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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.

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Our Principles

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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 and 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

Useful Downloads

Expand WITTP


The WITTP will act as a golden thread running through the core of all activity within the England Talent Sprint Programme

The WITTP will: 
• Identify the key components that underpin the potential to be successful at senior level including - technical, physical, psychological, behavioural 
• Present information about the ranges in each of these areas for all classes and at each age and stage for both genders 
• Be shared widely with coaches in clubs 
• Addresses the issues of specialisation 
• Be continually updated to ensure it reflects emerging trends 
• Be evidence based 
• Be aligned to the coaching award framework and be embedded as part of the learning outcomes of the coaching awards

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As part of developing a national talent system based more strongly in clubs, there is a need to more clearly define and agree the key attributes and behaviours required of talented athletes.

The What It Takes To Win (WITTW) model outlines the critical success factors of a winning performance at senior World level. Through establishing the WITTP model we’re able to provide more clarity about the desirable characteristics and attributes of athletes as they enter and progress through the pathway. The WITTP takes into account the various ages and stages of a developing athlete within a club. The WITTP model provides a development framework for each gender (Male/Female), class (Kayak/Canoe) and age/stage development detailing technical competencies, racing experience, physical measures, psychological characteristics and behaviours.  

The framework will be developmentally appropriate and account for progress that is individually unique and based on a constantly changing base, not just limited solely to the variation of normal physical growth but also considering biological maturation and behavioural development. The framework will be informed by the development trajectory of past and current elite athlete development histories.

The WITTP model will highlight key critical benchmarks and capacities at each of the levels and the acceptable ranges taking into account the varied rate of individuals’ progress depending on the age/stage and variation of the athletes.




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.

The upcoming EDP winter programme dates are as follows:
• 8th and 9th February 2020 club venue to be confirmed.

How to sign up
Sign up for the 8/9th February training weekend is not yet open.

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.

The upcoming WEDP winter programme dates are as follows:
• 15th December 2019, Dorney Lake, off Court Lane, Dorney, Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 6QP. The intended plan for the day can be found HERE

How to sign up
Sign up for the 15th December training day before 9th December HERE

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

England Talent Canoe Sprint Qualification Criteria 2019/20 Key Information

England Talent Canoe Sprint EDP Criteria 2019/20

Expand Canoe Development Programme

Canoe Development Programme

It is recognised that Sprint Canoe classes lack strength and depth and the national teams are currently dependent on intensive externally driven Talent Transfer programmes that mask the talent being developed from within the sport.

The Canoe Development Programme seeks to encourage that a greater emphasis is placed on upskilling coaches and athletes to develop a stronger pool of canoe athletes within the clubs. Strategically the development of both male and female classes is important as both genders suffer from gaps in both breadth and depth across the classes.

The Canoe Development Programme will establish an intensive development programme in Holme Pierrepont (HPP) and coordinate support for those clubs who are investing in Canoe groups and development

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The Canoe Development programme will: 

• Directly identify and develop Canoe athletes local to HPP and supporting their development as Canoe Group. The programme will engage in regular talent searches at local canoe clubs, schools, other sporting clubs (swimming, gymnastic clubs etc.) in order to identify regular athletes with the ability and desire to progress within the Canoe class.

• Help to support the creation of three Canoe club hubs, where they are committed to developing their Canoe specific expertise. This provision will be supplemented or facilitated by the National Talent Squad Coaches where appropriate/possible.

• Work closely with the World Class Programme Canoe coaches in order to facilitate the sharing and flow of expertise and experience through appropriately timed workshops and camps targeted at club coaches.

• Lead and update the Canoe specific elements of the WITTP model