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Clubs & Centres: Which Coaching Qualification or Leadership Award is right for me?

Ahead of the Coach Award launch in January and the introduction of the Paddlesport Leader Award in April 2017, clubs and centres may be wondering which qualification is right for the activities you run.

This guidance will give you a clearer understanding of the options available to your paddlers wanting to start their journey on the qualification pathway. These are all direct entry awards which could be the first step for an aspirant coach or leader. 

Benefits of Direct Entry

Paddlers bring different skills and experiences to their training courses.  Direct entry options enables paddlers to select the best route for them, giving them a choice and allows an individualised journey. Paddlers who already have the necessary skills do not need to spend their time and money on courses if they are already confident with the content. 

Pi Pl Coac Award

Paddlesport Leader

  • Launched: April 2017
  • Aimed at: paddlers leading on sheltered water environments, running safe and enjoyable trips based on their group’s needs and aspirations.
  • Craft: the Paddlesport Leader can lead any craft, from any craft.
  • Prerequisites: One day First Aid and membership. 
  • Training: Not compulsory. Candidates can cross check their requirements and opt for bespoke training opportunities, for example, in-house training at your club or working alongside/shadowing other leaders at your centre. 
  • Assessment: 1 day assessment
  • Examples: In a recreational club, the Paddlesport Leader could be leading journeys, providing a safety framework for multiple craft or in a racing club, could provide a safety overview on a training session chaperoning other paddlers. 

Please click here for further details of the Paddlesport Leader Award. 

Paddlesport Instructor

  • Launched: 2007. Rebranded in January 2018, (formally UKCC Level 1).
  • Aimed at: Paddlers delivering introductory Paddlesport events and taster sessions, providing fun and engaging experiences for all ages and any of the competitive and non-competitive paddlesport disciplines. The Paddlesport Instructor can plan, deliver and review short coaching sessions, normally with the support of a more qualified coach so is a great first step for those new to coaching.
  • Craft: Canoe and/or Kayak
  • Prerequisites: Foundation, Safety & Rescue Training, 2 Star (or higher) in Canoe and Kayak or Paddlepower Discover and membership.
  • Training & Assessment: 4 days
  • Examples: Centres running introductory sessions for those who have never tried paddling or clubs running games to progress their paddlers Paddlesport skills.  

Please click here for further details of the Paddlesport Instructor


Note: An Instructor who holds both Paddlesport Leader and Paddlesport Instructor is well placed to fulfil their coaching duties with more autonomy. 

Coach Award

  • Launch: January 2018
  • Aimed at: Paddlers who wish to coach those who want to gain/improve paddlesport skills within a chosen discipline. This will include coaching beginners new to the sport, or paddlers looking to develop their skills in the given discipline/environment so they can paddle safely without the need for a coach. 
  • Craft: 18 options available covering all of our main disciplines and environments
  • Prerequisites: Membership is the only prerequisite of Core Coach Training. 
  • Training: 2 day Core Coach Training, 2 day Discipline Specific Training. 
  • Assessment: 1 day assessment.
  • Examples: A Polo club looking to develop their athlete’s skills or a club coaching sea kayaking sessions in a moderate or advanced water environment. 

Please click here for further details of the Coach Award. 

This gives a quick overview and understanding of the options available to clubs and centres and are able to select a variety of coaches and leaders to suit their needs.