Coach courses highlight worldwide growth of canoeing

The International Canoe Federation has enjoyed another successful year recruiting and training new coaches throughout the world, underlining the continued growth in the sport.

Two recent canoe sprint coach education courses showcase the interest and potential for the expansion of canoeing, with strong turnouts in both South Africa and Albania. While South Africa has a strong paddling history, Albania is a new federation and has an exciting future.

The Albanian National Canoe Federation came into existence in 2017, and 22 people took part in a six-day Olympic Solidarity canoe sprint level one course last month.

The ICF and the European Canoe Association, with generous financial support from the Olympic Solidarity program, agreed to donate six racing kayaks and ten kayak paddles to help the sport develop.

Almost all the attendees at the course came from sporting backgrounds, and spent up to seven hours a day in both theory and practical sessions. An exam was held at the end of the course, with 11 people, ten men and one woman, passing.

“The water and weather conditions were not suitable for beginner paddlers because of safety concerns, so we did the practical sessions in an open swimming pool,” ICF expert, Csaba Szanto, said.

“This venue gave more confidence to the attendees, and at the end of the practical sessions, several people were able to sit in the kayak and paddle with the technical knowledge they had learned.

“The participants and the federation are very keen to develop canoe sprint in Albania. The development of canoeing requires further attention and equipment support from the ICF and ECA, and support to obtain gender equality in athletes and technical staff.”

There were 18 participants at a level one assistant canoe sprint coaching course in Kwazulu Natal, South Africa, last month, and all successfully passed to the next stage.

It followed a similar course run in July which attracted 13 participants, of which all but one passed the final examination.

“We spent a little additional time expanding on the theory and application of training program design, as the coaches felt this was an area which they lacked knowledge,” course facilitator Gregory van Heerden said.

“I believe the course objectives were met, and the experience was worthwhile for all involved.I look forward to seeing how the coaches progress and make canoeing a fun, safe and challenging experience for all involved.”

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