The aim of the Coaching Awards assimilation weekend was to find out what happens when you bring together coaches from flatwater racing, slalom, freestyle, Dragon boating, SUP, kayak surf, canoe polo and ocean racing? A lot of wonderful things.

When launching Coach Connect at the beginning of 2021, Canoeing Ireland lay down a key pillar for the new Coaching Pathway: Coaching Paddlesports Better, Together. The paddles we hold, the boats/boards we get into/onto may be different, and the water we engage with may vary in intensity; however there are many key principles and fundamentals that link all the disciplines and coaches.

The coach assimilation weekend held at Kilcullen Canoe Club on the 27th/28th November was the first real life opportunity to test this belief and the result went beyond any expectation. Coaches in attendance had completed a self-assessment form which enabled them to identify strengths and gaps in their current knowledge/practice. The content of the contact training weekend was then tailored to meet their needs and challenge their beliefs. And their engagement in the workshops did not disappoint… Coaching Process, Physiology, Communication, Active Posture, Psychology and Wellbeing, Safety, Forward Stroke, Rotation; the fundamentals and principles were explored, challenged and discussed in all of these areas. The coaches left with new axis for reflection, extra tools for their “coaching toolbelt”, updated knowledge and a new network of fellow coaches from multiple disciplines and varied levels of experience.

The assimilation process will be continued with a site visit in the coaches environment and an individual development plan depending on the level seeking to be assimilated to.

A special thank you to all who delivered throughout the weekend, David McClure, Jon Mackey, Aidan Doran, Hannah Craig and to the coaches who engaged fully in the challenges. And a thanks to Kilcullen Canoe Club for being excellent hosts for the weekend.