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British Canoeing Assessment Discussion Task



Kieran, age 17, full time student and part time lifeguard. High levels of fitness and participants and compete in other sports such as hockey, sailing and kayaking.


Aims and goals of the performer

  • By 2019 Kieran wants to have paddled a grade 3 river and develop his skills to do so.

  • He would like to improve his overall technique to be able to venture into K1 Racing.

  • Be able to Bow stall, Stern stall and develop freestyle manoeuvres.


Paddling Background

Kieran is a confident paddler for a variety of conditions and disciplines. He started paddling and learning skills through scout organised courses, completing the British Canoeing Paddle Power Passport, Discover and 2 Star; he is now currently training for the 3 Star sea qualification. This training is throughout the year and coupled with an assessment once ready. He has bought a playboat and is self and peer taught and is developing his skill currently. He also has strong aspirations to start white water paddling more regularly, however, some of the reasoning that is holding him back from starting white water paddling is the community that he currently paddles with are sea paddling dominated and older than himself. Which means that there are few river trips that occur and that he can attend.


Learning needs

Kieran prefers to learn through visual guidance and demonstrations as it gives him the image in his head to be able to start working on a skill. Where he then likes to have a go at the skill himself to figure out what he understands and also what he needs to improve on. This means that I will need to provide ample opportunity for kinaesthetic learning – relying predominantly on feedback and tasks that stress and challenge his thinking.

Kieran states that information that has been given verbally he struggles to retain and apply into practice, therefore, as a coach I will need to think about explanations, tasks and the amount of feedback that is given.


Starting position for development

On our first profiling sessions, we went through a range of strokes and skills, highlighting the areas of development as a starting point and which skills may have a negative effect on the transfer to new skills. 


The skills that were observed in the first session were: Bow Rudder, Stern Rudder, Rolling, Edging and Low Brace Turn. From these observations it was noted that his active posture and power transfer could both benefit from development, which could in turn, improve the weaknesses that have been found.


My observations have found that Kieran is autonomous for most skills, therefore, the habits and skills that have been learned over a 5-year period are now hindering his ability to perform more complex skills. On the next page there is a TTPP grid that shows the development points that Kieran needs to work on for each of the strokes. This will give both the coach and performer something to refer to when monitoring progress and improvement over time.



TTPP for Development

The table below shows the areas for improvement and the weaknesses that may be causing a stroke to be less effective.

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Learning Outcomes and Targets

  • Develop Power Transfer and Posture so that paddling is more efficient. Whilst paddling less strokes and power should be needed whilst completing a range of strokes. This will be measured by recording the distance travelled (either in a straight line or turning) after the skill has been performed.

  • Develop confidence whilst capsized and exiting the boat. Be more comfortable entering and exiting a boat whilst underwater, a measure of personal comfort and safety.

  • Develop a well-balanced edge, that can be applied to skills and manoeuvres. 2 measures will be put into place. 1. Use an edge to pick up a ball from the water without using the performers hands or paddle. 2. Hold an edge more than 60 degrees for a length of time whilst throwing and catching a ball, the longer this can be performed will show the amount of development.

  • Develop turning manoeuvres, such as, low brace turns and bow rudder than can be transferred to a moving water environment. Complete effective turns in a range of craft measuring the degrees in which the boat has turned.

  • Develop awareness of trim, edge and power transfer whilst manoeuvring a paddlesports craft. Be able to Manoeuvre around a course forwards and backwards only using power transfer, trim and edge (including and limited to forwards paddling).

  • Develop white water skills such as, ferry gliding, eddying and seal launching in flat water and slow-moving water (depending on location and environment a Moderate Whitewater Coach may need to be present for this training. Through the use of film, transit lines and distance, measuring progress over the training that is provided at both the start of the session and the end of the training.

  • Freestyle development (Freestyle Coach needed for training sessions) Be able to Bow Stall and hold length of time. Be able to Stern Stall and hold for a length of time. Be able to master the beginnings of looping. The measure for this will be knowledge of results based with length in time and achievement of the skill.


