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British Canoeing Updates

By Andrea
February 7, 2018 2:51 pm
A little over a week ago, I got home from a week in South Carolina learning about two new British Canoeing awards.   I was lucky and honored to be present for the North American launch of these two new awards. I’d like to take a minute to give you some information about them – the Paddlesport Leader Award and the Paddlesport Coach Awards – as well as direct you to some new developments, including my favorite, some great elearning materials on the redesigned British Canoeing Awarding Body website.

PaddlesportLeaderPaddlesport Leader Award

This is a robust multicraft leadership award for people leading in sheltered water environments. It can be easy to dismiss a “sheltered water award” as not robust or not requiring significant skill. Neither is true of this award.

Multicraft

This award covers sea kayaks, canoes, recreational kayaks, stand up paddleboards, sit on top kayaks, surf skis… Successful assessment of this award indicates that the leader can competently lead new paddlers on introductory trips in a variety of craft. As such, candidates need to have creative group management strategies that include all the “standard” issues (different goals of group members, different paddling speeds, etc), as well as challenges inherent in a multi craft group (for example – a stand up paddle board usually moves more slowly than a sea kayak…). The successful candidate needs to be able to handle emergencies in a multicraft group also. They need to be able to perform a self rescue in their chosen craft, at a standard that allows them to get back in/on their craft without losing control of the group. They can get some help in their self rescue – the emphasis is not on doing it alone, but on resolving the situation while maintaining the safety and confidence of the group. They also need to be able to rescue a variety of craft from their chosen craft. This doesn’t mean that the assessment invites a bonanza of rescues from every craft to every craft. Rather, the successful candidate will understand several core principles of rescues that will allow them to problem solve a rescue of any craft they may find themselves leading. They also need to show an understanding of towing techniques for a variety of craft – again, most importantly, showing an understanding of some core principles that will allow them to problem-solve a tow for whatever craft they may need to.

Sheltered Water

There’s a specific definition of “sheltered water” for this award.

Sheltered Inland Water:

  • Canals
  • Ungraded sections of slow moving rivers where the group could paddle upstream against the flow (not involving the shooting of, or playing on, weirs or running rapids)
  • Areas of open water (e.g. lakes and lochs) not more than 200m offshore and in wind strengths that do not exceed Beaufort force 3 (Beaufort force 2 if wind direction is offshore)

Sheltered Tidal Water:

  • Small enclosed bays or enclosed harbours
  • Defined beaches where the group could easily and quickly land at all times
  • Slow moving estuaries (less than 0.5 Knots)
  • Winds not above Beaufort force 3 (Beaufort force 2 if wind direction is offshore)

You’ll note this is really two venues, whether Inland or Tidal – moving water and open water. Successful candidates need to show leadership, personal skills and rescue skills in both venues. These two venues taken together make this sheltered water award a broad, robust award.

Prerequisites

There are no prerequisites for this award. The candidate must show at assessment that they are at standard. There are several official British Canoeing courses that may prove helpful for some candidates in their preparation for this course. The most helpful are likely the 3 Star Award in the candidate’s chosen craft, and the Foundation Safety and Rescue Training (FSRT) for safety protocols and a variety of rescues and rescue principles. Some candidates will find that the Paddlesport Leader Award, coupled with a Padlesport Instructor Award (this is the new name for the Coach 1 Award – more on this below), provides a solid base for introducing new paddlers to the sport, with the ability to teach them basic skills and take them on a led trip in sheltered water. This trust in the candidate to create their own learning process to get to standard and successful assessment reflects a new orientation to learning and development on the part of British Canoeing. More on this below.

CoachAward Coach Award

All of the coaching awards have been re-named.
Coach 1 Award –> Paddlesport Instructor
Coach 2 Award –> Coach Award
Coach 3 Award –> Performance Coach Award
The Coach Award is now sort of a “suite” of awards, from which the candidate chooses the most appropriate for them. Whereas the UKCC Level 2 Award was multi craft, the Coach Award is discipline specific. The disciplines are broken out both by craft and by venue. Training includes two types – a core training that everyone takes together, and a discipline specific that is unique for the award a candidate wants to earn.
This award allows candidates to enter the coaching system and proceed directly to any Coach Award. Candidates do not need to start with the Paddlesport Instructor Award (UKCC Level 1), and do not need to start with a sheltered water coaching award before progressing to a moderate or advanced water coaching award. Personal skills and leadership awards are only required as prerequisites for moderate and advanced water awards. A candidate’s personal skills should be at a 3 star standard for a sheltered water award, but the 3 star award itself is not a prerequisite.
Let’s break it down a little more.
The Coach Award looks at several aspects of coaching:
Who – Who are your students? What are their skills? How do they take in information? What are their motivations? What do they want to learn? What’s holding them back?
How – What are the strategies available to coach a student? The training looks at ways of session planning and options for structuring a session or structuring practice – with the pros and cons of various types of structure. The course looks at ways of learning, types of sensory input, and stages and pathways of knowledge acquisition
What – What does a coach teach their students? Skills? Strokes? Core concepts? Specific moves in a given environment? The ability to choose an appropriate move in a given environment?

