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Sprint Performance Strategy

British Canoeing, in conjunction with the sprint racing community, has developed a long-term Sprint Performance Strategy that is owned and shared by the whole sport and which leads to greater success on the water for athletes. 

Expand Introduction


Canoe Sprint Performance Strategy

British Canoeing has published the new Canoe Sprint Performance Strategy, which sets out the vision and ambitions for the sport over the next six years.

British Canoeing and the sprint racing community have come together to identify the changes needed, in order to build a system which will deliver greater and more consistent success.

The publication of the new strategy is the culmination of this work delivered, through the formation of the Sprint Performance Strategy Group, the creation of task & finish and focus groups involving a range of stakeholders and two consultations with the racing community.

The long-term strategy sets out the vision and ambitions for canoe sprint for the next six years to 2028, through 10 key performance indicators, the philosophies and values that will underpin the strategy and the coordination that will be required for delivery across the UK.

Background to the Sprint Performance Strategy

Whilst British Canoeing has had some outstanding individual successes in sprint racing in each Olympic cycle since 2000, we have not yet been able to deliver the consistent success that would establish Great Britain as a leading Sprint Canoe nation and that would indicate that we have a system which maximises the passion and talents of our athletes and our community.

The Sprint Situational Analysis Report explored why this is the case and challenged us on a number of fronts; to better understand how athletes develop and how we can measure and assess their development, to ensure that we develop and deploy outstanding coaches alongside our best athletes, to ensure that our national programmes deliver outstanding experiences that meet the needs of our highest potential paddlers, and to ensure that our community of clubs have a clear role to play in the development of our elite paddlers. 

Furthermore, it challenged us to ensure that we have a clear vision and long-term performance strategy for the sport and that the whole programme should be well coordinated and led.

Expand Creating the Strategy

Creating the Strategy

We recognise the importance of providing clarity for all around the process and timelines for the production of this Strategy. In creating a strategy that is owned by the whole sport, it will be important not only to ensure that it has the right content, but that there is a thorough engagement with the paddling community in its creation.

We are aiming to create a performance strategy for sprint racing from club to podium. Whilst the Strategy is going to be wider and more inclusive than ever before, there remains a need to align this process with the Paris cycle UK Sport funding submission as this funding will be crucial to the successful delivery of the Strategy. 

Certain elements of the Strategy have to be well developed by then, in order to inform this submission and to secure the maximum funding available. The Strategy will also inform the funding submissions for the Talent programmes made to the Home Country Sports Councils.  

Date Action
May/June Strategy Group and Task and Finish Groups established
June/July Vision, Mission, Goals created to form the Strategic Framework
End July Consultation of Strategic Framework
Aug/Early September Draft Strategy and UK Sport submission developed
Late Aug/September Focus Group consultation of emerging strategy
September/ October Board approval Draft Strategy and UK Sport submission
October Focus Group consultation of emerging strategy
Oct/Nov/Dec Work to complete Strategy
Dec/Jan Consultation on Final Strategy
Feb Strategy published
Expand Strategy Groups and Consultation

Strategy Groups and Consultation

The Sprint Performance Strategy Group

This Strategy Group was responsible for drawing together the work of the Task and Finish Groups, to draft the new strategy and to recommend it to the Board of British Canoeing for approval.

 Canoe Sprint Performance Strategy Group terms of reference

Task and Finish Groups

Six Task and Finish Groups were established in the following areas;

  • World Class Programme and performance athlete development
  • What it takes to win and progress
  • Coach development
  • Competitions
  • Clubs and talented athlete development
  • Facilities

A range of stakeholders were involved in each group and each group member had the potential not only to share their own thoughts, but also to gather and reflect the views of others within their respective community and to ensure consideration within the group.

Ensuring external input and check and challenge

The process ensured that we looked outwards to learn from others who have best practice established. Task and Finish Groups were encouraged to consider this aspect very seriously from the outset and ensured they engaged external experts in discussions and explored best practice in others sports or situations.


Focus Groups

In addition to the Task and Finish Groups, Focus Groups listed below were set up. They were invited to consider and comment on the proposals emerging from the Task and Finish Groups at two key stages;

  • Community coaches
  • Athletes
  • World Class Programme and Talent Programme staff from across the UK
  • Women’s Focus Group
  • Sprint Racing Committee, Regatta Committee, Marathon Racing Committee
  • Independent Group of leaders from other sports
  • Chair, President, CEO, PD of British Canoeing

Community Consultation

The Strategy development actively sought the views of many, and regularly updated key stakeholders on progress

  • The notes from each meeting of the Strategy Group were published, together with a Progress Report on the project
  • Two community wide consultations were held on the Framework and Emerging Strategy in July and the Final Draft Strategy in December 2020/January 2021

Timelines And Consultation Process For The Sprint Performance Strategy

Group composition

Expand Strategy Reports and Updates