Even though there are a large number of targets, they are all achievable in the time scales set out. A lot of Kieran’s paddling is high quality and technically sound, however, through other training sessions and experiences, some minor habits have become prevalent. For some of the targets, this would not have been an issue, but, with Kieran’s desire for learning new skills, especially in the freestyle discipline, these habits are hindering his progress in performing these skills. As a consequence of Kieran’s strong technique and knowledge it may simply just be a refresher and opportunity to recall this knowledge and develop it beyond his current, comfortable environment.


All of the above targets will be re-evaluated each week, whether they are being achieved or if they need adjusting and more training to be put in place as a result. Therefore, the coach and the performer must communicate and carefully monitor progress to state whether the targets are being met or if they are too ambitious.


How to coach

Through discussions and paddling with Kieran, he responds well to a range of different coaching styles to guide him to his learning destination. As he likes problem solving and working things out practically, I will either set a question or task that will challenging his thinking and previous experiences to go through trial and error with a more logistical pattern. This will encourage him to use his schema and develop on previous experiences. After giving him a convergent discovery tasks, I will give him some terminal feedback, and visual guidance. Kieran prefers to learn through his kinaesthetic awareness and through visual aids such as a demonstration.  I can then give him time to practice, using self-check as he is highly aware of technique and progression through some of the coaching he has done at his Club. To finalise the process, I will give him a divergent task to explore the skill further by giving it some stressing tasks causing him to move out of the autonomous stage of learning and returning to a more cognitive learning phase. At the start of each training session Kieran will be set some stressed activities to constantly revisit and develop them over time. In addition, between the coach and the performer, we will test the effects of manual guidance on progress without heavily relying on this method, this will only be a measure for when Kieran cannot find the correct positioning.


Throughout this training, I will be giving Kieran Knowledge of performance and encouraging him to also spot the weaknesses within his own paddling, resulting in the development of the fundamental, feel. Through the use of stressing it will force Kieran to recall and recognise certain outcomes. The cognitive schema, will hopefully develop over time, achieved by questioning and challenging tasks that caused the performer to more cognitively think about or recall a previous experience. Initially, I predict Kieran the rely on his recognition schema, through experimenting with technique and seeing the outcomes of this. However, the more experiences he has, he should be able to develop his schema into recall, through remembering his previous experiences and the specification of the conditions for outcome that was given. This will mean that the performer is using imagery and task outcomes to conclude an answer.


Whilst having high levels of enjoyment for the sport he also has high aspirations. When he sees role models performing a skill, he then aspires to also be able to perform that skill. Even though is wants to learn and improve he also likes results and can be driven by performance outcomes. Therefore, to maintain Kieran’s motivation, the coach will provide him with role models to guide him with training and motivation, this way he can still see the end goal but may captivate information more readily from a role model rather than the usual coach. During some training sessions the coach can put some competitive elements as this is becoming a focus for Kieran, for example, wanting to try out K1 racing and compete on a more regular basis.


The Training plan is set out so that each week will building on the last meaning constant revisit and evaluation and performing and planning. This will almost force Kieran to progress through Kolb’s learning cycle, ‘Plan Do Review and Conclude’. This will benefit Kieran in both short and long. Not only will it allow him to correct his technique, but it could allow this information to be transferred to the long-term memory to be accessed through cognitive schema at any point in his paddling life. Without this learning cycle, Kieran would struggle to progress.


Coaching progressions and Medium-Term Plan

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Further Progressions


Through coaching he can develop and use his own experiences to coach other paddlers.

Kieran can start to link freestyle skills together in sequence.

Progress to competitions in a range of disciplines.

Move to more advance water environments with the suitable supervision of a qualified coach/guide/leader.


He should also regularly revisit his skills and stress them to ensure that technique is maintained and does not hinder future learning. Finally, at the end of this training programme, the targets should be revised and reset to ensure that progressions do not stop. Whether Kieran wants to take a coaching pathway or a competitive pathway, his targets should reflect the practice that he requires to develop and progress.

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