Where — How does a coach make deliberate use of the environment for effective learning? How do they take opportunities the environment offers, and work around limits placed by the environment?

Training

The Coach Award training is in two parts – the Core Training and the Discipline Specific Training.
Core Training – The Core Training covers basically the Who and the How of coaching. Candidates in all disciplines take this training together – these two areas are basically the same regardless of the discipline or the venue.

Discipline Specific Training — The Discipline Specific Training covers basically the What and the Where – these two areas change by venue and discipline. There are a lot of categories in the Discipline Specific. The categories that will be offered North America are:

  • Canoe and Kayak Coach (sheltered water, equivalent to UKCC Level 2 Award)
  • Canoe Coach (sheltered water)
  • Kayak Coach (sheltered water)
  • Sea Kayak Coach (moderate water; equivalent to UKCC Level 2 with Moderate Water Endorsement)
    • Prerequisite – Sea Leader Award (“old 4 Star”)
  • Sea Kayak Coach, Advanced Water (advanced water; equivalent to UKCC Level 2 with Advanced Water Endorsement)
    • Prerequisite – Advanced Sea Leader Award (“old 5 Star”)

Assessment

There is no longer a workbook or portfolio requirement for assessment. While British Canoeing continues to value the necessity for consolidation of learning, an attempt has been made to allow the candidate to determine how best to do that for themselves. There are multiple options available, from formal to informal. The philosophy behind this is that learners should be involved in their own learning, and allowed to learn in the ways best suited to them. A coaching candidate is a learner when they are learning to coach – and the requirements of the journey to coach have been changed to allow for individualization and ownership of the process. This place a much greater responsibility on the coach candidate – they cannot simply “tick the boxes” and go for assessment. The candidate will have to be pro-active about choosing the learning options best suited for them and actively pursue those options. They will also need to consider carefully for themselves whether they believe themselves to be at standard before presenting themselves for assessment.

CPD

The new Coach Award is considered an appropriate way to pursue continued personal development (CPD). British Canoeing assumes current coaches may well take either training specifically to stay up to date in their coaching knowledge and practice. The trainings are not considered to be only for the purposes of moving towards assessment, or only for candidates who are not already coaches. They are squarely placed as a means of continued learning for anyone who chooses to take them.
There is also an assumption that some coach candidates may choose to take one or both of the trainings more than once before choosing to assess.

NewDevelopmentsNew Developments

Elearning

The British Canoeing Awarding Body’s new website offers a broad range of free educational materials. All of the elearning is presented in short interactive sessions, with a “quiz” at the end, that identifies your areas of strength and the areas to improve, links to information about each of those areas. It’s really a pretty impressive and exciting development!

Here’s a set of elearning for general coaching knowledge.

Here’s the Elearning for the Paddlesport Leader Award.

Changes in Coaching AwardsBritish Canoeing will be reviewing the other coaching awards in the next several years. The Paddlesport Instructor Award (the “old UKCC Level 1”) will be reviewed next; the re-worked award will be launched in January 2019. The Performance Coach Award (UKCC Level 3), will be reviewed and re-worked after that.

Star Awards

The Star Awards have not been changed. The names of the 4 Star and 5 Star awards, however, have been changed.
4 Star Award –> Sea Leader (or Open Canoe Leader)
5 Star Award –> Advanced Sea Leader (or Advanced Open Canoe Leader)

As of now, the 1 Star, 2 Star and 3 Star Awards have not been changed.

British Canoeing International

British Canoeing is launching British Canoeing International this spring. This will allow for international memberships, with options that include insurance and other benefits tailored for an international audience. Watch the British Canoeing website for the launch.

My Pathway

British Canoeing has added a section to the website to help paddlers understand the requirements and steps to achieve a variety of awards, whether they are personal skills awards, safety awards, general knowledge awards, or coaching awards. Take a minute to check out My Pathway.

 

* all photos courtesy of Ginni Callahan, owner of Sea Kayak Baja Mexico

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