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Coaching through Covid in Norway

Hear from Ronny, who has been delivering courses in Norway, following the relaxation of Covid restrictions from the Norwegian Government. 

During the first month of the pandemic, I thought about the strategies to coach within the Norwegian Government guidelines. I read all the guidelines I could find and was confident it would be possible.

At the time there was a 2 metre social distancing in place, which was reduced to 1 metre on the 30th April. Following government guidelines and speaking to British Canoeing, I adjusted my courses to have a maximum of 5 people.

There are plenty of ways to do things and a lot of clever people around! Here are some of the things we discovered through a number of courses I ran in May and June.

Firstly, I decided to invite the candidates to web meetings a few weeks before the course. The purpose was to include the participants in all the considerations and decisions that needed to be made on the course, encourage everyone to ask questions and to inform about GDPR and general information.

I also wanted to wanted to establish a positive relationship from the start and to bring clarity and transparency about the course.

Despite web meetings being quite new to me and somewhat scary, they were very successful. The participants felt they had ownership over the course, by taking part in the decision making process. They  could ask any kind of questions they might have had, and I believe the web meetings reduced some of the anxiety many people have before attending a course. And I learnt something new!

I had a list of things I believed we had to look at, for example, helping each other back into the boat with a 1 metre distance. All the participants had already solutions to this, like holding the front of the kayak when people climb in. We had productive discussions about Covid-19, as well as what each participant wanted and needed from the course.

One interesting conversation we had was about what safety kit to bring. The group concluded that they should look at the situations they might encounter in the environment they will paddle in, and then make their own decisions about what to bring. I think it was good to have this discussion before the first day on the course.

I sent the British Canoeing guidance to the candidates, as well as my Covid-19 information with the pre-course information. It stated that everyone had their own kit, driving their own car, and bringing their own disinfectant. On some of the courses I asked if the participants would make their own Covid guidelines, and I could probably have done that from the start.

I also found that I used pictures and video more often, this gave me accuracy in my interpretations, as well as feedback to the participants.

Here are some pictures with short descriptions.

Scoop Rescue

Scoop rescue. A little hard, but with the help from the person being rescued, it did work. 


I disinfected the navigation kit before handing it out and the participants cleaned the kit after use. I have 4 kits of charts and maps, so they had one each.

Rescue In Small Space

Rescue in a confined space. The rescued held on to the rescuers kayak and was pulled out.


When practising rescue with a conscious person not wanting to exit the kayak, he could use his own paddle rather than the rescuer grabbing the hand and directing it to her paddle. This gave a reasonable understanding of how it can be done.

Buddy Rescue

Buddy rescue.

Not surprisingly, there has been some challenges too. For example, when dealing with the incident scenarios, we experienced the automatic responses to help, which takes the focus away from social distancing. I will have to learn more about that and find better ways to set up incidents. I look forward to see all the new ideas from paddlers around.

The Covid situation has been authentic and the future is uncertain. But by being adaptive, curious and creative, as well as including our combined competence and making decisions together, we can prepare for changes. It has been a great learning experience reinforcing the participants decision making skills, as well as my development as a coach.