • A power point presentation of a “best practice” used at your Club. This presentation will be offered at the OKC Coaching & Leadership Conference.
  • Coaching candidates for High Performance Two are offered the seminar sessions at National Junior & Development Team Training camps; annual USA Canoe Kayak Coaching & Leadership Conference – OKC; or club visitations by National Sprint Development Director.

High Performance Two seminars were introduced in July 2008.

High Performance Two Certification Requirements

  • Coaching candidates are to be certified in HP1or equivalent certification.
  • Coaching candidates are currently active in coaching athletes preparing for international competitions and their associated camps..
  • Coaching candidates are active in instructing / facilitating Coach Level or High Performance One seminars.
  • Coaching candidates must attend or complete submissions for HP2 seminars and attend a minimum of two Professional Development Coaching Conferences – see NDD for details.

High Performance Three – Modules

  • Conflict Resolution – NDD or designate.
  • Monitoring/ measuring your Athlete’s Performance – USOC staff
  • Nutrition – Eating to Enhance Training – USOC staff
  • Peaking and Tapering — Principles for Peaking – NT coach, NDD; USOC staff; expert.
  • Technical analysis of the sprint canoe and kayak stroke and associated training.
  • Tactical toolbox for canoe and kayak athletes.
  • Mental Training and the High Performance Athlete – USOC staff; expert.

Submissions for certification – HP3

  • Coaching candidates are to submit to the National Sprint Development Director a conflict resolution completed assignment.
  • Coaching candidates are to submit mental training assignment.
  • Coaching candidates for High Performance Three are offered the seminar sessions at the annual USA Canoe Kayak Coaching & Leadership Conference – OKC.

High Performance Three seminars were introduced in February 2013.

High Performance Three Certification Requirements

  • Coaching candidates are to be certified in HP2 or equivalent certification (approved by the National Sprint Development Director).
  • Coaching candidates are currently active in coaching athletes preparing for the Olympic Hopes Regatta, Junior, U23 or Senior World Championships and their associated camps.
  • Coaching candidates are active in instructing / facilitating Coach Level or High Performance One / Two seminars.
  • Coaching candidates must attend or complete submissions for HP3 seminars and attend a minimum of three Professional Development Coaching Conferences – see NDD for details.

Coaches interested in being part of National Team Camp staff in Lake Placid must be High Performance Two certified or in training for HP2.

Coaches interested in applying to Team USA – Senior Worlds; Junior / U23 Worlds; Olympic Hopes Regatta must be HP2 certified and in training for HP3.

USA Canoe Kayak Coaching Education and Certification Program – Updated January 2014