Coaching is an exciting career pathway. Whether you enjoy working from an on-water office, teaching kids new skills or leading in a highly motivated environment, there are a wide array of opportunities in coaching. It can be a great way earn a regular pay cheque while having some fun doing it. With mentorship, experience and formal coach training you can work your way up to coaching year-round programs and even at the highest levels of competition.

National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP)

The Coaching Association of Canada is an important partner of Canoe Kayak Canada in developing excellence through coaching. By delivering National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) approved courses, Canoe Kayak Canada ensures coaches have the necessary skills and training to progress with confidence to the highest levels and deliver the best quality coaching to athletes throughout the entire pathway. Coaching Certifications are divided into several streams to align with the type of athletes a coach desires to work with.


Coaching in the community stream is focused on grassroots participation and enabling others to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. Teaching enthusiastic newcomers can be a rewarding way to help others experience the joys of paddling by delivering an introductory program like CanoeKids or Pools in Schools. Sink your heart into managing a specific program like PaddleALL, Dragon Boat or Masters. This stream is an ideal starting point for new coaches to gain experience and they can easily transition into the competition stream if they so desire.  

Community Initiation

Sprint Courses:

  • Canoe Kids (can progress to competition stream if desired)
  • Dragon Boat

Whitewater Courses:

  • Pool Kayak Instructor (can progress to instructor stream if desired)




This stream is for coaches interested in working with athletes to help them reach their competitive goals. Coaches entering this stream typically have previous coaching experience or have been an athlete in the sport. Starting at the regional or provincial level, coaches tend to work with athletes over the long-term to improve performance. A coach in this stream could eventually become a National Team Coach working with world-class athletes who travel the globe representing Canada.

Competition Introduction (Entry-Level Competition Coach)

Sprint Courses:

  • Sprint small boats
  • War Canoe
  • Dragon Boat


  • Canoe Slalom
  • Freestyle
  • Wildwater
  • Canoe Polo


  • Marathon




This stream is for delivering sport-specific skills and training, whether at the beginner or advanced skill level. Many in this stream are former participants in the sport.

Instruction Beginner


  • Lake Kayak Instructor

Instruction Intermediate


  • River Leader 2 / Instructor 2

Instruction Advanced


  • Whitewater Leader 3 / Instructor 3
Professional Development

Just like in competition, staying at the head of the pack means continually advancing your coaching skills through professional development and learning from experts. Through hard work and experience you can progress to higher levels. Some of the top high performance coaches become leading experts in particular areas and do consulting, give presentations or further academic research.


Pursuing your coaching goals

Once you’ve decided what type of coaching interests you, use the Course Finder tool to look up the recommended training. Information on each specific course can be found under the  Sprint, Whitewater and Marathon tabs. Find courses offered in your community by viewing the Calendar or contacting your Provincial or Territorial Paddling Association.