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Paddlesport Instructor

The Paddlesport Instructor (Level 1) is the first step on the paddlesport coaching pathway, and the entry point for most paddlesport coaches.

This qualification develops the foundation coaching skills that underpin coaching practice. Specifically, it introduces the fundamentals of safe, ethical and effective paddlesport coaching and is available as a bank-based or a boat-based qualification. The qualification is not discipline specific and is suitable for coaches who work with paddlers from any of the competitive and recreational paddlesport disciplines.

The course prepares coaches, for running taster sessions, coaching introductory core skills, coaching paddlers in a variety of craft and coaching in sheltered and very sheltered water conditions, normally with the support of a more qualified coach.

Please note, from January 2019, British Canoeing will launch a NEW Paddlesport Instructor Award. Please click here for more information. 


If you already meet these prerequisites register now or find out more about the registration service.

Paddlesport Instructor Courses

Head over to the Canoe Near You look up and find Paddlesport Instructor courses near you.

Expand Registration

Candidates wishing to book on to a Paddlesport Instructor course must register with their respective Home Nation Association.

It is advisable to do this at least 2-weeks prior to the training course.

Registration is the start of the process by which a coach’s training and assessment journey is recorded and gives the coach access to the training resources and Assessment Portfolio for that qualification. Registration is different to booking a place on a course, which is done directly with the course provider.

Registration for the Paddlesport Instructor is open to persons aged 16 and above and costs £45. All candidates registering for the Paddlesport Instructor course will need to be a member of their respective Home Nation Association. 

All candidates are required to have completed:

Boat-based candidates are also required to hold the following:

In some cases these may be included within the training course programme so if in doubt please contact your course provider.

Evidence of competition performance may be used instead of the Star Award prerequisite, for more information please see Star Awards Equivalents for Competition Paddlers.

Registration is valid for 12 months and you have 12 months from the start of the learning programme to finish everything needed for certification. If more time is required you may Request an Extension.

Expand Course Content

On the course coaches will develop the ability to plan, deliver and review short coaching sessions in a safe, ethical and effective manner.

To this end the course will cover ‘how to coach’ skills alongside technical understanding of ‘what to coach’, specifically relating to the skills that beginners need.

​How to Coach:

The course covers aspects of these ‘how to coach’ skills:

  • Coach’s role and responsibilities
  • Planning coaching activities
  • Session preparation
  • Delivering coaching activities
  • Evaluating and reviewing paddlesport coaching activities
  • Technical, tactical, physical, psychological aspects of paddlesport
  • Safety

What to Coach:

The course focuses on how to coach introductory core skills:

  • Fundamental Paddlesport Skills (Posture, Connectivity, Power Transfer, and Feel)
  • Lifting and carrying
  • Launching and landing
  • Forward paddling
  • Reverse paddling
  • Stopping (forward and backwards)
  • Steering, turning and manoeuvring
  • Moving sideways
  • Preventing a capsize

For more information on the content covered in the Paddlesport Instructor programme please read the Paddlesport Instructor Course Guide and Paddlesport Instructor Unit Specific and Course Content

Expand Course Structure

The Paddlesport Instructor qualification involves a minimum 32-hours contact time.

Courses are run in a variety of formats, from a modular course run over a series of weeks to intensive four-day courses.

Candidates who have a sound knowledge of the technical aspects of the syllabus (i.e. the ‘what to coach’) are often suited to an intensive programme. While the modular option allows time to consolidate learning between sessions.

Expand Assessment & Certification

By embedding formative and summative assessment methods into the training course programme, a Paddlesport Instructor candidate will build up evidence of their competencies using the Assessment Portfolio.

By the end of the course the candidate will need to have completed four Assessment Tasks:

Task 1 Rescue Skills

Task 2 Personal Skills (boat-based coaches only)

Task 3 Practical Coaching (planning, delivery, safety, and review)

Task 4 Training Course Workbook

Upon successful completion of each of these tasks the course provider will recommend the candidate for certification. Certificates are typically received from the Awarding Body within six to eight weeks of submittal of the paperwork to the relevant Home Nation.

For more information on the Paddlesport Instructor assessment process please refer to the Paddlesport Instructor Assessment Guidance.

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If you already meet these prerequisites register now or find out more about the registration service.

Paddlesport Instructor Courses

Head over to the Canoe Near You look up and find Paddlesport Instructor courses near you.