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The British Canoeing Sprint Athlete Pathway aims to provide a seamless transitional pathway for talented athletes from Junior and Talent Programmes, into the Senior Sprint Podium Programme.

Expand Overview

Our Principles

Principle Visuals V6 2

Many factors can influence the development of talent in (young) athletes. Our principle approach will be to focus investment, resource and work programmes in 3 key areas, Athlete development, Coach development and Club development.

Our athlete development framework, our What It Takes To Progress model, underpins and drives our Athlete, Coach and Club development and drives the outcomes required not only for successful development within the sport but also for successful development of the young person behind the performance.

These principles and development models are delivered in line with the Values of British Canoeing.

Key Resources

England Talent Canoe Sprint Plan 2019-2025

Expand ​What It Takes To Progress (WITTP)​

​What It Takes To Progress (WITTP)​

WITTP is a fundamental part of the England Talent Canoe Sprint Talent Plan (HERE) and will support the development of a national talent system based more strongly in clubs, underpinning and driving our Athlete, Coach and Club development programmes.

The framework outlines the key principles and foundations of Canoe Sprint development including - technical, physical, psychological, behavioural elements and aligns to the athlete development framework used within the British Canoeing World Class Programmes.

The WITTP framework has been developed in conjunction with a Club advisory group to help ensure it is applicable and relevant to clubs, coaches and developing athletes. 

The WITTP will be supported with the release of additional e-learning, resource booklets, videos, session templates, benchmarks, testing protocols and coach learning groups.

Key Resources

Canoe Sprint What It Takes To Progress

Canoe Technical Model Videos

James Train, Senior Women’s Canoe Technical Coach, takes us through the Canoe Technical model and looks at the 3 B’s in Canoe (Boat, Body and Blade).  

The videos provide clear principles and highlight some of the key areas that should be looked at when developing Canoe technique.

Strength and Conditioning Videos

Supporting the athlete development framework, our What It Takes To Progress (WITTP) model, English Institute of Sport Strength and Conditioning Coach , Helen Shipman, takes us through some of the key lifts and exercises of a youth strength and conditioning programme. The exercises are designed to build the foundations of athleticism (motor control, mobility, strength, coordination) for both healthy development and long term sporting performance.

Expand Qualification Criteria

Qualification Criteria

The support that we can provide is finite and we are selective to ensure we offer appropriate programme places and development opportunities. Our philosophy is that by publishing and explaining our pathway, its aims, standards, expectations and associated development, we make it as easy as possible for everyone to understand why and how we make these hard decisions.

In this unprecedented season, clearly there has already been a significant impact on the international and domestic season. In addition, and despite restrictions to water access having been lifted, it is clear there are still substantial restrictions to an athlete’s ability to train and benefit from programme and club coaching to the level available to them prior to lockdown.

In lieu of qualification opportunities that are robust and representative, and in light of what is fair, safe and in the best interest of athletes’ health and welfare, we have taken the decision to freeze our current 2019/20 England Talent programme places until at least March 31st 2021. This extends programme places beyond the current end date of the 2020 season and it is our intention to extend this further to June 13th 2021 dependant on the outcome and subsequent impact of our funding submission from Sport England for the next Olympic cycle.

Where capacity allows and where beneficial, we intend to allow those athletes not currently on programme the opportunity to join specific camps and/or sessions on an informal basis.

A new 2021 Qualification Criteria will be published before the end of the year which will be based on early 2021 season performances and will include details of opportunities to join specific camps and/sessions.

Eligibility Criteria and intended EDP camp dates will be published for 2020/21 shortly.

Expand Squad Structures

Squad Structures


The purpose of the National Squad structure is to support the development of those athletes that are the best in their age group, by bringing them all together on occasions with their club coaches.

The National Teams which compete at Junior and U23 level are likely to be drawn from the National Squads. These international competition opportunities are of course a further component to athlete development. The National Squad will be split into 3 tiers to provide additional support and opportunities to athletes each level within the pathway.

Tier 1 - England Development Programme (EDP)

Focused on supporting athletes and their coaches who are progressing towards the top of the national racing structure and who may be challenging for the GB Junior team in the next 2-3 years. The Squad structure will help to identify and support emerging club based athletes who are probably the best in their club group and who will benefit from training with other talented athletes.

The Development programme will come together for circa 4 camps a years at regional locations (Dates and themes for these camps are listed below). Athletes will be able to apply to attend these events and the attendance with their club coach will be strongly encouraged. These opportunities will be taken to further support the development of the coaches and provide coach development opportunities. Camps will be themed (E.G K4/K2 camps), planned in order to support the WITTP in practice and will be supported by periodic attendance from WCP discipline coaches.

Athlete and coach inclusion will be rolling, allowing for a flexibility to bring athletes into the squads sessions as they develop.

The camps will be coordinated by the England National Talent Squad (ENTS) coaches and Talent Coach Developer. There will be additional support and provision at this tier (around an extra 4 camps) to help address the current gap in the female classes.

To be added to the EDP camp mailing list in order to receive information when these training events are open to register please complete the form HERE.

Womens England Development Programme

The purpose of the Womens’ England Development Programme (WEDP) is to help female athletes learn what it takes to be an elite female in sport, build a community of like minded people and increase in female specific knowledge of what they need to thrive and excel in our sport. It is the hope of the talent pathway that this can be used as an educational starting block within a young females’ journey in sport. 

A key component of this programme is around learning and equipping athletes with a tool box of thoughts, capacities and expectations to allow them to continue their hard work at their club with specific focus for them as individuals.

Tier 2 - England National Talent Squad (ENTS)

This squad will be focused on supporting those athletes and their coaches who are currently challenging for GB Junior team inclusion. Athletes will be named onto this programme for a year. Selection will be based on performance results, rate of progression and performance behaviours. Spaces will be limited up to 20 athletes. It is a stated ambition to have a gender and class balance within ENTS as performance levels rise in the weaker classes.

The England National Talent Squad (ENTS) programme will facilitate the tailoring of individual athlete development plans and provide appropriate Sport Science interventions (Strength and Conditioning, Physio, Psychology etc.) for athletes. Opportunities will also be created to support the development of the athlete’s club coach.

Tier 3 - England Performance Squad (EPS)

This squad will provide support to those athletes who have been selected for, or have a realistic chance of selection to the GB U23 Team and subsequent progression to the World Class Programme (WCP) within two years. Spaces are limited up to 8 athletes and qualification is dependent on a performance outcome measure. Again, it is the long term ambition to have a gender and class balance within EPS.

Key Resources

England Talent Canoe Sprint Programme Handbook