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Talent Identification Programmes

British Canoeing has a great track record of developing athletes though Talent Identification (TID) Programmes. Recent successes from athletes that have come through our talent programmes include participating at the London 2012 Olympic Games and representing Great Britain at the World Championships.

British Canoeing has two Talent Identification Programmes running in Canoe Slalom:

  • The TID Academy based at the National White Water Centre in Nottingham
  • The TID Academy based at Lee Valley White Water Centre in Hertfordshire.

These programmes aim to strengthen the pool of talented athletes with the potential to achieve future international success in Canoe Slalom.



In October 2013 the UK’s first Talent ID programme for Canoe Slalom assessed its third group of children for their potential to become medal winning athletes.

Three years ago Rushcliffe School in the Nottingham suburb of West Bridgford was chosen as the ideal base from which to select a new generation of top paddlers. It has its own on-site leisure centre and is a short bike ride from the National Watersports Centre, Holme Pierrepont. The school was keen to form a partnership when approached in 2011 and British Canoeing has been working with the staff and pupils from the school since to identify those with the skills and desire to compete and excel in the sport of Canoe Slalom.

The school’s 11 to 12-year-olds are screened for their abilities and take part in testing involving gym and boat based tests and an assault course. At this age the children are able to complete the training required to become an elite athlete and are still young enough to progress to the national junior team.

We are looking for those that have the potential to produce the best test values in the future. This environment provides the opportunity for them to reveal their attitude and innate gritiness. We are looking for those that push themselves hard and can go away and work on their own to a programme we have set.

– British Canoeing’s Lead TID Coach, Richard Ramsdale,

Those that make the grade join the fast track ‘Academy’ programme where coaches see them twice a day up to five days a week for lunchtime gym sessions, after school pool training and coaching on the slalom course. As an important part of the process they take out membership with Holme Pierrepont Canoe Club becoming an integral part of their coaching and racing set up.

Children from three different year groups are now part of the Academy and many are nearing the stage where they move in to the British Canoeing pathway, aiming to be selected for the Super Regional squad or higher.

Lee Valley


Looking to capitalise on the success of the London 2012 Olympic Games and create a long lasting legacy for Canoeing at Lee Valley, in 2013 a Talent Identification Programme, ‘Rapid Talent’, was set up in Lee Valley.

With London 2012 fresh in the mind there has never been a better time to encourage young people to be involved in elite sport. The British Canoeing Coaches went out to schools in the surrounding area to encourage them to take up competitive canoeing.

They also conducted screening of 1,400 11 and 12 year olds to identify potential champions from the non-paddling children of Lee Valley's secondary schools. 20 of these were selected to be part of the initial programme in Lee Valley and they are now following a one year development programme of regular training and competing in the sport, aiming to reach Regional Academy level by October 2014.